Kashif Shaad

Kashif Shaad

Kashif Shaad, Singapore

Dr Kashif Shaad has been working on the development of the Freshwater Health Index tool for Conservation International as the technical lead. He concluded his doctoral research in Environmental Engineering from ETH Zurich in 2015, under which he developed eco-hydraulic models for surface-groundwater interaction in modified river reaches. He also holds a Masters in Hydroinformatics and his research interests include hydraulic/hydrological informatic tool development and application, ecosystem services, groundwater dynamics and emergent pollutants.

Presentation Title: Communicating Freshwater Heath to facilitate IRBM – Experiences from Dongjiang and Mekong River basins.

Using a social-ecological framework as a basis for managing a freshwater system, we have developed and applied a composite indicator system on the Dongjiang basin (tributary of the Pearl River System) and 3S tributaries of the Mekong basin. Freshwater systems and the services they provide are influenced by multiple variables operating at different scales; different jurisdictional and departmental priorities and limits to technical knowledge. This can lead to fragmented and uncoordinated river basin management. A robust conceptual model of the freshwater social-ecological system is required that can help comprehensively assess ecosystem functions, ecosystem services and beneficiaries while being cognizant of the linkages and tradeoffs between the components. We develop a framework that attempts to articulate human demands for water-related services, the effects of these demands on freshwater ecosystems, and the role that water governance plays in balancing tradeoffs amongst services, beneficiaries, and ecosystem needs. Reflecting this, the composite indicator system has three components of freshwater health: Ecosystem Vitality, Ecosystem Services, and Governance & Stakeholders, each with a set of indicators and sub-indicators (the Freshwater Health Index).
We share our initial results as well as our experience engaging stakeholders from the basins in the process of applying the indicator system. This includes their interpretation of the indicator values, their perception of links between the three components, and their weighted preferences for the various indicators. We also use the Index to explore synergies and the multi-dimensional impacts climate change, land use change, and infrastructure development scenarios for the basins.

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