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Water 2018, 10(7), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10070848

The Value of Environmental Base Flow in Water-Scarce Basins: A Case Study of Wei River Basin, Northwest China

1,2
,
1,* , 1
and
1,3
1
State Key Laboratory of Eco-Hydraulics in Northwest Arid Region of China, Xi’an University of Technology, Xi’an 710048, China
2
College of Chemical and Environmental Science, Shaanxi University of Technology, Hanzhong 723000, China
3
Upstream Hydrology and Water Resources Bureau, Yellow River Conservancy Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources, Lanzhou 730000, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 April 2018 / Revised: 2 June 2018 / Accepted: 18 June 2018 / Published: 26 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management and Governance)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1318 KB, uploaded 26 June 2018]   |  

Abstract

In the perennial river, environmental base flow, associated with environmental flow, is the base flow that should be maintained within the river channel throughout the year, especially in the dry season, to sustain basic ecosystem functions and prevent the shrinkage or discontinuity of a river. The functions of environmental base flow include eco-environmental functions, natural functions, and social functions. In this study, we provided a method based on these functions; this method estimated the function values per unit area, introduced the scarcity coefficient, multiplied by the corresponding water area, and summed over to quantify the value of environmental base flow from 1973 to 2015 in the Wei River Basin, the largest tributary of the Yellow River in Northwest China. We observed that there was a positive correlation between the total value of environmental base flow and its water yield, whereas this outcome was completely different in the benefit per unit discharge of environmental base flow, which was closely associated with the shortage of environmental base flow. This method can thus present the considerable value of environmental base flow in monetary terms in a simple and effective way and lay the foundation for further reasonable protection levels of environmental base flow. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental base flow; function analysis; evaluation method; dry season; water scarce basin; Northwest China environmental base flow; function analysis; evaluation method; dry season; water scarce basin; Northwest China
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Yue, S.; Li, H.; Cheng, B.; Gao, Z. The Value of Environmental Base Flow in Water-Scarce Basins: A Case Study of Wei River Basin, Northwest China. Water 2018, 10, 848.

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