To achieve the objectives the project has a technical component and stakeholder engagement component. On the technical side, hydrological models will be updated and validated. Climate change scenarios will be used as inputs for the testing of adaptation strategies within the Limpopo Basin. The adaptation include traditional grey infrastructure and additionally nature based solutions. The benefits analysis of the adaptation measure will cover macro and micro socio-economical benefits.

The results of this study will then be used to inform the development of a first-generation Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) for the Limpopo River Basin (LRB). Through this, the individual basin countries will agree on a set of transboundary development priorities for the basin, which will guide both transboundary and national investments in the future, through a Strategic Action Plan (SAP) and National Action Plans (NAPs).

The latest Catch and Culture newsletter (pages 38-41), published by the Mekong River Commission Secretariat, features the pilot results of a new methodology for mapping of salinity concentrations (SIM) in the Mekong Delta. The method relies solely on satellite imagery and was developed and applied by FutureWater to support the 2023 MRC State of the Basin Report (SoBR).

Results show that the average area affected by salinity levels of over 4 g/L displayed a clear increasing trend over the last 30 years. In the 2011 – 2022 dry seasons, such severely elevated levels occurred on average for an area of 4,663 km2 (close to 10% of the transboundary Mekong Delta), a figure three times higher than in 1991 – 2000 (1,506 km2). Salinity concentrations of this magnitude are known to negatively impact on agricultural production, human health, and biodiversity. Elevated salinity levels particularly occur along the coastline of the Lower Delta, on the Ca Mau Peninsula, and in the coastal zone of Kien Giang Province.

Maximum, elevated and severely elevated salinity concentrations (dry season 2021-2022)

There is an encouraging agreement between this new methodology and station measurements, which are only available for a limited number of sites in the Mekong Delta. Future applications of the SIM are expected to benefit from incorporating data from new satellite-based sensors and enhanced calibration and validation based on additional field measurements. More information about the project can be found here.

Utrecht University held the 13 Month SOS-Water General Assembly Meeting, which took place on the 17th and 18th of October. This two-day gathering included presentations on how work packages had been progressing and interesting discussions on how to move forward to meet the project’s objectives.

FutureWater actively participated in group discussions, guided by experts from EAWAG, Politecnico di Milano, and Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV). The result was the development of a robust plan that will steer our collaborative project in the upcoming weeks and months.

FutureWater is responsible for several tasks under the work package that looks to improve upon existing Earth Observation technologies for monitoring the performance of water systems. New applications will be developed and tested in the context of the SOS-Water case study basins of the Mekong and Jucar rivers.

For more information about the project, visit the official website.

Group picture at Utrecht University
Gijs Simons presenting updates on WP3

This project has received funding from European Union’s Horizon EUROPE Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement N° 101059264 (SOS-WATER).

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.

 

The issue of water scarcity is intensifying across the Asia Pacific region, posing significant challenges for sustainable agricultural production and water resources management. The Water Scarcity Program (WSP), designed by FAO-RAP and partners, aims to bring agricultural water use within sustainable limits and prepare the sector for a productive future with less water. The program aims to assess the ongoing issue of water scarcity in the region, evaluate potential management options, and assist partner countries to implement adaptive management in the agriculture water sector using innovative tools and approaches.

As part of the WSP, FutureWater will design and deliver a two-phase water accounting training program in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, respectively. The first phase of the training will primarily focus on introducing and better understanding the concept of water accounting, its components and approaches. Participants will also work with tools such as REWAS and Follow the Water (developed by FutureWater in collaboration with FAO) to conduct water accounting in agricultural systems at different scales. Through the use of these tools, participants will be able to estimate real water savings at system and basin scale, and also analyze the impact of different irrigation schemes on the overall water availability in the system. The second phase will consist of participants working on the selected basin in each country to develop a detailed water account. Given the data availability and accessibility issues in the region, the participants will learn how to access, process and analyse remotely sensed datasets using Google Earth Engine.

