Chapter 9: Water for the environment
By Rod Oliver and Ian Webster
Aquatic and water-dependent ecosystems require surface water flows or access to ground water to survive. They include Australia’s highly valued rivers, lakes, floodplains, wetlands, and estuaries.
Regulation of rivers with dams and weirs and the extraction of water from rivers and groundwater threaten the viability of these ecosystems, many of which are now degraded.
To function properly, these ecosystems and the species in them require not just adequate volumes of water but the right seasonal pattern and variety of conditions.
Providing water for consumption while providing for ecosystems often involves trade-offs or compromises. A good understanding of the condition of ecosystems under different regimes of water use can help make this trade-offs transparent and identify ways to reduce them.
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