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Session - - 5.0 mins - Plenary Room
Session - - 50.0 mins - Plenary Room
Economic value of our rivers
Session - - 5.0 mins -
Session - - 85.0 mins - Danube
Addressing sustainability challenges and overcoming environmental problems requires fundamental societal changes. However, communicating these issues and convincing people to act is challenging. One emerging science communication tool that can address this need are boundary-spanning report cards that provides accessible and synthesized information to wider audiences. This presentation will explore the role of socio-environmental report cards in addressing sustainability challenges and will introduce a 3-phase framework in co-developing these report cards. Using the Chesapeake Bay watershed in the USA as a case study, we show that the various river and tributary report cards were able to enhance adaptive environmental governance by facilitating continual learning and cross-scale exchange of information between different organizations. These existing report cards, however, are still lacking to effectively support Chesapeake Bay restoration and fail to consider the diversity of environmental beliefs held by the various stakeholder groups within the Bay. We then applied our 3-phase framework by first identifying how different stakeholder groups define an “improved” or a “restored” Chesapeake Bay watershed through content analysis of key informant interviews. Finally, we used this understanding to create a vision for a future sustainable Chesapeake Bay watershed and proposed a socio-environmental report card that can support this vision. Identifying potential indicators for what people value can improve the utility of report cards in supporting Chesapeake Bay governance. Considering both scientific information and the human dimensions of ecosystems promotes more effective communication that can translate into positive actions towards a resilient and sustainable watershed. Socio-environmental report cards can be used in any system and can provide a foundation for collaborative solutions by creating a holistic assessment that balances environmental, economic, and social concerns and incorporates multiple perspectives from multi-sectoral stakeholders. 
Although Nepal has just over 1115 megawatt installed capacity, projects equivalent to 7680 megawatt are under construction, 2600 megawatt acquired generation license, 17,000 megawatt acquired survey license. In the quest of harnessing more energy, water availability for other sectors is least discussed. The Hydropower Development Policy of 2001 requires dams to release 10% of the minimum monthly average discharge (E-flow) or minimum suggested by EIA. In most hydropower projects, this policy is not complied with while the adequacy of a stipulated amount is unclear. Lack of flow downstream of dams affects fish passage, local irrigation, aquatic ecology, livelihood, water-based tourism and rituals. However, there is no platform for local people to discuss these issues. 
Therefore, ISET Nepal with the funding from The Asia Foundation, conducted multilayered dialogues with various stakeholders: ecologists, private sector, government, and local people. Stakeholders acknowledged that water has multifaceted roles and importance, however they do not have a solution to acknowledge and keep this importance. Stakeholders have different views but no solution to address inadequate E-flow in the rivers. Yet, the stakeholders opined the need of river stewardship from river communities for safeguarding rivers. Although it is a promising solution, why should river communities be interested in river stewardship unless this supports their livelihood? What is the eligibility to be a river leader, how can we sustain river leaders? Who will pay for this initiative and its sustainability: hydropower companies or government? The International Rivers Foundation who is advocating for resilient rivers may contribute in this line of thought. Until then, continuous dialogues involving various stakeholders, and raising awareness of local community on policy and compliance on E-Flow could be one way to achieve the goal of cooperative water management for maintaining quantity and quality of water in the river for future generation.
Integrated catchment management is fundamental for water security. The degradation of upstream areas by human activities can have significant negative impacts on the downstream river and estuarine ecosystems. The degradation of natural ecosystems often contributes to loss of resilience, especially in drought- and flood-prone catchments, e.g., the Brisbane River Catchment in Queensland, causing severe environmental, social, and economic losses as in 2011 and 2013 floods. The Building Catchment Resilience project aims to provide a decision support framework to guide cost-effective green investments for mitigation of source pollution in catchments. It builds on predictions from catchment models and real cost estimations, integrated into a multi-objective trade-off analysis. The combination of catchment models aligned within a multi-objective prioritization routine enables identifying the best scenarios of investment for given budget constraints. Based on the current scenario of sediment and nitrogen source pollution, scenarios are simulated in which management actions are implemented to mitigate these issues. The cost-effectiveness of each management action is analysed accounting for opportunity and implementation costs necessary for achieving sediment and nitrogen savings. Benefits and costs from management actions can be spatially represented, quantified, and visualized as maps to facilitate decision-maker conversations. Additional benefits from combined management actions for restoration, for example, the mitigation of flood impact, can be estimated for best-case scenarios. This approach builds a systematic framework that enables inclusion of externalities generated by competing objectives in catchment management and offers a flexible framework that can be adapted for different catchments and management objectives.

