alexa Environmental Flows, Political Dams

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Environmental Flows, Political Dams

In 2005, a group of water resource experts issued a statement cajoling decision-makers to privilege the needs of nature in their water management strategies. In effect, their Brisbane Declaration popularized the idea of environmental flows, a concept that focuses attention on the quantity, quality and timing of water required to sustain a dependent ecosystem. In this essay I ask how well this concept has held up against the political pressures of popularity. To this end, I examine the various meanings inscribed on the concept of environmental flows as it has traveled across time and space. My findings uncover a few observations regarding the need for greater attentiveness to concept management. The findings also reveal a few surprising revelations about the forces at work behind conceptual alteration and the prospects of militating against these forces in our current global condition of heightened economic anxiety.

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