Engineered rivers in arid lands: Searching for sustainability in theory and practice
Beginning in the early 20th century and progressing rapidly since the 1950s, large-scale water works have created engineered rivers. In dry-land basins, on which we focus, they control flooding and provide water and energy to farms, cities and industry. Yet, they face numerous challenges. In 2013 we formed an interdisciplinary team to study future conditions of ten rivers worldwide. In this paper, we present the methodology and interim results for two of our basins, the Rio Grande and the Euphrates-Tigris. We conclude with a new definition for the sustainability of engineered rivers in arid lands, using dependable reservoir yield under drought conditions as the central indicator.