Urban coasts and waterways provide a range of ecosystem services highly valued by society. However, around the world human activities are transforming these ecosystems, leading to poor water quality, habitat degradation and loss of biodiversity. Our research explores ways to tackle these issues by increasing the reach and impact of community waterway stewardship programs. We seek to understand how success or failure of such programs is influenced by social capital: the social connectedness of a community that enables people, organisations, and communities to work together collaboratively for mutual benefit. Two case studies were conducted to understand 1) how social capital enables participation in community programs aimed at connecting urban communities to their waterways; and 2) how participation in these programs grows social capital to leverage and sustain the impact of the program over time. The first study is of a community co-design process that restored the natural elements of an urban creek in Brisbane (Queensland) and made it easier for the community to enjoy its surrounds. The second study is a ‘change makers’ program in Sydney (New South Wales) that connected like-minded people to work together to create new projects that positively impact their river and its communities. We found that 1) Latent social networks can be activated by common projects; 2) social networks are important for participation and knowledge sharing 3) Community leaders are crucial for flourishing social networks and that social influence is important for fostering community leadership. Here we show how and why social capital is such a crucial part of community urban waterway stewardship programs. Our research findings are relevant to organisations that work with community members to promote conservation across Australia. These results will assist practitioners to tailor programs to different stakeholder types to maximise engagement and reach of community urban waterway stewardship programs. 
Competing demand for water resources in the Murray-Darling Basin of south-eastern Australia has led to serious declines in the condition of many of the Basin’s water-dependent ecosystems. In response, the Australian government enacted the Basin Plan (2012) to ensure the Basin’s water resources are shared between all users in a sustainable way. The Basin Plan requires the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) have regard to the values and uses of First Nations people in planning for environmental water use in the Basin. Cultural differences in knowledge structures and governance arrangements between First Nations and Australian Government agencies have introduced challenges to the equitable and culturally appropriate incorporation of First Nations knowledge and outcomes into environmental water planning in the Basin. To overcome these challenges, the MDBA partnered with First Nations representative bodies and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) in 2018 to establish the First Nations Environmental Water Guidance project (FNEWG). The FNEWG project developed a novel and inclusive way of identifying outcomes for First Nations communities throughout the Basin, focused on highlighting culturally significant plants, animals and system connectivity. Successful implementation of this project in 2019-20 has seen First Nations environmental water guidance contribute to the MDBA’s Basin Annual Environmental Watering Priorities for 2020-21, as well as the CEWO 2020-21 Water Management Plan for the Basin. This presentation provides an overview of the project architecture, as well as key outcomes, learnings and future directions. 
Session - - 5.0 mins -
From 2012 to 2018, a total of 11 ecological operation trials by the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) have been continuously performed for stimulating the spawning of the four major Chinese carps (FMCC) below the Gezhouba dam, in the  middle mainstream of Yangtze River. According to ecological monitoring data in the Shashi section, during the time of FMCC eggs were collected, daily water temperature ranged from 19.2-25.5℃, with an average value of 22.5℃, and the daily river flow range was 11,000-33,600 m3/s, with an average value of 16,890 m3/s; There was no significantly difference in the water temperature among years, whereas a significant difference in the river flow among years was existed. Grass carp and Silver carp were dominant species in the egg composition of FMCC, with annual average egg abundance accounting for approximately 85% of the total. FMCC egg abundance ranged from 135 to 610 million per year, with average value of 300 million. Days of continuous water rising, initial water level and spawning date batch were important eco-hydrological parameters affecting the spawning quantity of FMCC in the surveyed area. Except for 2016, the spawning quantity of FMCC during ecological period accounted for a large proportion of that during monitoring period, with a range from 31.90% to 66.58%. By a comparison of the spawning performance, the FMCC displayed the longer spawning duration, the wider range of spawning ground and the larger spawning quantity in the flood process of ecological operation, compared with other routine operation flood period. The results clearly show the continuous implementation of TGR ecological operation has played a certain role in the early resource recovery of FMCC in recent years.
Based on the long-term monitoring data in the lower reaches of Wujiang river, the effects of two high-head dams on macroinvertebrate communities were explored. The communities changed significantly before and after the dam impoundments, and the differences in different periods were also significant. The predominant taxa in pre-impoundment conditions such as Rivularia globose and Lithoglyphopsis ovatus could adapt to the diel flow fluctuation pattern and were tolerant to short-term dewatering. The increased rock embeddedness and siltation induced by dam impoundment had negative impacts on mayflies and caddisflies. Additionally, the epilithic development below dams was detrimental to heptagenids. The taxa from crustaceans such as Palaemonidae occupied dominant position and very common in the reaches below dams and were very tolerant to sharp water level fluctuations due to high strong activities. All the changes in indicators showed the communities changed with time and the succession was related to the dam constructions. The dewatering was the predominant factor affecting the shoal habitat, leading to the big magnitude declines in some taxa. Although the change trends of macroinvertebrate diversity were different in different areas, the overall trend was that the diversity indices declined significantly after impoundment compared to pre-impoundment. The inundation induced by dam impoundment and iterative disturbances induced by diel flow fluctuations were the important factors affecting macroinvertebrate communities, resulting in the sharp population degradation. In the process of community succession, the compensatory population size of new taxa was considerably lower than the lost population of original taxa. The construction and operation of the two dams resulted in the loss of river connectivity and the increased habitat heterogeneity, leading to the gradual increase of beta diversity index. Some original taxa vanished due to weaken adaptability while some new taxa with strong tolerance occurred in the reaches affected by the dams.
First described by the local indigenous people of the Awabakal nation as Awaba or ‘plain surface’, Lake Macquarie is located on the central coast of NSW Australia. It is the state’s largest coastal lake and has a surface area of 110km2. The lake is surrounded by mix of urban, industrial and natural landscapes that make up the City of Lake Macquarie, which has a population of 205,000 living within the 750km2 catchment.  

