Integrated Basin Flow Assessments:
Concepts and method development in Africa and South-east Asia
This study summarises our development and application in developing countries of a process for assessing the ecological, social and economic costs and benefits of waterresource developments, as an aid to basin planning.
During 15 years of work in Africa and Asia, the process sequentially included the whole river ecosystem and the whole flow regime in the assessment; used a multidisciplinary team and a scenario-based approach that gave equal weighting to the ecological, social, resource-economic and macro-economic costs and benefits of development; quantified or semi-quantified the costs and benefits in data-poor situations, capturing expert opinion and local wisdom as well as data; recognised that the final allocation of water for ecosystem maintenance should be a societal choice of trade-offs between resource protection and development.
Flow assessments were increasingly done at the basin rather than project level and introduced the concept and practicality of Development Space as a tool to aid basin planning.