Protection and Restoration of Freshwater Ecosystems

Authored by: Brian D. Richter , Emily Maynard Powell , Tyler Lystash , Michelle Faggert

Water Policy and Planning

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781482227970
eBook ISBN: 9781482227987
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/b19534-8

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Abstract

During the past 150 years, the water flows of western rivers have been increasingly harnessed to supply water for farming, public water supplies, electricity generation, and other purposes, enabling rapid growth in cities and the regional economy, and in the production of agricultural goods distributed around the globe. However, this growth has come at great ecological cost. The excessive depletion of the region’s rivers has driven many native species to the brink of extinction and severely compromised the health of freshwater ecosystems. With climate-change projections forecasting even greater imbalances between water supply and demand in coming decades, water managers are faced with an urgent need for water policy reform that can support a sustainable future for both people and nature.

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