The lake is not only the dominate feature of the City’s geography, it is also central to the identity and lifestyle of residents.  However, as a result of urbanisation, the lake has experienced increased inflows of sediment and nutrient pollution, modifications to foreshores and waterways, as well as the clearing of native vegetation and wetlands which significantly reduced lake health to the point that in the 1980s, it was on the verge of becoming eutrophic.  

In response to a significant level of community concern, the Lake Macquarie Improvement Project was established in 1999.  This project ran for a decade until 2009 when it ceased and responsibility for lake improvements was transferred to the local council and relevant state agencies.  This project triggered a major turning-point in lake health, and the previously observed decline was halted and significant trends of improved health where observed by the mid 2000’s.  This project was a finalist in both the Australian and International RiverPrizes, and won the Australian prize in 2008.
This presentation will recap on the history of the Lake Macquarie Improvement Project, as well as telling the story of what has happened in the 14 years since the RiverPrize.  In particular, the presentation will focus on ways of building upon a successful history of lake improvements, whilst being able to address the new and emerging challenges and opportunities that face waterway managers.  These challenges include adapting vulnerable lakeside communities to the threats posed by sea level rise and other coastal hazards.  Opportunities include the use of innovative solutions and technology, as well as changing ways to engage and collaborate with residents and other stakeholders.  The presentation will also present the key learnings and underlying philosophies that have contributed to making Lake Macquarie a healthy waterway which remains central to the lives of the local community
In 2012, Australian state and federal governments agreed to a Murray-Darling Basin Plan to increase environmental flows by 2,750 billion litres per year (GL/yr) on average to restore the ecological health of the river system. A key element of the environmental and socio-economic trade off was a “Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism” (SDLAM) that purports to conserve the same or more freshwater biodiversity with less water. In 2018 the governments agreed to spend AUD $1.1 billion on 36 SDLAM projects that would see environmental water recovery reduced by 605 GL/yr (-22%). As global water scarcity increases, this major Australian program may have important lessons for environmental water demand management.

This research focussed on the identifying the extent to which SDLAM projects are consistent with the objectives of the Basin Plan and its authorising Commonwealth Water Act. First, government literature was analyzed to establish the overarching purposes of the SDLAM projects, both from a legal perspective and from a historical to current discourse. Secondly, two case studies were used to assess the nine Victorian ‘supply’ projects, also known as ’environmental works and measures’, that use infrastructure to pond water on floodplain wetlands. The first case study examined the extent of areas to be inundated against conservation targets. The second case study compared the environmental flow targets proposed by the projects with stream flow indicators of the Basin Plan. We found that there was: a) divergent views among governments as to the purposes of the SDLAM projects, and b) substantial differences between the environmental watering enabled by the projects versus the Basin Plan.

Our findings suggest that the beguiling notion that wetlands can be conserved with less water requires more rigorous attention to defining the objectives and ecological targets if the concept is to be more than a convenient political compromise.

Within just 14 days of the India’s COVID-19 lockdown halting industries and factories, the quality of water flowing down the Yamuna River through Delhi improved by up to a third. This presentation explores the rapid recovery of India’s rivers during the COVID-19 lockdown, with a focus on the Yamuna River, and explores the implications for future river rejuvenation initiatives in the country. 

