GWSP Archive: Workshop of the Global Water Needs Initiative (GWNI) 14-16 November 2011

Workshop on Environmental Flow Requirements

This workshop was held by the GWSP Global Water Needs Initiative (GWNI) on 14-16 November 2011 in Bonn, Germany.

A synthesis of the GWNI plan (PDF, 1 MB) was presented to the Bonn 2011 Conference: The Water Energy and Food Security Nexus. Solutions for the Green Economy.

One missing component in global water assessments, in the identification of critical hot spots of water scarcity, and for adaptive and integrated water management strategies is the environmental flow requirements (EFR) which safeguard aquatic ecosystem functions and services.

The scientific challenge addressed in this GWNI activity is to advance a globally applicable methodology that enables assessments of sustainable environmental flow requirements while representing the eco-hydrological and socio-economic dynamics and complexity. It thus should work across all climates and aquatic ecosystems, levels of anthropogenic modification and water use, and management goals, implying the identification of governance challenges at local, national, basin and global levels associated with these conditions.

This GWNI activity started with a review report of the current status on EFR methodologies, identifying:

  1. the eco-hydrological and socio-economic characteristics – the key “water indicators” – under which each method is best suited,
  2. identifying the minimum data requirements at river basin scale for applying the various methods, and
  3. identifying particular governance challenges linked to the different eco-hydrological characteristics.

Based on this review report, an association matrix methodology was advanced, linking basins with EFR methods and specific governance needs.