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Integrating Freshwater Ecosystem Function and Services with Water Development Projects

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dc.contributor.author Braga, María Isabel J. en
dc.description.abstract This paper describes the conditions necessary to harmonize project objectives with the conservation of freshwater ecosystems. It also provides information on how to incorporate freshwater ecosystem biodiversity, function, and services with water development projects. One sections of the papers presents a description of biodiversity in the context of freshwater ecosystems, including a short description of those ecosystems. Subsequent parts of the paper describe the recommended approach to harmonize water development projects and the freshwater ecosystem function, as well as the role of the Environmental Impact Assessments in this process, and potential impacts of different categories of water related projects. en
dc.subject Water management en
dc.subject Water Supply and Sanitation en
dc.title Integrating Freshwater Ecosystem Function and Services with Water Development Projects en
dc.contributor.other LUCIANOO
dc.date.accessioned 2011-08-01T14:37:59Z
dc.date.available 2011-08-01T14:37:59Z
dc.date.issued 1999-06
dc.identifier.uri http://www.iadb.org/en/publications/publication-detail,7101.html?id=18812
dc.format.extent 44
dc.format.medium ACROBAT
dc.language.iso en
dc.subject freshwater ecosystems
dc.subject Water Resources
dc.subject Environment
dc.type Technical Notes
lacea.language.supported en
dc.date.modified 2013-11-28T08:45:15Z
dc.description.abstract2 For most water development projects it is possible to harmonize project objectives with the conservation of freshwater ecosystem function and services. Negative environmental impacts can be minimized and projects can foster the conservation or restoration of freshwater ecosystems and their biodiversity if: there is a commitment to this objective from the early planning stages; the fundamental characteristics and requirements of such ecosystems are understood; the various design and management options that have already been tried, e.g. fishpasses, artificial floods, etc., are adopted in their original form or adapted to the specific project conditions; existing knowledge, experience, and creativity are used to devise novel solutions. But why should our time and money be invested in efforts to protect and restore freshwater ecosystems? Our planet's supply of fresh water is finite while demand for fresh water and aquatic ecological goods and services continues to increase as the world's population increases. The sustainable development of Earth's freshwater ecosystems is our only hope to ensure the long-term existence of the fundamentally important benefits that humans derive from freshwater ecosystems, such as (Naiman et al., 1995): Direct use of surface waters and groundwater Household and commercial uses. Agricultural irrigation. Water for livestock and aquaculture. Hydropower. Energy transfer (heating and cooling). Manufacturing and industrial uses. Fire fighting. Products harvested from healthy freshwater ecosystems Fish and wildlife (commercial and subsistence harvest). Riparian forest products (e.g. timber, fruits). Vegetable products from floodplains, wetlands, and lakes (e.g. rice, reeds). Services provided by healthy freshwater ecosystems Transportation (can also be provided by degraded systems). Freshwater storage (in glaciers, watersheds). Flood control (can also be provided by degraded systems). Nutrient deposition in floodplain agricultural areas. Natural purification of wastes. Habitat supporting biological diversity. Moderation and stabilization of urban and natural microclimates. Nutrient retention. Aesthetics and mental health. Recreation (sportfishing, hunting, boating, swimming). However, water resource development and operational practices are aimed primarily at controlling water quantity, storing water through drought periods, preventing floods, transferring water to cities or irrigable cropland, providing commercial navigation, and generating hydropower. These engineered systems are generally optimized solely for the purposes for which they were created, but it is now necessary to optimize them with respect to conservation and enhancement of freshwater ecosystems in addition to their historical goals. The challenge for the future will be to design, construct, and operate civil works in ways that also sustain the long-term ecological integrity of freshwater ecosystems. Of particular importance are long-term effects of water projects on the amount and routing of water and waterborne materials along the flow path to the ocean as well as maintenance of sufficient habitat for the persistence of species with their natural genetic variability (Naiman et al., 1995). The key to sustainable development is the inclusion of biodiversity and ecosystem function along with more traditional development objectives. Human communities have already shown their ability to anticipate and avoid environmental problems, once they understand the connection between ecosystem health and integrity and themselves, their children, and grandchildren. This paper provides some information on how to incorporate freshwater ecosystem biodiversity, function, and services with water development projects. It is hard to protect what we don't understand, and for this reason Section II presents a brief discussion of biodiversity in the context of freshwater ecosystems, including a short description of those ecosystems. Section III presents the recommended approach to harmonizing water development projects and freshwater ecosystem function, and discusses the role of Environmental Assessments (EAs) in this process. Section IV presents some issues and design options regarding different categories of water development projects and their potential impacts on four basic characteristics of freshwater ecosystems: natural flow regimes, connectivity, water quality, and natural aquatic habitats. This working paper is being published with the sole objective of contributing to the debate on a topic of importance to the region, and to elicit comments and suggestions from interested parties. This paper has not gone through the Department's peer review process or undergone consideration by the SDS Management Team. As such, it does not reflect the official position of the Inter-American Development Bank.


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