FutureWater supports Fiera Comox in its due diligence process for the acquisition of a vertically integrated tree-fruit operation in North Spain. Particularly, FutureWater addresses an overall assessment of the most important water-related factors of risk that may control the current and medium-term feasibility of the fruit orchard farming system of interest. The application of FutureWater’s approach applies a multicriteria analysis and allows to qualify the levels of risk for each key factor analyzed.

FutureWater’s approach rests on: 1) the collection and analysis of data retrieved from documents, large datasets, and in-situ field inspections and stakeholder interviews, and 2) the scoring of the risks previously identified based on a final expert judgment.

Key sources of information for this risk screening included:

  • Existing documentation, reports, plans, and local legislation that may affect the access to water for irrigation
  • Existing and publicly accessible spatial and GIS data, including satellite imagery and thematic datasets available through national and regional agencies and platforms (Ebro River Basin Authority, National Infrastructure of Geospatial Data, Spanish Information System of Water)
  • Meteorological data (rainfall and temperature) from nearby weather stations
  • Groundwater level from the Spanish National Ministry of Environment.
  • Private data and documents generated by clients and stakeholders through personal and follow-up communications with farmer

Key variables analyzed and evaluated at the district and regional scales, to the extent relevant to the farm, included:

  • Water availability of surface and groundwater resources. For groundwater, a trend analysis of water levels, and first-order assessment of quality constraints and risks is included.
  • Impacts of climate change on water resources availability based on rainfall and temperature trends and projections for the region.
  • Water quality for irrigation purposes.
  • Potential conflicts due to competition for water in agriculture and other sectors of activity.

Legislative and policy-related factors that may affect the overall performance were also analyzed risk-by-risk.

Four factors of risk were analyzed: water availability, climate change, water quality, and water conflict. Each factor of risk was scored according to a risk matrix in which levels of probability of occurrence and impact severity were qualified based on data and expert judgement. For each factor, a risk matrix with three levels of overall risk were adopted: Low Risk (L), Moderate Risk (M), and High Risk (H)

Figure 1. Overall risk levels when probability of occurrence and impact severity are qualified.
Figure 2. Overview of risk assessment by factor.

In this particular project, the approach was implemented in four different settings located in the area.

The MRC’s State of the Basin Report (SOBR) is a flagship product of the organization and an integral part of the MRC’s strategic planning cycle. Compiled about every five years based on the available data and information, the report assesses conditions and trends within the basin and the impacts that development and use of water and related natural resources are having. The SOBR provides a statement of past trends and current conditions, and seeks to highlight and provide guidance to Member Countries on significant transboundary issues that require cooperation among basin countries to address. The SOBR 2023 is structured around the Mekong River Basin Indicator Framework, consisting of 5 dimensions: Environment, Social, Economic, Climate Change, and Cooperation.

As a longstanding collaborator of MRCS, FutureWater was engaged to support the development of the Economic and Climate Change chapters of the SOBR 2023 and perform the related activities of data analyses, advisory on data gaps and SOBR content, attractive presentation of key results, and communication with Member Countries and specialized MRCS staff to address their comments and suggestions.

 

Groundwater availability is critical to the Umbeluzi Catchment. Currently, there is a need for a simple tool that can asses the availability of resources in the ground.

This especially to asses the permits for groundwater extractions. It is expected that a simplified modelling approach can provide a trend analysis sufficient for the water authorities in Mozambique to perform assessments of the sub-surface water availability. Furthermore, the water availability will be assessed for current and future conditions, under different scenarios of climate change and demand increase.

Within the project, FutureWater will develop a groundwater model in WEAP, using the Strategic Model previously build for the Umbeluzi catchment. To this end a detailed data gathering activity will take place proceed by developing the model. We aim to validate and improve the model with measurements available of groundwater levels in the catchment. The model will be validated with the technical team of ARA-Sul. Ultimately, a dedicated training session for ARA-SUl will ensure that model operation is performed by local experts.

In our ongoing commitment to bolster the efforts of ARA-Sul in Mozambique, FutureWater recently conducted an intensive training course focusing on the application of the Strategic Water Allocation Model within the Umbeluzi Catchment area. This significant initiative entailed the utilization of the renowned Water Evaluation and Planning System (WEAP) model, coupled with a comprehensive update of critical information and underlying assumptions.

The primary objective of this training was to empower the dedicated professionals at ARA-Sul with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage and optimize water resources within the region. The strategic allocation of water resources is of paramount importance, especially in areas like the Umbeluzi Catchment, where water plays a pivotal role in sustaining livelihoods, ecosystems, and economic activities.

One key aspect of this training involved fine-tuning the analysis-scenarios to comprehensively assess potential bottlenecks and challenges within the water allocation system. Identifying these bottlenecks is essential for making informed decisions, developing mitigation strategies, and ensuring the sustainable utilization of water resources.

