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WLW Day 1: A pathway to healthy rivers by Robert Speed

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    A pathway to healthy rivers

    Robert Speed

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    Context

    Rapid economic development

    Unprecedented pressures on river systems

    Declining river health

    Emerging policies and plans to improve river

    health

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    So, what have we learnt about improving riverhealth through better river basin

    management?

    And how can we apply this knowledge in

    different rivers and different countries?

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    Foundation principles

    To maintain and improve river health weneed to:

    Recognise the value of healthy rivers and

    be clear what we want from our rivers

    Understand how our rivers function

    Put in place systems and institutions to

    protect and restore

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    Strategic planningIdentify assets and values;goals and objectives

    Policy measures Water allocation/e-

    flows Pollution control

    Catchmentmanagement

    River scienceUnderstand rivercondition andprocesses

    Institutions

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    Strategic planningIdentify assets and values;goals and objectives

    Policy measures Water allocation/e-

    flows Pollution control

    Catchmentmanagement

    River scienceUnderstand rivercondition andprocesses

    Institutions

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    Strategic

    basinplanning

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    Waterallocation

    plans

    Water resourcesdevelopment andoperations plans

    Conservation& restoration

    plans

    Water qualityprotection

    plans

    Waterdemand andsupply plans

    Flood riskmanagement

    plans

    Masterbasin plan

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    Strategicenvironmental planning

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    Golden rules: strategic (basin) planning

    1. Understand how the system operates: hydrological,

    physical, ecological, social, economic andinstitutional

    2. Plan and act, even without full knowledge

    3. Establish vision, priorities, objectives

    4. Focus on implementation throughout

    5. Enable adaption to changing circumstances

    6. Address issues at the appropriate scale

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    At the project level:

    Avoid incremental impacts Recognise/identify strategic objectives

    Social

    Ecological

    Economic

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    Strategic planningIdentify assets and values;goals and objectives

    Policy measures Water allocation/e-

    flows Pollution control

    Catchmentmanagement

    River scienceUnderstand rivercondition andprocesses

    Institutions

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    E i l fl d ll i

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    Environmental flows and water allocation

    ld l ll d

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    Golden rules: water allocation andenvironmental flows

    1. Environmental water needs should provide the

    foundation for water allocation decisions

    2. Level of complexity of the plan/approach should reflect

    the complexity in the basin

    3. Allow flexibility to deal with changing circumstances4. Exercise caution in granting water entitlements

    5. Establish robust mechanisms for implementing e-flows

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    At the project level:

    Consideration in determining project viability:system yield, environmental (flow) impact

    Infrastructure design to support:

    E-flow implementation (releases) Connectivity

    Identify links between water quality and flow

    regime

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    Strategic planningIdentify assets and values;goals and objectives

    Policy measures Water allocation/e-

    flows Pollution control

    Catchmentmanagement

    River scienceUnderstand rivercondition andprocesses

    Institutions

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    River science

    River health assessment Understand condition, threats

    Guide management response

    Track effectiveness Environmental flow assessment

    Maximise effectiveness of water forenvironment

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    Golden rules: river science andassessing river health

    1. Set clear goals and objectives

    2. Select appropriate indicators: linked to assets,

    responsive

    3. Classify rivers

    4. Set appropriate reference values

    5. Report results

    6. Implement the monitoring program to informmanagement

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    At the project level:

    Equally relevant at: Planning stage/environmental impact

    assessment

    Ongoing monitoring

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    Strategic planningIdentify assets and values;goals and objectives

    Policy measures Water allocation/e-

    flows Pollution control

    Catchmentmanagement

    River scienceUnderstand rivercondition andprocesses

    Institutions

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    Golden rules: institutions

    1. Clear mandates, powers andresponsibilities

    2. Recognise capacity constraints

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    Thank-you

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