The Yellow River Delta Environmental Flow Study (YRD-EFS) is an important step towards defining the required amount of water needed for sustainable development of the Yellow River Delta (YRD), focusing in first instance on the nature reserves in the area.
The study has an international exposure because the YRD is an acknowledged wetland area offering breeding, wintering and stop-over places for many migratory birds on the east-Asian migration routes, among which very rare species like the red-hooded crane and the Saunder's gull. Low flow in the Yellow River is a major threat of the wetlands, among others causing salinisation of valuable freshwater habitats.
The study focuses on the balanced water allocation for sustainable development and nature protection, and together with the stakeholder community in the area realistic scenarios for future development of the area will be prepared.
The study will result in, a documented survey of the relevant aspects of environmental flow related to the water quality and biodiversity in the wetland area of the Delta and an assessment of the required flow under various scenarios of land use development including an assessment of environmental flow of the wetland of the Delta emphasis on the nature reserve will be defined. Management requirements and (no-regret) measures to achieve this flow will also be defined. Furthermore essential preconditions will be formulated to achieve the objective of a sustainable wetland area, specifically addressing the role of the different stakeholders in the Delta. Training forms a significant part of the activities and will enhance the institutional capacity needed in the field of integrated water resources management.
The study approach is built upon the policy analysis methodology, which defines three distinct phases: the diagnosis phase, the development phase and the evaluation phase. The study starts with an intensive Inception Workshop to jointly carry out the diagnosis of the problems, and to define the boundary conditions and approach of the study in detail. In seven well-defined work packages activities will be executed and instruments (models) developed that are necessary to evaluate different strategies for water use under several land use scenarios.