Next Article in Journal
Permeable Reactive Barriers for Preventing Water Bodies from a Phosphorus-Polluted Agricultural Runoff-Column Experiment
Next Article in Special Issue
Multi-Objective Calibration of a Distributed Hydrological Model in a Highly Glacierized Watershed in Central Asia
Previous Article in Journal
Influence of Topographic Characteristics on the Adaptive Time Interval for Diffusion Wave Simulation
Previous Article in Special Issue
A Simple Early Warning System for Flash Floods in an Ungauged Catchment and Application in the Loess Plateau, China
Article

Managing for Sustainability: The Development of Environmental Flows Implementation in China

by 1 and 2,*
1
State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
2
College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(3), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030433
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 22 February 2019 / Accepted: 25 February 2019 / Published: 28 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Related Disaster and Water Environment Management)
Environmental flows (e-flows) are important for river protection and restoration under degraded ecological conditions. With increasing public desire for and pursuit of sustainable development, e-flows are widely used to reflect the hydrological regime requirements for sustaining freshwater ecosystems and human livelihoods. Over the past 40 years, e-flows implementation has shifted from static minimum flows to dynamic flow components. However, e-flows standards used to manage flow releases from dams are to a great extent based on expert judgement and government supervision. These attributes make it difficult to effectively implement e-flows in the non-stationary world. The primary focus of this paper is to review the history, management systems and scientific basis of e-flows in China. Firstly, the study classifies the development phases into four periods and then analyses the underpinning legal system for e-flows implementation in each period, including the laws, regulations, policies and responsible authorities. Finally, the scientific basis and methods for e-flows determination and assessment were analyzed. The study showed that: (1) e-flows have been officially regarded as ecological flow in China, which evolved from minimum flow, and the contents and connotations are still broadening; (2) currently, there are too many authorities related to e-flows and complicated legal documents in China which lead to ineffective implementation; (3) the scientific basis of e-flows is enriched from the relationship between hydrological alteration and ecological response, so that the practices will be more holistic in China. Despite the successful practices of e-flows implementation in large rivers, there are challenges for implementing future e-flows in small rivers. This study recommended that future e-flows implementation be integrated with sustainable water management by setting clear responsibilities for governments, ministries, and other stakeholders. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental flows; ecological flow; freshwater ecosystem; hydrological regime; water governance environmental flows; ecological flow; freshwater ecosystem; hydrological regime; water governance
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, A.; Wu, M. Managing for Sustainability: The Development of Environmental Flows Implementation in China. Water 2019, 11, 433. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030433

AMA Style

Chen A, Wu M. Managing for Sustainability: The Development of Environmental Flows Implementation in China. Water. 2019; 11(3):433. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030433

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Ang, and Miao Wu. 2019. "Managing for Sustainability: The Development of Environmental Flows Implementation in China" Water 11, no. 3: 433. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030433

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop