Freshwater management and climate change adaptation: Experiences from the central Yangtze in China
The Yangtze is the largest river basin in China and home to over 400 million people. In recent history, and especially during 1950s-1970s, extensive lakes and floodplains were reclaimed as polders for agriculture and rural development. Consequently, the flood retention capacity was decreased, many lakes were disconnected from the main channel of the Yangtze by embankments and sluice gates, and eutrophication was common. It is anticipated that there will be a greater frequency of extreme floods and droughts in the basin according to climate change scenarios. WWF commenced a programme in 2002 in partnership with government agencies and local communities to reconnect three lakes (Zhangdu, Hong and Tian-e-zhou) in Hubei Province to the river by opening sluice gates seasonally and improving lake management. The resilience of the lake environment to climate change and the livelihoods of local people were enhanced. The measures assessed here highlight: (a) the need for adaptation programmes to concurrently improve livelihoods and reduce exposure to physical risks; (b) the need to build the capacity of people and institutions; and (c) the value of decentralized adaptation as compared with new infrastructure investments.
- Case ID: INT-134-1
- Intervention type: Combination
- Intervention description:
WWF commenced a programme in 2002 in partnership with government agencies and local communities to reconnect three lakes (Zhangdu, Hong and Tian-e-zhou) in Hubei Province
Restoration: restoring the seasonal eco- hydrological connections between the lakes and the Yangtze River...reconnect lakes in Hubei province to the Yangtze River by opening the embankment sluice gates to facilitate more sustainable lake management....removal or modification of related illegal and une- conomical aquaculture facilities in the lakes. The reconnection restored the natural seasonal flood- ing
Management: promoting community-based and wise use of wetlands ... and inte- grating the management network of protected areas of wetlands at both basin and national levels.
- Landscape/sea scape ecosystem management:
|Climate change impacts
|Effect of Nbs on CCI
|effect on vulnerability to downstream flooding measured by change in floodwater storage capacity
- Approach implemented in the field:
- Specific location:
three lakes: Zhangdu (40 km2), Hong (348 km2) and Tian-e-zhou (20 km2) connected to the Yangtze River
- Country: China
- Habitat/Biome type: Ponds and lakes |
- Issue specific term: Community-based (general)
- Notes on intervention effectivness: this is a secondary assessment - no specific methodology outline, paper reports an overview of the project and lessons learned from an assessment previously conducted, underpinned by an analytical framework to analyze case studies.
it uses data "based on unpublished project data from WWF China’s Wuhan Project Office, project partners (especially local government) or contained in an internal programme assessment report (D’Cruz and Yu, 2006)"
China’s Wuhan Project Office, project partners (especially local government) or contained in an internal programme assessment report (D’Cruz and Yu, 2006)China’s Wuhan Project Office, project partners (especially local government) or contained in an internal programme assessment report (D’Cruz and Yu, 2006)
effectiveness determined by assessing change from baseline
note however, although they measure increase in floodwater storage capacity, the impact on downstream flooding has not yet been explicitly tested "Altogether, the approximately 448 km2 of wet- lands now reconnected to the Yangtze River can store up to 285 million m3 of floodwaters, redu- cing vulnerability in downstream areas, although this has not yet been tested in practice."
- Is the assessment original?: No
- Broadtype of intervention considered:
- Compare effectivness?: No
- Compared to the non-NBS approach:
- Report greenhouse gas mitigation?: No
- Impacts on GHG:
- Assess outcomes of the intervention on natural ecosystems: Yes
- Impacts for the ecosystem:
- Ecosystem measures: Area of restored habitat: "The programme has restored and protected a total of over 400 km2 wetland."
Anecdotal reports of ecological condition: "The ecological condition of the wetlands has greatly improved. Taking Hong Lake as an example, the aquatic vegetation has been restored"
Reports on wildlife population size: "many water bird species have returned to the lake, including the endangered oriental white stork that abandoned the lake 11 years before" ... "Wildlife diversity and the population of many species have increased. Twelve migratory fish species returned to the lakes. Hong Lake supported only 100 herons and egrets when pol- luted, but after restoration 45,000 wintering water birds and 20,000 breeding birds returned." ... "Tian-e-zhou Lake is the site of the managed popu- lations of the threatened Pe`re David’s Deer and the Yangtze finless porpoise, with the latter’s population growing from 24 to 40. Surprisingly, the ice fish (Pseudolaubuca engraulis) reappeared after a 20-year absence."
- Assess outcomes of the intervention on people: Yes
- Impacts for people:
- People measures: no specific methodology outline, paper reports an overview of the project and lessons learned from an assessment previously conducted, underpinned by an analytical framework to analyze case studies. They specifically aim to understand impact on the livelihoods of local communities
Fishery production: "fishery production in 2005 increased by more than 17%" ... "restored the seasonal migration of fish and introduced wild fish fry from the river, which resulted in the increased catch. For example, opening the sluice gate at the Zhangdu Lake in June 2005 introduced about 5.26 million fry. Six months later, the catch increased by 17.33% compared to that in the previous year. Similarly, the catch increased by 15% in the Baidang Lake."
Drinking water: "Pollution levels fell at Hong Lake from national pollution level IV (fit for agricultural use only) to II (drinkable) on China’s five-point scale"
- Considers economic costs: No
- Economic appraisal conducted: No
- Economic appraisal described:
- Economic costs of alternative considered: No
- Compared to an alternative:
- Type of data:
- Is it experimental: No
- Experimental evalution done:
- Non-experimental evalution done:
Empirical case study
- Study is systematic: