Abstract: Environmental flows improve water management by ensuring a sustainable water supply to meet the needs of people, agriculture, energy, industry and the environment. Environmental flows are effectively a balance between water resources development and the need to protect freshwater-dependent ecosystems. IUCN Global Water Programme has contributed to environmental flow assessments in river basins in Asia, America, and Africa over the last 10 years with the aim of reducing environmental impacts and increasing the benefits of river basin development. Through scaling-up, lessons learned have been mainstreamed into IWRM allowing for the capacity building of existing legislation and the establishment of new, appropriate legislation on environmental flows. This influence on IWRM and water policy has resulted in better water resources management.

Authors: Stefano Barchiesi, Rebecca Welling, Megan Cartin, Mario Aguirre and Katharine Cross