The new project, with the name “Consultancy Services for Integrated Strategic Water Resources Planning and Management for Rwanda” has the general objective to develop integrated strategic water resources plans and management guidelines in order to meet Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) and Vision 2050 targets. Specifically, the assignment will:

  1. Assess and evaluate the availability and vulnerability of the country’s water resources up to around 2050 taking climate change into consideration,
  2. Formulate sustainable and environmentally friendly water resources investment plans towards the year 2050 and guidelines for green development for each 20 Level two catchments,
  3. Prepare a revised water resources policy that is in line with water security and SDG 6,
  4. Carry out a cost benefit analysis of the proposed investment plans and prepare quick win projects

In order to meet this objective five tasks have been defined. The main activities of those Tasks are:

  • Task 1 (detailed hydrological assessment) will result in the water availability per sub-catchment up to 2050. This task is technically oriented and will use available data and models as developed over the last decade by various studies.
  • Task 2 (detailed water allocation assessment) will address water needs for the various users and will result in water needs up to 2050. This task is technically oriented and will use available data and models as developed over the last decade. It is expected that this component will need major upgrades compared to previous studies.
  • Task 3 (strategic water resources conservation and development) will rely on Task 1 and Task 2 and can be considered as the scenario analysis task. Based on various projections water availability and demands will be evaluated. Focus will be on dry years and dry periods as it is known that the overall water resources are in general sufficient for Rwanda. From the evaluation, a selection of potential artificial and strategic storage development sites will be done.
  • Task 4 (strategic water resources management options) will be stakeholder driven where stakeholders include technical water experts as well. Based on the results of Task 3 various options will be discussed and most likely some refinement of Task 3 (scenario assessment) is needed. The latter might include different priority settings fine tuning of demands and refinement of strategic storage development sites.
  • Task 5 (revised national policy for water resources management) will focus on defining new policy statements and actions informed by the results from the previous tasks and developing a new water resources policy that will guide the country towards achieving the NST1 and Vision 2050 targets.

Nepal’s freshwater availability and timing are under thread by extreme temperature and precipitation variations, changing monsoon patterns, melting of ice caps and glaciers, and reduced snow cover. Some initial estimated economic cost of climate change in agriculture, hydropower and water induced disasters show a number of up to 2-3% of GDP per year by 2050.

The proposed project aims to improve landscape-scale adaptation and disaster risk management through a set of outputs:

  1. Climate-smart landscape management practices adopted and enhanced
  2. Climate-resilient rural livelihoods developed
  3. Integrated disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation approaches
  4. Capacities of local communities, regional and national decision-makers, and institutions on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction strengthened

FutureWater developed a so-called “Problem Tree” analysis for the proposed project. A Problem Tree is a helpful tool to understand the relationships between a problem, its causes, and its effects. The trunk of the tree represents the main problem, the roots the causes of the problem, and the branches the direct and indirect effects of the problem.

The project will be further developed as a so-called Climate Change Adaptation Project. More traditional development projects include also climate proofing, but focus is on development investments and adaptation is a secondary objective. Although those development projects contribute to adaptation (by helping the proposed asset or activity being financed to adapt to identified physical climate risks to the asset/activity), the primary objective of such a project is not adaptation. Climate Change Adaptation Projects are intentionally designed to enable climate adaptation of a high-risk topics. This is achieved by supporting outputs and activities that reduce the impacts of current and future expected climate risks and/or address barriers to adaptation, thereby advancing resilience. So this Climate Change Adaptation Project is meant to advance Nepal’s goal on adaptation.

FutureWater has undertaken a country wide climate risk screening as starting point for further project specific assessments. Main conclusions in the context of the program objectives were that by increased temperatures water supply will be challenged by the risk that water demand will increase and that at the same that supply will reduce by higher evaporation from catchments. Also waste water treatment will face the risk of reduced efficiencies.

India’s number of warm days and nights are expected to increase up to 70%. Water supply, wastewater treatment and urban water bodies will face same challenges as by increased temperature but more intense during those days. Similarly, heat waves are projected to be 3 to 4 times higher by the end of the twenty-first century. The result will be that water supply, waste water treatments and urban water bodies will face same challenges as under increased temperature but even more pronounced during those heat wave periods.

An increase in mean precipitation is uncertain according to various climate projection. If this increase will happen the impact on the three program components (water supply, waste water, urban water bodies) will be manageable. However, a decrease in mean precipitation is projected as well according to some climate scenarios. If this will happen then water supply will be at high risk of water shortages by a higher demand from users and a reduction in supply from rivers, streams and in the longer run from groundwater. An increase in daily precipitation extremes is quite likely to happen according to most climate scenario. Risk of additional flooding will increase.

The analysis concluded that since the location where projects will be implemented in the context of this program has to be defined yet, only generic conclusions relevant for the entire country could be provided. It was highly advised that for each specific project that will be implemented a detailed Climate Risk Assessment has to be undertaken.