Our collaborative efforts with ARA-Sul extend beyond the training itself. We are committed to providing ongoing support and guidance to ensure the long-term success of this endeavor. Through regular follow-up activities and consultations, the technical professionals at ARA-Sul are now well-equipped to independently maintain their model and conduct the essential analyses required for informed decision-making.

More information on the training here

Training on WEAP. June 2023.

The development of the WEAP model for the Thika Chania catchment has come to a stage that it is sufficiently mature for being used over the next year to assess different management scenarios for the Water Allocation Plan. These management options can now be evaluated considering climate change impacts on water resources for different horizons, namely 2030 and 2050.

With this updated model, and the provided trainings, the Water Resources Authority of Kenya is now able to extract Climate Change data for different regions, set-up different WEAP models for different basins, and interpret the results for different time horizons.

The objective of the study is to develop a high-level climate change assessment for Georgia with a focus on water resources and the agricultural sector. The work includes an assessment of climate-related impacts on water resources, identification of priorities at a national level, and preparation of a list of climate investment priorities based on climate analytics and appropriate tools and models and prior work done in the region. The output of the study will contribute to the proposed roadmap for the CAREC Water Pillar and will feed into the ongoing formulation of the Country Partnership Strategies for Georgia. The acquired results will inform follow-up work on the CAREC Water Pillar and provide input to future ADB programming and investment in the agriculture, natural resources, and rural development (ANR) sector.

The project consists of two major outputs:

  • Output 1: Estimation of future water resources for Georgia up to 2050
    A quantitative and qualitative assessment will be undertaken using a combination of primary and secondary data and analytics. The combination of data sources will define the current state of water resources and future water demands, considering population growth and changes in sectoral demand.
  • Output 2: Identification of opportunities for water resources development
    Opportunities for water resources development will be identified based on output 1, stakeholder consultations, the mapping of activities of other development partners, and desk-based literature review.

Looking at global climate change patterns and its increased pressure on natural resources, West African countries like Ghana will be hit very hard. In particular, agriculture, which is the largest water user in Ghana, will be affected by high temperatures and changes in the variability of rainfall. This variability in climate makes crop production and yield more uncertain, as well as farm income. The periods of droughts in Ghana are getting longer and there is increased pressure on water availability from the river basins due to climate change, putting many people and farmers in risk of having too little water. Therefore in this project, we will develop and pilot in the field an innovative tool that will significantly enhance water security in Ghana by reducing the quantity of water needed for irrigation per hectare (up to about 40% less of current water use).

To support the Ghanaian farmers in making the transition to a water secure future, they expressed a need for locally adapted, climate smart irrigation technologies and innovative advice to improve their irrigation practices. To develop such a smart irrigation service, FutureWater is working together with knowledge institute TU Delft, horticulture company Holland Greentech, and social enterprise TAHMO to develop this innovative tool and implement it in the field. This smart irrigation service should be able to translate various weather parameters and data (historical but also real-time data) into crop specific irrigation advice in volumes, but also in minutes for small-scale farmers. The unique and innovative part of this smart irrigation service, called SOSIA+ (Small-scale Open source, Satellite based Irrigation Advice), will be the algorithm to provide advice on how many minutes a farmer should irrigate a specific crop – based on the combination of the TAHMO local weather data and real-time data (normally not taken into account), that will be tailor-made for small scale farmers (normally these services are only for large scale farmers while the predominant type of farmers in Ghana are small scale) and is linked to the innovative drip irrigation systems that Holland Greentech Ghana already sells to farmers (so closely linked to an existing customer base of farmers and a product).

SOSIA+ will initially focus on the city of Kumasi and the Ashanti region, targeting more than 500 farmers and a growing population of more than 4 million people that needs to be fed and are affected by the changing weather patterns and increased water demand. In the long-term, the goal is to transform the horticulture sector in Ghana towards a smart and sustainable practice. By developing the Irrigation Advisory Tool, we can prevent over-irrigation to reduce water use and hence work towards the desired situation of sustainable food production and water security. This project will focus on gathering better weather information, piloting an innovative irrigation tool that is linked to a drip irrigation system to reduce water losses and implement this in the field with lead farmers. This will change the current traditional practices of the farmers leading to less water and energy losses, hence increasing availability of water and the sustainability of food production in light of climate change.

Earlier this year FutureWater and Holland Greentech developed a very first draft of the irrigation advisory application ‘SOSIA’ for Rwanda, with promising results. As one of the main problems in many African countries is that there is no ground network of weather stations, making it very difficult to efficiently manage water resources or generate weather forecasts that are localised and essential for food production, the initial SOSIA project used satellite remote sensing data to overcome this problem. But given the rapidly changing weather patterns due to climate change, the collection of ground data is also essential. This is why TAHMO has been set-up to develop a dense network of weather stations all over Africa and using their data will be very valuable to use for the irrigation tool.

