Environmental Flow Assessment – An Analysis

  • Halwatura D
  • Najim M
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Abstract

Natural flow of a river is recognized as vital to sustaining riverine ecosystems. The biotic composition, structure and function of aquatic ecosystems depend largely on the hydrologic regimes; however flows of the world’s rivers are increasingly being modified through impoundments. Therefore calculation of the optimum flows for a healthier river is essential but there is no simple figure that can be given for the environmental flow requirements of rivers. Environmental flows refer to water for ecosystems. Ecosystems, however, provide a wide range of valuable services to people. Concept of the environmental flow was initiated not only to discover the river health and to manipulate river flow regimes, but also to get the maximum harvest from free flowing waters. Hence, providing for environmental flows is not exclusively a matter of sustaining ecosystems but also a matter of supporting human well being. As demand for freshwater continues to rise and ways are sought to improve water productivity, decision-making bodies at local, basin and national levels require accurate information on the role of river flows in sustaining a wide range of environmental benefits. For that reason assessment of environmental flows may contribute to setting management rules and monitoring their impact on river health.

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Halwatura, D., & Najim, M. (2014). Environmental Flow Assessment – An Analysis. Journal of Environmental Professionals Sri Lanka, 3(2), 1. https://doi.org/10.4038/jepsl.v3i2.7842

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