Water Journal : Water Journal December 2012
conference reviews regular features 54 DECEMBER 2012 water fish biology. He noted the impacts of increasing “domestication” of rivers and associated management options, recognising that rivers and associated freshwaters are unique ecosystems, being hotspots of biodiversity and production and providing disproportionately more functions and services by connecting terrestrial, subterranean, aerial and marine systems. There was also considerable commentary at the conference about the importance of communication and conversations in managing the connections. This included the need to get the narrative right, to have compelling and engaging “stories” to tell, to seek a common language, and to be prepared and committed to “take journeys of joint discovery” and to “embrace continuous learning and adaptive management” with partners and collaborators. These matters were engagingly covered by Celeste Cantú, of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, based in southern California, USA, in her keynote address about watershed-based management, integrating people, resources and policy. Ms Cantú’s message is that the answers to meeting our water and related challenges are in the ability and resolve of the people involved. “While the extent of technical fixes are important and necessary, it is the way we work together and craft innovated agreements that will deliver success and sustainability,” she said. Together with population growth pressures, California’s hydrologic cycle is likely to be influenced by climate change in ways that lead to scarcer and more variable water supplies, including (i) reduced snow accumulation and changed melt patterns, (ii) reduced precipitation, (iii) changed seasonal runoff, (iv) increased evapotranspiration, (v) reduced stream flow, and (vi) increased stress on groundwater and receiving water bodies – “the whole enchilada” as they say in California. The implications are that California’s water management plans need to be revised and updated to better deal with a higher level of water scarcity. In addition, 19% of all energy in California is used to transport, treat and heat water. To conserve water is to conserve energy. The USA also generates a lot of hydro-electrical power, and as river flows and dam levels shrink so does the region’s ability to generate electricity. But water scarcity is not the only driver. Budget limitations are changing how goals are fulfilled. Because of financial limits, citizens and stakeholders have increasingly been called upon to help craft responsible, sustainable solutions. The fiscal crisis will also drive policy. Ms Cantú stressed, “We need to look to our rates to support our investments and this means we need to include our consumers as key stakeholders. We need to International delegates at the Welcome Function. David Molden outlines the significance of physical, functional and policy connections. The exhibition area at the conference.
Water Journal February 2013
Water Journal November 2012-1