After the Indian Prime Minister announced a 21-day national lockdown on 24 March this year, there were numerous anecdotal reports in the Indian media and social media on apparent rapid improvements in water quality of the Yamuna River. Major newspapers all reported on people noticing surprising improvements in the river. 

To test these anecdotal observations we analyzed data from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee at nine sites along the Yamuna River to understand the change in water quality in three phases – before (16 March 2020), during (6 April 2020) and after (2 June 2020) lockdown. The analysis shows that two weeks into the lockdown there was significant improvements in water quality (measured using a Water Quality Index, WQI) ranging from 13% to 62%. However, the water quality had deteriorated again one month after lockdown finished, the WQI had decreased by about 37%. This suggests that the lockdown conditions improved water quality in the Yamuna River. 

How can India and other countries capitalise on and learn from the environmental benefits of the pandemic lockdown? The apparent improvement in water quality in the Yamuna River shows how quickly river systems can start to recover when pollution inflows are stopped or dramatically reduced. The rapid change within a short span of two weeks provides an insight into what is possible if pollution loads can be reduced, such as through regulation and enforcement or treatment with natured based approaches such as wetlands.

Keeping river education relevant to students and families without the traditional in-person, place-based approaches was challenged by the pandemic. The San Antonio River Authority’s environmental education program moved from a solid and successful place-based and nature-based outside program serving approximately 8,000 students, teachers, and families annually, to the unexpected 90 degree turn to creating online content with no existing framework for obtaining the same engagement numbers. 

This presentation walks the audience through the comprehensive strategy and implementation of launching an online environmental education program called RIVER CAMP! during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The creation of engaging online environmental and watershed education content had two objectives: First, content was to display empathy for our collective situation with COVID-19. Second, content was to provide relevant and tangible ways for children and their parents to engage with nature and the stewardship of their watershed from their homes and neighborhoods.  The presentation will explain and demonstrate how these objectives were tackled. 

Qualitative and quantitative data will be presented with interpretations of lessons learned. Examples of the challenges and practices implemented for improving equity and inclusion will be addressed. A 10-minute session will open the floor to share best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic that may continue to be best practices despite the (hopeful) conclusion of the outbreak and return to outdoor education. 

The Local Authority Waters Programme is a shared service for all Local Authorities in the Republic of Ireland, working with local communities, relevant stakeholders including industry and state agencies to develop and implement River Basin Management Plans in Ireland, as required under the EU Water Framework Directive. This involves a multidisciplinary approach to integrated catchment management, from agency networking and coordination, community outreach and animation, citizen science, river restoration to promoting good environmental stewardship among all stakeholders including the public. 
The Covid 19 pandemic in 2020 has brought huge challenges to how we engage people in water stewardship as national health guidelines have introduced restrictions on peoples' movements including face to face meetings. Engaging people through virtual meetings etc, is limited when it comes to discussing or connecting communities to their local water bodies or relevant projects. Continuous engagement with local communities is a key objective of LAWPRO's role. 

The Stories from the Waterside initiative was launched to  engage communities and get their local waterbody stories. A partnership approach was taken with a number of different agencies broadening the focus from Water Quality to Heritage,  Fisheries, Navigation and Folklore. Data where relevant was mined from the public responses with a view to informing both the Water Framework Directive and other thematic areas. The initiative proved to be a success with very positive feedback from both the public and the agencies involved. The experience and learnings from the exercise are presented and demonstrate a novel but simple approach as we adjust and adapt to the challenges placed on  public engagement by the Covid 19 pandemic.
The regulatory framework for working in and near waterways and wetlands in Queensland includes both historic legacies and more recent perverse disincentives. The presentation provides a brief history of river improvement in Queensland and how it went ‘off course’ at the turn of the millennium.
Session - - 60.0 mins - Murray-Darling
Session - - 60.0 mins - Plenary Room
Session - - 30.0 mins - Plenary Room
Session - - 60.0 mins -
Join us for a fun Trivia night with your fellow delegates! The one hour Trivia session will be held in Remo, so grab a drink, take a seat, and get ready to have your river knowledge tested.

Remo is an online networking tool where you can pick and choose which table you sit on. Form a team with some friends at a table, or meet someone new by joining a table of your choice.

Date: 12 November 2020
Time: 19.00 – 20.00 AEST (Click here to use time zone calculator)

  • Maximum five people in a trivia team
  • Each member of winning team will receive a $100 AUD Gift card of their choice
  • Only Riversymposium delegates are able to participate
  • To join RiverTrivia, please ensure you have registered by 18.00 AEST, 12 November. Once registered you will receive details on how to access the event.
Register for RiverTrivia here
#23rd International Riversymposium
23rd International Riversymposium
#23rd International Riversymposium