Environmental Flows Policy Guide

Sky Island Alliance and University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center have worked together since 2016 to promote dialogue, understanding, and innovation among water managers, natural resources managers, and community groups toward securing environmental flows for water-dependent natural areas. Two critical threats to healthy ecosystems are the lack of policy tools necessary to protect water at its source and the lack of effective mechanisms for reinvesting water saved through conservation and efficiency back into natural areas. To develop these tools and mechanisms, we must effectively link regional discussions about water management with conservation and strategies to protect water dependent ecosystems and watersheds.

This policy guide outlines available planning and management options for ensuring environmental flows by exploring the status of policies and regulations, highlighting successful examples of environmental flows projects, showcasing available tools for local decision making, and identifying future pathways available to include natural areas alongside human uses in water management.