Title: Climate change and the world s river basins: anticipating management options 
Resource Type: document --> technical publication --> journal article 
Country: International organisation- network or project 
Year: 2007 
Availability: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment DOI: 10.1890/060148 
Author 1/Producer: Margaret A Palmer 
Other Authors/Producers: Catherine A Reidy Liermann, Christer Nilsson, Martina Flörke, Joseph Alcamo, P Sam Lake, and Nick Bond 
Author / Producer Type: University research group / research institute 
Article Weblink (=direct link): http://www.esajournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&do ...  
EUGRIS Keyword(s): Water resources and their management -->Monitoring and mitigation
Water resources and their management -->River basins
Water resources and their management -->Water resources and their management Overview
Short description: Rivers are dynamic, and they may change form several times throughout their course due to variations in physical conditions, such as slope and bedrock geology. Rivers respond to changes in land use and climate through dynamic movements and flow adjustments, which allow rives to absorb disturbances. Nevertheless this ability does have its limits. Indeed, most of the world’s greatest rivers have experienced major changes in flow, which in turn have reduced their natural ability to adjust to changes. Given the expected changes in global climate and water demand in the future, this might result in serious consequences for ecosystems and humans including increased flooding and water shortages. While the impacts of climate change on water availability and sustainability of ecosystems have received attention, very little is known about the overlapping consequences of climate change and the impacts caused by dams and other human infrastructures. American, Swedish, Australian, and German researchers recently investigated river discharge under different scenarios of climate change and water withdrawal for the 2050s and combined this with data on the impact of dams on large river basins in the world. This enabled the authors to create global maps that illustrate the potential changes in discharge and water stress for dam-impacted and free-flowing rivers. The authors then identified different action types (proactive and reactive) that could be applied to the river basins most likely to experience the greatest changes. The results show that the area of large river basins in need of management interventions (reactive or proactive) due to changes in discharge and water stress will be much larger for basins impacted by dams than for rivers with free-flowing rivers. Approximately 300,000 km2 for basins with no dam impacts and 10 million km2 for dam-impacted basins will be likely to require some form of management by 2050. Nearly 1 million people live in the areas likely to require action. Moreover, the authors estimate that areas of large river basins almost certain to require management intervention amount to 700,000 km2 for unimpacted basins and 5 million km2 for dam-impacted basins. Approximately 365 million people in these areas are certain to require intervention. 
Submitted By: Professor Paul Bardos WhoDoesWhat?      Last update: 17/11/2007

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