Scientific article

Achieving water security's full goals through better integration of rivers' diverse and distinct values

Published inWater Security, vol. 10, no. 100063
Publication date2020

Healthy rivers provide a broad range of services that benefit economies and communities but the concepts of water security, as well as water management in practice, have tended to focus on a narrow set of those services. Accomplishing the diverse objectives bundled under water security—including water quantity and quality, linkages with food security, risk management and ecosystem conservation—will require a more holistic valuing of rivers' services coupled with policies and mechanisms to maintain and restore those values. Rivers have typically been viewed as sources of water to support irrigation, water supply or hydropower. While the water that rivers provide often has immense value to economies—and thus it is this role where rivers are well represented within frameworks for water security—rivers provide a diverse range of other services that encompass, but extend beyond, water as a resource that can be defined by volume or quality. These services can also produce vital benefits for economies and communities and they are generated by rivers as complex biophysical systems, not just as conduits for delivering water. Examples of these services include fisheries, floodplains that reduce flood risk, sediment delivery to deltas, and components of the channel network that regulate water quantity and quality. Concepts such as natural capital and ecosystem services are intended to better value these services, however the valuations produced are often not effectively integrated into decisions or management. Although rigorous science provides an important foundation for embedding the value of rivers within water security, translating those values into management and policy will require the communication of river values into terms and numbers that matter to key audiences and the assembly of coalitions to translate value into action.

  • Rivers
  • Water security
  • Floodplains
  • Fisheries
  • Sediment
  • Valuing water
Citation (ISO format)
OPPERMAN, J.J. et al. Achieving water security’s full goals through better integration of rivers” diverse and distinct values. In: Water Security, 2020, vol. 10, n° 100063. doi: 10.1016/j.wasec.2020.100063
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2468-3124

Technical informations

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