A Water Budget for the Environment

Nov 7, 2018 at 5:00pm

PPIC: Jefferey Mount

Allocating water to freshwater ecosystems is contentious because it often conflicts with urban and agricultural uses. There may be a way to meet environmental needs that reduces conflict. Reports recommend establishing ecosystem water budgets. These budgets would specify a volume of water to be made available to support a range of ecosystem functions to which native species are adapted. The amounts would vary in accordance with the type of water year (e.g., wet, average, dry) but each amount would be fixed for a number of years.

Ecosystem water budgets would be an advance over traditional minimum flow and water quality standards, but they are unlikely to succeed without major improvements in both ecosystem planning and water accounting.

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