In addition to the trainings, FutureWater will also provide technical inputs for the regional WSP events on water scarcity and highlight the technical challenges of implemeting water accounting and allocation in south-east Asia for the WSP High Level Technical Meeting to be held in June 2024.

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.

The Kyrgyz Republic is one of the countries in Central Asia most vulnerable to land degradation and climate change impacts. Climate-related disasters and land degradation due to unsustainable land use practices already affect the rural and urban population, which depends on natural resources and critical infrastructure. The World Bank has just released a report outlining the main results of the study based on the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) conducted in the Naryn River Basin, Kyrgyz Republic. This assessment identifies degraded forest and pasture areas, considers the potential correlation between land degradation and sedimentation in hydropower reservoirs, and proposes feasible and effective landscape restoration measures for the Naryn River Basin. The study also presents several recommendations to fast-track the implementation of proposed interventions for the Naryn River Basin and scale up to other degraded areas throughout the country.

The report relies on FutureWater’s remote sensing and GIS services, which highlighted degraded areas of land across the Kyrgyz Republic and reveal where restoration interventions are possible. The identification of highly degraded areas is achieved from an innovative approach using satellite remote sensing technologies, combined with a connectivity analysis to determine sediment sourcing hotspots using the sediment delivery module of the InVEST ecosystem services model.

More information about the project can be found here and the report can be dowloaded from the World Bank website.

Los recursos hídricos en todo el mundo están sometidos a una presión cada vez mayor. Entre otros factores, el cambio climático, el aumento de la demanda de alimentos y energía y la mejora de los niveles de vida han multiplicado por seis las extracciones mundiales de agua durante el último siglo, con importantes consecuencias para la calidad y disponibilidad del agua, la salud de los ecosistemas y la biodiversidad. como estabilidad social.

Al promover y vincular modelos de sistemas hídricos con modelos de sectores como la agricultura y la energía, la biodiversidad o el transporte de sedimentos, el Proyecto SOS-Agua pretende sentar las bases para un marco de evaluación holístico de los recursos hídricos en escalas espaciales. Basado en cinco estudios de caso de cuencas fluviales en Europa y Vietnam (la cuenca del río Júcar en España, la región del Alto Danubio, los deltas de los ríos Danubio y Rin, y la cuenca del río Mekong), un equipo interdisciplinario de investigadores de diez instituciones en ocho países Desarrollar un SOS multidimensional para el agua. El marco permitirá evaluar los ciclos de retroalimentación y las compensaciones entre las diferentes dimensiones del sistema hídrico y ayudará a abordar desafíos globales, regionales y locales urgentes.

Además de ir más allá del modelado de sistemas hídricos de última generación, el proyecto desarrollará un conjunto integral de indicadores para evaluar y monitorear el desempeño ambiental, social y económico de los sistemas hídricos. Los investigadores participantes colaborarán con autoridades regionales y locales, representantes de los usuarios del agua, organizaciones no gubernamentales y ciudadanos para cocrear escenarios futuros y vías de gestión del agua. Al racionalizar la planificación hídrica en diferentes niveles, se puede garantizar que la asignación del agua entre sociedades, economías y ecosistemas sea económicamente eficiente, socialmente justa y resiliente a las crisis.

En asociación con el líder del proyecto IIASA y socios como la Universidad de Utrecht y EAWAG, FutureWater es responsable de varias tareas bajo el paquete de trabajo que busca mejorar las tecnologías de observación de la Tierra existentes para monitorear el desempeño de los sistemas de agua. Se desarrollarán y probarán nuevas aplicaciones en el contexto de las cuencas del estudio de caso SOS-Agua de los ríos Mekong y Júcar.

Para más información, visita la web del proyecto.

The Mekong River and its tributaries are critical waterways that support the economy and food supply chains of both Cambodia and Lao PDR. However, these waterways also present a significant risk. Flooding and drought events are becoming increasingly erratic, longer, and more intense as a result of the compounding effects of anthropogenic climate change. In support of the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in the Mekong River basin, appropriate data collection, integrated management of data and proper analysis are crucial as a basis for decision-making and policy development. There have been numerous efforts in data collection, analysis, and monitoring by relevant key stakeholders such as MRC, MoWRAM, NCDM and other development partners. Those systems have been developed to track climate information, provide basic data for risk-informed technical planning at the national and local level. However, data availability and the ability to contextualize information at local level remain a big challenge for Cambodia, which leads to the persistence of misinformation and misunderstanding of risks associated with living near the Mekong River and its tributaries.

