The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Science Magazine

Open Letter in “Science” Calls for Better Integrating Freshwater Conservation into Policy Objectives

A letter in Science, published today and co-authored by our own Ingrid Timboe, highlights an alarming statistic from the most recent Freshwater Living Planet Index (FLPI), published in the 2018 Living Planet Report (LPR) showing an 83% decline in monitored freshwater species. Most significantly, the rate of decline of freshwater species has risen with each report. Despite warnings from over a decade ago that the protection of freshwater biodiversity is “the ultimate conservation challenge” and “immediate action is needed,” conservation is evidently failing freshwater biodiversity and solutions must be found.

Additional research to form a better understanding of the species present in our freshwater ecosystems, and the ecological functions of these ecosystems is important. However, equally important as the need to do better science to fill the data gap is the need to do a better job at translating this science and data so that others can use them. It is essential that we engage policy makers and water managers at the local level in our research in order to better understand and represent the diverse needs of the communities living with freshwater biodiversity loss.

Balancing hydropower and biodiversity in the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong

The world's most biodiverse river basins—the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong—are experiencing an unprecedented boom in construction of hydropower dams. These projects address important energy needs, but advocates often overestimate economic benefits and underestimate far-reaching effects on biodiversity and critically important fisheries. Powerful new analytical tools and high-resolution environmental data can clarify trade-offs between engineering and environmental goals and can enable governments and funding institutions to compare alternative sites for dam building. Read More...

Building Water Security Through Green Infrastructure

Science magazine is publishing a series of six Policy Forum essays on water to coincide with leading annual water conference, World Water Week. The 3-part series of paired essays contrasts perspectives on water governance (local vs global), monitoring water (satellite vs on the ground), and green infrastructure (feasibility for emerging economies). An essay advocating for the wider deployment of green infrastructure was co-authored by John Matthews and others from AGWA. Dr. Margaret Palmer, head of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), served as lead author for the essay. You can see the article online via the Science website or directly download it here. The counterpoint to this essay on green infrastructure is also available to download here. Read More...