Paper No. JAWRA-10-0156-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). Discussions are open until six months from print publication.
A Method to Assess and Define Environmental Flow Rules for Large Jurisdictional Regions1
Article first published online: 8 JUN 2011
© 2011 American Water Resources Association
JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume 47, Issue 4, pages 828–840, August 2011
How to Cite
Snelder, T., Booker, D. and Lamouroux, N. (2011), A Method to Assess and Define Environmental Flow Rules for Large Jurisdictional Regions. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 47: 828–840. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00556.x
- Issue published online: 25 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 8 JUN 2011
- Received September 19, 2010; accepted March 22, 2011.
- environmental flow;
- minimum flow;
- water allocation;
- flow duration curve
Snelder, Ton, Doug Booker, and Nicolas Lamouroux, 2011. A Method to Assess and Define Environmental Flow Rules for Large Jurisdictional Regions. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 47(4):828-840. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00556.x
Abstract: Hydrological rules of thumb are used across jurisdictional regions to set minimum flows and allocation limits that apply by default (i.e., when more detailed site-scale studies have not been carried out). Uniform rules do not account for spatial variation in environmental characteristics, resulting in inconsistent consequences for the protection of ecosystems, and the reliability of water resources. We developed a method for assessing hydrological rules of thumb that describes their consequences for protection of the ecosystem (in terms of retention of physical habitat) and the reliability of the water resource. The method links regionalized flow duration curves, at-station hydraulic geometry, and generalized physical habitat models to make assessments at many locations across a region. The method estimates, for a given set of rules, the retained physical habitat for specified taxa/life stages and the proportion of the time abstractions are restricted. We applied the method to assess a set of rules that are proposed as default minimum flows and allocation limits for New Zealand rivers. The assessment showed that the minimum flow rules had variable consequences. The method could be used to quantify the tradeoff between environmental protection and water resources availability and reliability.