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The development of water resources to satisfy urban water needs has had serious impacts on freshwater ecosystem integrity and on valuable ecosystem services, but positive trends are emerging that point the way toward a solution. We demonstrate this through case studies of water resource development in and around five large urban areas: Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, San Antonio, and Atlanta. Providing freshwater ecosystems with the water flows necessary to sustain their health, while meeting the other challenges of urban water management, will require greatly increased water productivity in conjunction with improvements in the degree to which planning and management take ecosystem needs into account. There is great...
ABSTRACT: Most of us are aware, or feel we are aware, of the impacts of major water resources projects on our lives. “Dam-lovers” note the life-saving flood-risk reduction and recreational benefits of a proposed reservoir, while “dam-haters” bemoan the future drowning out of the wildlife habitat of its river valley, and the recreational disbenefits to stream (as opposed to lake) fishermen. Water supply projects can often be given such a revered status, assuming the “obvious” tenet that water, air, food, and shelter are basic requirements of decent living, that the economic viability of the project may not even be assessed. Water resources planners are supposed to impartially weigh the environmental and economic...