Traditional approaches to water resource engineering have sought to maintain a static, optimized state of system performance in providing reliable water supplies, energy, and flood protection. However, delivery of these services has been associated with the disruption of freshwater ecosystem functioning, driving global-scale declines of biodiversity and the loss of ecosystem services. Climate change is presenting new challenges for water and ecosystem managers alike. Yet, climate change is also creating new opportunities to consider ecological resilience in the design and management of water systems. Here, we describe a set of climate-informed ecological resilience principles and associated indicators, which can support integration of ecosystem needs within water resource engineering decision-making. These have the potential to guide climate-adaptive water resource management while also provisioning broad benefits to both people and ecosystems in a shifting operating environment.
Shifting currents: Managing freshwater systems for ecological resilience in a changing climate
N. LeRoy Poff
John H. Matthews
Article published in Nature Climate Change
Article published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability