Federal Rivers
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Federal Rivers

Managing Water in Multi-Layered Political Systems

Edited by Dustin E. Garrick, George R.M. Anderson, Daniel Connell and Jamie Pittock

This groundbreaking book provides a comparative perspective on water and federalism across multiple countries. Through a collection of case studies, this book explores the water management experiences and lessons learned in ten federal countries and China. The territorial division of power in federations, plus the interconnected politics at the national and regional levels, present a classic governance test for waters shared across multiple political jurisdictions. This is increasingly important as democratic transitions have introduced or invigorated federalism across diverse contexts affecting more than 300 major river basins, including over half of the world’s international rivers.
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Chapter 2: Climate adaptation in river management in a post-stationary world

Managing Water in Multi-Layered Political Systems

Jamie Pittock


Hectare for hectare (acre for acre) the worldís freshwater ecosystems have a greater diversity of flora and fauna compared to any other biome (Dudgeon et al., 2006; MEA, 2005). The worldís rivers are also the centre of human life: the centre of most major cities and the valleys where agriculture has taken root in support of ever larger populations (Richter et al., 2010; Vorosmarty et al., 2010). Groundwater systems are also of significance for biodiversity and water supply for people but are not considered further in this chapter on rivers. Because it is central to humanity, the freshwater realm is also more threatened than any other part of our environment. In 2005 the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA, 2005) concluded that freshwaters have more threatened species per unit area. Two ecosystem services were declared over-exploited: consumption of water and of wild-capture fish from freshwater and marine systems. Further, despite promises to establish ecologically representative reserve systems by national governments under the Convention on Biological Diversity and Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, less extensive protected areas have been established for freshwater and marine ecosystems (MEA, 2005; Pittock et al., 2008). The assessment goes on to say: ëThe most important direct drivers of change in ecosystems are habitat change (land use change and physical modification of rivers or water withdrawal from rivers), overexploitation, invasive alien species, pollution, and climate change. These direct drivers are synergisticí (MEA, 2005: 27).

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