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Environmental Flows: Policy and Implementation. Tyler Jantzen and Shane Walker Transboundary Water Resources November 15, 2005. Presentation Outline. Review of Environmental Flow Concept Implementation of Concept to Policy Case Study: South Africa Case Study: Australia Policy in the U.S.

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Environmental flows policy and implementation l.jpg

Environmental Flows:Policy and Implementation

Tyler Jantzen and Shane Walker

Transboundary Water Resources

November 15, 2005

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Presentation Outline

  • Review of Environmental Flow Concept

  • Implementation of Concept to Policy

  • Case Study: South Africa

  • Case Study: Australia

  • Policy in the U.S.

    • Texas Waters DVD

    • Use of Eminent Domain

  • Questions for Discussion

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Implementing Environmental Flows as Water Policy

  • The Science is here (for the most part)

  • The public is mostly unaware of need for Environmental Flow

  • Giving the Environment a primary “right” to water is a paradigm shift for most people

  • Most water rights have alreadybeen allocated and are spoken for

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Case Study: South Africa

An Introduction to the Concept of a Water Reserve

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South Africa Water Resources:A Recent History

  • April, 1994: End of apartheid→ A new start

  • Dec., 1996: Constitution signed

  • 1997: “National Water Policy” adopted

  • 1998: “National Water Act” signed into law

  • Aug. 2002: Draft of “National Water Resource Strategy” proposed

  • Sept. 2002: NWRS- 1st Edition adopted

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National Water Act

  • Water considered a common asset

  • National and local governments “act in the public trust” to ensure that water used for “the benefit of all persons”

Licensed Users

Schedule 1- Unlicensed Users of Minor Extractions

Ecological Flow

The Water Reserve

Basic Human Needs

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The Water Reserve

  • Phase 1: Complete

    •  Desktop Model (Minimal data needed; Already exists)

    •  Low level of reliability

    •  Does not account for temporal flow distribution

    • ~20% of flow reserved for Ecological flow + 25 liters per person per day = Water Reserve

  • Phase 2: In Progress

    •  More complex Building Block Model

    •  High data needs, very little data exists

    •  Higher level of reliability- legally defensible

    •  Will account for temporal flow distribution

    • Prescription based on multiple parameters

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Water Management Areas

National: Department of Water Affairs and Forestry

Regional: Water [Catchment] Management Areas

Local: Water Users Associations

Regional Management Areas

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The Water Reserve: Ecological Flow

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The Water Reserve: Protecting Water for “Basic Human Needs”

X 25 L / cap day

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Case Study: Australia

Water “Cap”

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Water Resources in Australia

  • A water scarce continent

    • However, low population density

  • Rainfall is highly variable in time and space

    • Need for engineered water resource systems

    • One of highest Dam per Capita ratios in the world

  • National government encourages individual basins to implement environmental flow measures

    • The Murray-Darling Basin Commission has taken on one of the most progressive plans in Australia

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The Murray-Darling Basin

  • Large increase in development and water use in 1980s and 1990s.

  • 1995: MDBC implements an interim cap in an attempt to address declining river health

  • 1997: The cap becomes permanent

  • The cap limits diversions to 1993/1994 levels

  • Adjustments are made to account for natural changes in flow (drought)

  • Considered a “first step” towards achieving a sustainable basin ecosystem

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U.S. and TexasWhat Are We Doing?

  • 1977- Thorton, CO acquired water rights from nearby irrigation companies for municipal use using eminent domain

  • 1990s- El Paso expanding groundwater rights

  • Texas The State of Water – Finding a Balance(Texas Parks and Wildlife) Video

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Questions for Discussion

  • How does a government or institution determine an equitable way to allocate water to both “reserve” and users? What level of ecological health is desired? What level of ecological health is reasonable and achievable? How much flow are users willing to forego?

  • How can the methods used by South Africa, Australia, and Armenia be applied to transboundary river basins?

  • How can American water policy makers (either on a local, regional, state, or national level) incorporate the concept of ecological and environmental flow? Should Eminent Domainbe applied to water rights in order to sustain environmental flows?

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