09 Jun Chris Gippel
Posted at 16:41h
Dr Chris Gippel is Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, and a private consultant. He earned his PhD in 1989 from the Department of Geography and Oceanography, University College, University of New South Wales, and in the past three years, has been awarded fellowships from the Chinese Central People’s Government four times, facilitating sabbaticals to Changjiang Water Resources Protection Institute and Wuhan University.
Chris is known for his contribution to the theory and practice of large wood management, use of turbidity as a surrogate for suspended sediment, and environmental flow assessment. His current interests include assessment of environmental flow requirements, assessment of river and lake health, geomorphological impact assessment, hydrological prediction, and hydraulic modelling for ecological and geomorphological objectives. Chris has contributed to more than 30 environmental flow assessments, including the Yellow River, China, the Indus River, Pakistan and the Rio Ocoña, Peru. He helped develop the Victorian methodology for assessment of the flow needs of estuaries, and recently prepared guidelines for undertaking environmental flow assessment for hydropower development in Laos, and contributed to development of an environmental flow methodology for use in Peru.
Keynote presentation: The international transfer of environmental flow methods
Environmental flow methodologies were first developed in North America in the 1970s, in response to growing exploitation of water resources and apparent declines in ecosystem health. In recent times, diversion of water from rivers has generally slowed or declined in economically developed countries, partly because of community desire to reverse poor river health. In contrast, water resources development is rapidly expanding in some economically developing countries. In situations where water resources are fully or over-utilised, environmental flow assessment is about justifying return of water to the ecosystem, while assessments done for new developments are about determining an appropriate share of the flow to set aside for maintenance of ecosystems and, indirectly, the communities that depend on healthy ecosystems for their livelihoods. It is common practice in developing countries to borrow environmental flow methodologies created in developed countries under quite different circumstances. The social and cultural context of this technology transfer is relevant to which methods are recommended and chosen, and how they are interpreted. This process will ultimately condition the future health of aquatic ecosystems and the livelihoods that depend on healthy ecosystems. This question is explored through reflection on personal experiences from Australia, China, Lao PDR, Pakistan and Peru.
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