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Healthy rivers, floodplains and wetlands support a wide range of valuable services to the society. These systems provide us freshwater, food, wood and fuel. They support primary production, nutrient cycling and soil formations. In addition, natural eco-systems regulate climate, water, extremes such as floods and droughts, and health. They also give cultural, social, spiritual and recreational benefits. However, in recent times, upstream withdrawals, hydro- projects and landuse–landcover (LU–LC) changes have greatly modified the magnitude, timing and duration of river flows. Water resources development has provided water–food–energy security to the society. It has almost eliminated famines and considerably reduced malnutrition. But at the same time, these developments have caused significant harm to the natural aquatic ecosystems. Rivers, wetlands, floodplains and estuaries are the world’s most threatened ecosystems these days.
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