Case Studies

Environmental Flows Study CoverEnvironmental Flows

Demonstrations and knowledge sharing through regional and global networks to turn policy into action

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.

WANI 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.

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Komadugu Yobe Basin, upstream of Lake Chad, NigeriaKomadugu Yobe Basin, upstream of Lake Chad, Nigeria

Multi-stakeholder participation to create new institutions and legal frameworks to manage water resources

Inappropriate water management practices in the Komadugu Yobe Basin, upstream of Lake Chad in northern Nigeria, changed the seasonal river flow and caused widespread environmental degradation. Coupled with this was fragmented regulation and conflicting responsibilities among institutions, a lack of coordination for hydro-agricultural developments, inequitable access to water resources and growing tensions and risk of conflicts among water users.

As a response to this situation, WANI and partners initiated a process of coordination and participation of all stakeholders in dialogue to reverse the trends in natural resources degradation in the basin through integrated management.

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Pangani River Basin, TanzaniaPangani River Basin, Tanzania

Building consensus on water allocation and climate change adaptation

Climate change and the over-exploitation of water resources is challenging the sustainability of the Pangani River Basin to deliver water services. Competition for diminishing water resources has led to tensions between the various stakeholders within the basin.

Together with the government of Tanzania and donor partners, WANI has responded to this crisis by supporting the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). This sought to bring together a variety of stakeholders by creating platforms for dialogue and encouraged collaboration towards a common goal.

The Pangani River Basin Management Project has generated technical information and developed participatory forums, mainstreamed climate change, supported the equitable provision and wise governance of freshwater for livelihoods and environment for current and future generations.

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Mekong River BasinMekong River Basin

Mobilising grassroots engagement and facilitating high-level dialogue for transboundary water management

The productivity of the Mekong River Basin is dependent on a dramatic process of flooding and recession, which endows the basin wide range of habitats. The timing, extent and duration of floods, and the regular inundation of habitats are all important factors in determining the productivity of the river.

This ecosystem is fundamental to the viability of natural resource-based rural livelihoods of a population of 55 million people living in the Lower Mekong Basin – equivalent to more than 90% of the population of the entire Mekong Basin, and about one third of the total population of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam combined.

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Tacaná Watersheds, Guatemala & MexicoTacaná Watersheds, Guatemala & Mexico

Transboundary water governance and implementation of IWRM through local community action.

The watersheds of the Tacaná volcano, which stands at an altitude of 4,093 m, cover a transboundary area of 3,170 km² right in the middle of the border area of the Department of San Marcos, Guatemala and the State of Chiapas, Mexico. This area comprises the Coatán, Suchiate, Cosalapa and Cahoacán rivers.

The Coatán and Suchiate watersheds are shared by Guatemala and
Mexico. These watersheds are of great strategic importance for both countries as they supply water to a large number of residents in the cities downstream, and are the main source of irrigation for agriculture. In the lower reaches, fishing is an important source of income.

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Volta River Basin, Ghana & Burkina FasoVolta River Basin, Ghana & Burkina Faso

Transboundary water management through multi-level participatory governance and community projects

The Volta River Basin in West Africa has a surface area of 400,000 km2, across six countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, and Togo. It is the ninth largest river basin in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Volta Basin is home to nearly 19 million people who depend directly or indirectly on the resources of the river. Therefore the Volta Basin is an important asset for the development of the riparian countries.

The Volta River Basin faces enormous development challenges. Poverty and increasing population pressure have led to the extensive exploitation of natural resources contributing to water scarcity, land degradation and the siltation of river channels.

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Goascorán Basin: Honduras and El SalvadorGoascorán Basin: Honduras and El Salvador

Revitalising cooperative management through expanding stakeholder involvement

The waters of the Goascorán River are shared between Honduras and El Salvador. Since 2011, BRIDGE has worked to promote better cooperation over transboundary waters, taking a non-conventional approach to water diplomacy. One of the challenges was the level of involvement in the institutional arrangement existing in the basin. The initial makeup of the Binationa Management Group (BMG) had a limited representation of Municipalities only giving the institution a narrow scope and legitimacy with stakeholders. There was a need to revitalise the BMG expanding the level of participation across scales and across sectors.

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