The International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM) and USAID organized an Environmental Flow Assessment (EFA) Workshop January 20-22, 2015 at the USAID Washington Learning Center in Arlington, VA. There were 23 participants from USAID, the State Department and other US agencies who may need to help develop scopes of work for EFAs within their lines of work.
The term EFA describes the quantity, timing, and quality of water flows required to sustain freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and the human livelihoods and well-being that depend on these ecosystems. The primary purpose of the workshop was to introduce tools, methods, and approaches for conducting EFAs within a variety of contexts.
During the workshop, participants built their skills at developing a scope of work for assistance in developing and implementing an EFA. They were also encouraged to share their own experiences related to EFAs and to explore how they might be integrated into their current and future projects. Participants were armed with a toolkit of information and more importantly, a new level of familiarity with this tool for informing both structural and non-structural water resource allocation decisions in the field.
As an outcome of this workshop, there are plans underway for the course material and presentations to be made available for the broader scientific, engineering and international development community. A brief guidance document is also being created to aid individuals with questions about EFAs, or who are considering recommending one in conjunction with their projects.
The instructors—many of which had decades of EFA experience—included Gerry Galloway, University of Maryland and Natural Heritage Institute; Michael McClain, UNESCO Institute for Water Education (UNESCO IHE); Brian Richter, Sustainable Waters and The Nature Conservancy; and Guillermo Mendoza and Andrea Carson of the Institute for Water Resources’ (IWR), National Capitol Region. John Hickey of IWR’s Hydrologic Engineering Center in Davis, California provided course materials on modeling. The workshop was conceived and organized by Richard Volk of USAID and Will Logan of IWR.