In 2021, UNDP received funding from Ministry of Environment the Government of Republic of Korea for the project “Enhancing Integrated Water Management and Climate Resilience in Vulnerable Urban Areas of the Mekong River Basin”. This project looks to address gaps in data collection management and analysis, enhance institutional and technical capacity at the subnational level for integrated climate and flood risk management, enhance availability of resources for investment in water-related risk reduction, and aid the flow of risk knowledge and coordination across the borders of Cambodia and Lao PDR. Key outputs include (i) technical studies on flood propagation models, hydrometeorological disasters forecasting models, capacity assessment, and improvement of risk monitoring systems and early warning system (EWS), (ii) capacity building design for climate change risk assessments, and hazard/vulnerability mapping using open source software, and (iii) design and piloting of disaster risk management initiatives at the community level.

FutureWater was hired by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Cambodia to provide strategic and technical support to the successful delivery of Mekong urban resilience project on its current and further initiatives to promote climate risk informed integrated water resource management in the target 3S and 4P river basins in Cambodia. This includes a close collaboration with the project team to design project intervention strategies through building alignment with existing efforts and ensuringe that the project is part of a bigger system of disaster risks informed water resources management in the target river basins.

Starting on the 1st of October, 2022, the SOS-Water Project, funded under the Horizon Europe scheme, will create a holistic and participatory assessment framework of a Safe Operating Space (SOS) for the entire water resources system to inform global and regional water management policies and pathways. 

Water resources around the globe are under increasing stress. Among other factors, climate change, rising food and energy demand, and improving living standards have led to a six-fold increase in global water withdrawals over the last century, with significant consequences for water quality and availability, ecosystem health, biodiversity, as well as social stability.

The SOS-Water Project endeavours to set out the boundaries within which the Earth’s capacity to provide life-support systems for humanity is not endangered, and humanity’s capacity to adapt to environmental changes is not overburdened. Crossing such thresholds or tipping points in the complex Earth system could result in abrupt and irreversible ecological change. To safeguard a reliable and sufficient water supply for humans and ecosystems in the future, it is therefore essential to define an SOS for global water resources under changing conditions.

By advancing and linking water system models with models from sectors such as agriculture and energy, biodiversity, or sediment transport, the SOS-Water Project aims to lay the foundations for a holistic assessment framework of water resources across spatial scales. Based on five case studies of river basins in Europe and Vietnam – the Jucar River Basin in Spain, the Upper Danube region, the Danube and Rhine River deltas, and the Mekong River Basin – an interdisciplinary team of researchers from ten institutions across eight countries will develop a multidimensional SOS for water. The framework will enable the assessment of feedback loops and trade-offs between different dimensions of the water system and help address pressing global, regional, and local challenges.

In addition to going beyond state-of-the-art water systems modeling, the project will develop a comprehensive set of indicators to assess and monitor the environmental, social, and economic performance of water systems. The participating researchers will collaborate with regional and local authorities, water user representatives, non-governmental organizations, and citizens to co-create future scenarios and water management pathways. By streamlining water planning at different levels, it can be ensured that water allocation among societies, economies, and ecosystems will be economically efficient, socially fair, and resilient to shocks.

In partnership with project lead IIASA and partners such as Utrecht University and EAWAG, FutureWater is responsible for several tasks under the work package that looks to improve upon existing Earth Observation technologies for monitoring the performance of water systems. New applications will be developed and tested in the context of the SOS-Water case study basins of the Mekong and Jucar rivers. Initial ideas will be presented and discussed with the consortium during the project kickoff meeting on October 19 – 20 in Laxenburg, Austria.

This news item is a slightly modified version of the article published by SOS-Water lead organization IIASA.