iDE launch new Basin Report Card model

WWF and UMCES implementing workshops are part of the report card process © WWF

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Integration and Application Network of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science (UMCESIAN) have officially launched their basin report card initiative, which will develop a process for creating fast, inexpensive, locally driven, and credible report cards about basin health around the world.
“In addition to minimising the cost to engage outside parties to undertake the development of report cards, the new model will provide options to source data from, for example global data sets, that groups may not have been aware existed and/or had difficulty accessing,” Simon Costanzo, Science Integrator at UMCES-IAN, told The Source. “We aim to share our experience in developing report cards by developing tools, documentation and a forum that can help guide and assist groups through the process.”
Despite the proven potential of report cards, they have not yet been widely adopted, primarily because the process can be expensive, time-consuming and reliant on existing data. UMCES-IAN and WWF are seeking to remove these barriers and create a Basin Report Card model that will be simple to implement in places with limited resources, where such tools and measurements are often most needed.
“Around the world, people depend on freshwater for everything, from basic needs to comforts and luxuries, and yet our knowledge of this resource is appallingly poor,” said Sarah Freeman, Senior Water Resources Engineer at WWF. “In consequence, decisions affecting freshwater basins can be uninformed or ad-hoc, and often made behind closed doors. Our ground-up project has the potential to completely shift the status quo, and bring knowledge to all river basin users; empowering local communities, governments, and businesses to make informed choices for the health of the basin.”
Costanzo believes it is imperative for the environment that the world improves its knowledge and understanding of freshwater basins.
“How can we not put an emphasis on this when these systems provide the resource [fresh water] that is essential for life?” he said. “Better knowledge and understanding of freshwater basins will lead to better basin management and investment, which in turn will lead to better environmental health that ultimately improves our ability to develop as a society.”