Environmental Flows - Ecosystems and Livelihoods - The Impossible Dream?
Environmental-flows (E-flows) refers to water provided within a river, wetland or coastal zone to maintain ecosystems and their benefits where there are competing water uses. In most river basins the natural flows have been modified to some extent, to meet the needs of human settlements, irrigators, flood controllers, or energy generators. Proponents of E-flows acknowledge these different uses, but argue that ecosystems are another valid user, and that ecosystem and livelihood services must also be valued and included in negotiations.
The 2nd Southeast Asia Water Forum, from 29 August - 3 September 2005, was an ideal opportunity to bring together a dialogue between delegates from across Southeast Asia to evaluate E-flows and multi-stakeholder platforms as tools for more effective water resource management. IUCN’s “Environmental Flows – Ecosystems and Livelihoods – The Impossible Dream?” session was held on the morning of 31 August 2005. The objectives of the session were to disseminate and debate the concept and practice of E-flows, and to assess the potential of E-flows to assist Southeast Asia water negotiations. This report summarizes some of the main outcomes of the session.