• ecological and environmental instream flow requirements;
  • water resources;
  • Wei River


Instream flows are essential determinants of channel morphology, riparian and aquatic flora and fauna, water quality estuarine inflow and stream load transport. The ecological and environmental instream flow requirements (EEIFR) should be estimated to make the exploitation and utilization of water resources in a highly efficient and sustainable way and maintain the river ecosystem good health. As the largest tributary of the Yellow River, the Wei River is the ‘Mother River’ of Guanzhong region in Shaanxi province. It plays a great role in the development of West China and the health of the ecosystem of the Yellow River. The objective of this study is to estimate the EEIFR for improving the Wei River's ecological and environmental condition and develop the river healthily. Concerning the main ecological and environmental functions of the Wei River in Shaanxi Province, the EEIFR for each section of the Wei River including minimum instream flow requirements (IFR) for aquicolous biotopes maintenance, IFR for channel seepage, channel evaporation, stream self-purification and sediment transportation were estimated in this paper. The methods to estimate the instream flow requirements for stream self-purification and instream flow requirements for sediment transportation were proposed. The temporal scale of typical years include the year with the probability 25% of occurrence (high-flow year), the year with the probability 50% (normal-flow year) and the year with the probability 75% (low-flow year). The results show that the EEIFR for the Wei River mainly include instream flow requirements for self-purification and sediment transportation in each typical year. From high-flow year to low-flow year, the annual EEIFR for each reach decrease, except those for the reach from Linjiacun to Weijiabao, and from Linjiacun at the upper reaches to Huaxian at the lower reaches, and the annual reach EEIFR decrease in a sequence. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.