Ecosystems in law and policy:
History and detail of the South African water policy on aquatic ecosystems - "Moving towards sustainability - The ecological Reserve and its role in implementation of South Africa’s water policy" - Heather MacKay.
South African Water Policy
South African Water Act (particularly Chapter 3)
The recent EU Framework Directive on Water (Directive 2000/60/EC), which includes a detailed classification system for water resources, based on ecological condition
The Murray-Darling Basin (Australia) Commission’s Cap on river diversions in order to protect the riverine environment
The South Australia Water Plan, which goes into some detail on the proposed management of water for aquatic ecosystems
A manual has recently been published in South Africa on the Building Block Methodology, a holistic methodology for determination of the water quantity requirements of aquatic ecosystems. (King, Tharme & de Villiers 2000. Environmental Flow Assessments for Rivers: Manual for the Building Block Methodology. Water Research Commission Report No.TT131/00). A very useful review has also been published by the Water Research Commission (Tharme, 1996. Review of international methodologies for the quantification of the instream flow requirements of rivers. Draft report to the Water Research Commission, Pretoria). Both documents are available on request from the Water Research Commission http://www.wrc.org.za
See also the South African Water Research Commission’s reports page for a list of other recent publications on water for ecosystems.
The Department of Water Affairs in South Africa published Version 1.0 of its Resource Directed Measures for Protection of Water Resources, which includes methods for determination of the water requirements of riverine ecosystems, wetland ecosystems, estuarine ecosystems and the groundwater component of these.
RHP logoRecently, work has been undertaken within the River Health Programme (South Africa) to develop indices for measuring aquatic ecosystem responses to changes in flow and water quality http://www.csir.co.za/rhp/index.html