Water Science and Engineering 2019, 12(4) 284-292 DOI:   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wse.2019.12.002  ISSN: 1674-2370 CN: 32-1785/TV

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Keywords
Environmental flows
Ecological flow
Integrated water resources management
Adaptive management
Authors
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Bridging gaps between environmental flows theory and practices in China

Ang Chen a,b, Miao Wu c,*, Sai-nan Wu a, Xin Sui a, Jing-ya Wen d, Peng-yuan Wang e, Lin Cheng f, Guy R. Lanza g, Chun-na Liu a, Wan-lin Jia a

a State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
b Department of Production and Technology, Yangtze Ecology and Environment Co., Ltd., Wuhan 430062, China
c College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
d Appraisal Center for Environment and Engineering, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Beijing 100012, China
e China Three Gorges Corporation, Beijing 100038, China
f World Wide Fund for Nature Beijing Office, Beijing 100086, China
g Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, State University of New York, Syracuse NY 13210, USA

Abstract

In recent decades, a series of policies and practices for environmental flows (e-flows) have been implemented in China, with the sustainable development goal of balancing the utilization and protection of water resources among social, economic, and ecological needs. The aims of this study were to determine the main challenges and issues in e-flows implementation at different scales by analyzing policies and practices for e-flows in China, and to propose some recommendations for bridging the gaps between the science and implementation of e-flows. The gaps between the science and implementation of e-flows were found after review of literature, policies, and practices, and it was found that ecological flow was a more widely used term by the government, rather than e-flows, in implementation. The plans and effects of e-flows implementation are discussed in this paper and challenges of e-flows implementation are recognized: (1) limited water resources and uneven spatial and temporal distribution, (2) a weak scientific basis for e-flows implementation, (3) poor operability of e-flows science, and (4) ineffective supervision and guarantee measures. The recommendations are (1) to strengthen the scientific foundation of e-flows, (2) to improve effectiveness in application of e-flows science, and (3) to propose operable and effective supervision and guarantee measures. This paper elaborates the current understanding of e-flows science and provides practical recommendations for implementing e-flows and for improving the effectiveness in e-flows implementation. To bridge the gaps between science and implementation of e-flows and improve the operability of policies in future practices, more scientific research on practices is recommended through adaptive management.

Keywords Environmental flows   Ecological flow   Integrated water resources management   Adaptive management  
Received 2019-05-14 Revised 2019-08-20 Online: 2019-12-30 
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wse.2019.12.002
Fund:

This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2018YFE0196000).

Corresponding Authors: Miao Wu
Email: 3water@hhu.edu.cn
About author:

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