Water provides the lifeblood of natural systems, societies and economies. People have lived near and on rivers, lakes, wetlands and deltas for many centuries. Rivers provide a multitude of services such as water supply, waste assimilation, fisheries, energy production, flood attenuation, spiritual, cultural and recreational benefits, and the habitat that supports a wide range of ecosystems. It is precisely because water resources provide so many functions that planning for their use is so complex. The demands on rivers increasingly exceed their natural capabilities resulting in over abstraction, pollution, alien species infestation, floodplain alteration and habitat destruction. These failures are usually the consequence of poor decision-making, inadequate management and inappropriate planning. Effective basin planning is the starting point of sustainable management of river basins.
The paper Strategic Basin Planning summarises the findings of a collaborative effort between WWF, the General Institute of Water Resources & Hydropower Planning (GIWP), Ministry of Water Resources, People’s Republic of China and a number of leading international experts from the UK, South Africa, Australia and the US. The effort was originally conceived to review and disseminate modern approaches to water management in challenging environments, and provide new insights into strategic planning and risk management of water resources.
This paper focuses on basin water allocation planning and is one in a series of three covering (i) strategic basin allocation planning (ii) strategic basin planning, and (iii) strategic flood risk management.