An evidence-based approach for integrating ecological, hydrological and consumptive models to optimize flow management: a proof of concept

S.J. Nichols, S.J. Powell, M. Peat, Warren Johnson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Implementing policies to return water to the environment is challenging. We developed an approach to integrate ecological responses with river management models to provide a link between flow and ecology. This paper aims to summarize the findings of a multifaceted project bringing together multiple lines of evidence to achieve a proof-of-concept approach for optimizing water use to support water policy and management decisions. We developed an eco-hydrology model that represents rivers, water storages, operational constraints, flow management, an ecological response and consumptive irrigation demands, which is linked to climate. To demonstrate the proof of concept, we describe a case study where modelling optimization seeks solutions to minimize terrestrial vegetation encroachment (an ecological response) and maximize irrigation net value through flow management. The solutions provide a range of alternative ‘optimal’ management options to consider. Ultimately, hydrological modelling that integrates both consumptive use and ecological response simultaneously is important to enhance stakeholder understanding of the complexities and trade-offs involved in implementing different decisions. Although proof of concept at this stage, the approaches offer potential for integration of river management models and quantitative ecological response models (derived by considering available evidence from many sources) to support water policy and management decisions.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)432-446
    Number of pages15
    JournalPolicy Studies
    Volume38
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Cite this

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    title = "An evidence-based approach for integrating ecological, hydrological and consumptive models to optimize flow management: a proof of concept",
    abstract = "Implementing policies to return water to the environment is challenging. We developed an approach to integrate ecological responses with river management models to provide a link between flow and ecology. This paper aims to summarize the findings of a multifaceted project bringing together multiple lines of evidence to achieve a proof-of-concept approach for optimizing water use to support water policy and management decisions. We developed an eco-hydrology model that represents rivers, water storages, operational constraints, flow management, an ecological response and consumptive irrigation demands, which is linked to climate. To demonstrate the proof of concept, we describe a case study where modelling optimization seeks solutions to minimize terrestrial vegetation encroachment (an ecological response) and maximize irrigation net value through flow management. The solutions provide a range of alternative ‘optimal’ management options to consider. Ultimately, hydrological modelling that integrates both consumptive use and ecological response simultaneously is important to enhance stakeholder understanding of the complexities and trade-offs involved in implementing different decisions. Although proof of concept at this stage, the approaches offer potential for integration of river management models and quantitative ecological response models (derived by considering available evidence from many sources) to support water policy and management decisions.",
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    An evidence-based approach for integrating ecological, hydrological and consumptive models to optimize flow management: a proof of concept. / Nichols, S.J.; Powell, S.J.; Peat, M.; Johnson, Warren.

    In: Policy Studies, Vol. 38, No. 5, 2017, p. 432-446.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

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    AU - Nichols, S.J.

    AU - Powell, S.J.

    AU - Peat, M.

    AU - Johnson, Warren

    N1 - cited By 0; Article in Press

    PY - 2017

    Y1 - 2017

    N2 - Implementing policies to return water to the environment is challenging. We developed an approach to integrate ecological responses with river management models to provide a link between flow and ecology. This paper aims to summarize the findings of a multifaceted project bringing together multiple lines of evidence to achieve a proof-of-concept approach for optimizing water use to support water policy and management decisions. We developed an eco-hydrology model that represents rivers, water storages, operational constraints, flow management, an ecological response and consumptive irrigation demands, which is linked to climate. To demonstrate the proof of concept, we describe a case study where modelling optimization seeks solutions to minimize terrestrial vegetation encroachment (an ecological response) and maximize irrigation net value through flow management. The solutions provide a range of alternative ‘optimal’ management options to consider. Ultimately, hydrological modelling that integrates both consumptive use and ecological response simultaneously is important to enhance stakeholder understanding of the complexities and trade-offs involved in implementing different decisions. Although proof of concept at this stage, the approaches offer potential for integration of river management models and quantitative ecological response models (derived by considering available evidence from many sources) to support water policy and management decisions.

    AB - Implementing policies to return water to the environment is challenging. We developed an approach to integrate ecological responses with river management models to provide a link between flow and ecology. This paper aims to summarize the findings of a multifaceted project bringing together multiple lines of evidence to achieve a proof-of-concept approach for optimizing water use to support water policy and management decisions. We developed an eco-hydrology model that represents rivers, water storages, operational constraints, flow management, an ecological response and consumptive irrigation demands, which is linked to climate. To demonstrate the proof of concept, we describe a case study where modelling optimization seeks solutions to minimize terrestrial vegetation encroachment (an ecological response) and maximize irrigation net value through flow management. The solutions provide a range of alternative ‘optimal’ management options to consider. Ultimately, hydrological modelling that integrates both consumptive use and ecological response simultaneously is important to enhance stakeholder understanding of the complexities and trade-offs involved in implementing different decisions. Although proof of concept at this stage, the approaches offer potential for integration of river management models and quantitative ecological response models (derived by considering available evidence from many sources) to support water policy and management decisions.

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