The video below gives a brief summary of the tool created in the previous SOSIA project.

With a target to increase the gross domestic product from $70 billion in 2021 to $160 billion by 2030, the Government of Uzbekistan is taking steps to ensure that it will be able to meet the spike in electricity demand which is expected to double by 2030. Initiatives include installing an additional 17 gigawatts capacity to the existing available capacity of 12.9 GW, out of which 8 GW will be from renewable energy projects. Currently, the distribution system in Uzbekistan comprises of more than 260,000 kilometers of 0.4-110 kV networks, 1,655 substations and more than 86,000 transformer points. However, more than 50% of the lines have been operational for 30 years and 30% of the substation transformers are in dire need of rehabilitation. Therefore, the Asian Development Bank is working closely with the Joint Stock Company Regional Electric Power Networks (JSC REPN) to: i) Rehabilitate and modernize the distribution substations, ii) Rehabilitate associated distribution lines, and iii) Enhance the institutional capacity for financial sustainability and climate resiliency.

These rehabilitation efforts will also take into account and address the growing impacts of climate change in the region. For this, FutureWater has been assigned to carry out a climate risk and adaptation assessment (CRA). FutureWater will make use of state-of-the-art downscaled Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) ensembles, and other relevant hazards and local information to develop this CRA. Insights from the CRA will be used to devise adaptation strategies. Additionally, FutureWater will be reviewing the existing meteorological monitoring network and recommending additional potential monitoring sites for improved surveillance in the country. To further assist the Government of Uzbekistan actualize its second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) agenda which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of GDP by 35% (compared to the level in 2010), by the year 2030, FutureWater will also develop a GHG account and prepare a Paris Agreement alignment assessment.

The inital Climate Risk Assessment (CRA) by FutureWater in 2021 for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) identified the need for a detailed CRA for the DKSHEP to understand the risk posed by the changing climate on hydropower and the environment. Therefore, the objective of this Climate Risk and Adaptation Assessment (CRA) is to assess the vulnerability of the project components to future climate change and recommend adaptation options for climate-proofing the design. This CRA covers both type 2 adaptation, related to system change and resilience building, as well as type 1 adaptation related to climate-proofing. FutureWater will support ADB to ensure that the project will adequately address climate change mitigation and adaptation in accordance with ADB’s requirements.

FutureWater will make use of state-of-the-art downscaled Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) ensembles, and other relevant hazards and local information to develop this CRA. Insights from the CRA will be used to devise adaptation strategies. FutureWater will also ensure climate resilience measures are incorporated into the detailed design and environmental management planning before finalizing the climate change risk assessment. Together with the client’s engineering and safeguards team (Nepal Electricity Authority), FutureWater will ensure that the detailed design and environmental management plans incorporate all other recommended climate resilience measures and that their implementation is sufficiently detailed including bioengineering techniques, nature-based solutions, and an early warning system. FutureWater will collate the information and work closely with the national geological and GLOF consultants to review all available options for (i) sediment management plan, (ii) upstream catchment management plan, and (iii) emergency preparedness and response plan. FutureWater will provide several capacity-building sessions to the project team on the findings of the initial CRA, and the potential options for climate resilience measures to incorporate in the project design and operation to address the risks identified. Moreover, this project will develop a GHG account and prepare SARD climate change screening and Paris Agreement alignment assessment.

Over the last decades, efficient water resources management has been an important element of EU’s water policies, a topic that is addressed with renewed attention in the revised 2021 EU Adaptation Strategy, which lists the need for a knowledge-based approach towards water-saving technologies and instruments such as efficient water resources allocation. The IPCC special report on oceans and the cryosphere in a changing climate (2019) highlights the combination of water governance and climate risks as potential reasons for tension over scarce water resources within and across borders, notably competing demands between hydropower and irrigation, in transboundary glacier- and snow-fed river basins in Central Asia.

WE-ACT’s innovative approach consists of two complementary innovation actions: the first is the development of a data chain for a reliable water information system, which in turn enables the second, namely design and roll-out of a decision support system for water allocation. The data chain for the reliable water information system consists of real-time in-situ hydrometeorological and glaciological monitoring technology, modelling of the water system (including water supply and demand modelling and water footprint assessments) and glacier mass balance, data warehouse technology and machine learning. The roll-out of the DSS for climate-risk informed water allocation consists of stakeholder and institutional analyses, water valuation methods, the setup of the water information system to allow for a user-friendly interface, development of water allocation use cases, and feedback on water use through national policy dialogues.

The work of FutureWater within the WE-ACT study will focus on estimating the water demand and water footprints of the different users and activities within the Syr Darya river basin. Therefore, the effects of water allocation on water footprints, unmet water demand and environmental flow violations will be evaluated using a set of hydrological models such as SPHY and Water Allocation models (WEAP). This will be done for both the status quo and future scenarios.

For more information you can visit the WE-ACT project website.