The study will focus on selection of key traded crops between the EU and Africa and their key producing regions. The tasks will include overall analysis of current practices and the background in the regions, determination of key sensitive parameters in order to select key crops and food products and map hotspot regions. In addition, project team will assess climate risks for these hotspots on key crops and food products and link these risks with the importing countries. Climate risks will be assessed by identifying the multiple climate sensitivities on the food systems in each region, assessing changes predicted by a CMIP6 (latest) climate model ensemble on key agriculture-related climate indices, and analysing impacts on production-related indices, distinguishing between rainfed and irrigated production systems. It will be focused on country specific case studies in each partner country. The impacts of climate change on trade patterns will be evaluated to assess the carbon- and water footprints and virtual water profiles of key traded commodities of these countries. At the end, the project team will focus on policy relevance and assessment of adaptation strategies and identify interventions that will be needed, at which point in the system, and from which sector (or actor) is of interest.

The outcomes of CREATE will be used to increase awareness of the risks that climate change poses to the agro-food trade and the broader economy at large. They can contribute to efforts by the governments (macro-scale), the communities (meso-scale), as well as relevant agricultural producers (micro scale) in the case study countries, by providing essential information for promoting actions towards mitigating the negative consequences of climate change on agro-food trade.

The objectives of this climate risk assessment for the Li River in China is to assess current flood risk and future flood risk in the Li river basin in China. With an average of 1800 mm annual total rainfall, floods are severe and frequent in the region. Additionally to rainfall, severe floods in are often related to discharges from upstream reservoirs

Given the fact that this area is data scarce, global datasets with climatic data (ERA5-Land), soil parameters (HiHydroSoil) and land cover (Copernicus) were used to feed a hydrological HEC-HMS model to calculate the discharge for the extreme event of June 2020. Based on measured water levels and discharge, it was possible to develop rating curves and with these rating curves, it was possible to estimate water levels in the river for current (validation) and future conditions. This analysis served as input for the full climate risk assessment,  in which possible interventions were proposed to reduce flood risk in the future.

The goal of the Asian Development Bank project ‘Renewable Energy for Climate Resilience’ in Bhutan is to diversify Bhutan’s energy portfolio. Bhutan’s power sector almost exclusively relies on hydropower generation. Hydropower, however, is vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters caused by climate change. The first deployment of non-hydro renewables at utility scale in Bhutan will be the first step to diversify the power generation portfolio, increase the resilience against severe weather events such as droughts, and complement the hydropower generation profile during the dry season. Other renewable energy resources such as solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind can complement hydropower in forming a more diversified electricity generation portfolio, which is, in healthy mix, resilient to changes in seasonal weather patterns and weather extremes that can adversely affect power supply.

Within this project ADB develops two solar and one wind plant. FutureWater has undertaken a Climate Risk and Adaptation assessment (CRA) for these power plants, with a two-fold objective:

  1. Validate the underlying rationale for diversification of Bhutan’s energy generation portfolio. The rationale is that more unreliable flows under climate change adversely affect the hydropower generation, in particular in the low flow season outside the monsoon season. This are the seasons with high potential for solar and wind energy, under the current climate conditions. The diversification of Bhutan’s energy generation portfolio is considered as type 2 adaptation, related to system change and resilience building in the climate change context.
  2. Assess the vulnerability of the project components to future climate change and recommend adaptation options for climate-proofing of the design. This is considered as type 1 adaptation, related to climate proofing.

The rationale for diversification is related to the expectation that climate change impacts on the cryosphere and hydrology in Bhutan will lead to less reliable flows, in particular outside the monsoon season. This will make hydropower a less reliable source of energy, which may not be sufficient during the dry season. During these periods outside the monsoon season, the climate in Bhutan is characterized by clear skies and daily patterns of wind. This intuitively makes solar and wind suitable energy sources to complement hydropower.

The CRA concludes that this rationale holds when validated with future scenarios of climate change and hydrological changes. These project more erratic flows, meaning on one hand more extremes on the high end (floods), in itself posing risks for hydropower infrastructure, but also through increasing sediment loads and risks of exposure to landslides and glacier lake outburst floods. On the other hand, a small increase in frequency and length of hydrological droughts is projected. Furthermore, projections of wind speed and incoming solar radiation indicate more or less stable conditions compared to the present day climate, further substantiating the rationale for portfolio diversification.

For adaptation and climate proofing the main recommendation is to verify that the proposed drainage systems at the sites are sized for extreme flows that are 20-30% larger in magnitude than current extremes. This is valid across return periods. The second high priority recommendation is to design foundations of solar, wind, and transmission infrastructure to withstand increased erosion rates and substantially increased risk of landslides in landslide prone areas. A third recommendation is to take into account lower production for solar panels at increased frequency of heat stress, as well as in the sizing of capacity of transmission infrastructure, which may have reduced capacity during periods of high heat stress.

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) can help ensure the long-term reliability of water resources. Research has shown they can – depending on circumstance – be more cost-effective and longer-lasting than grey infrastructure, while generating multiple co-benefits for carbon, biodiversity and human health. Despite the promise of NbS, however, water sector actors and their financiers usually prioritize investments in traditional grey infrastructure because they are more familiar with its costs, benefits and returns. Most of them are unfamiliar with how to develop and assess the value of NbS projects, though research shows they’re interested in tapping into their multi-faceted benefits.

The Financing Nature for Water Security project of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) aims to produce and disseminate guidance that enables water sector actors (government agencies, water utilities, grass-root NGOs) and their funders (donors, development banks and private investors) to invest in NbS-WS, at scale, by mobilizing sustainable funding and repayable financing. The project comprises of technical modules, guidance documents, supporting databases and training materials.

FutureWater has been contracted by TNC to support the development of one of the content modules assembled under the project. The module “Technical Options” will help the reader understand the water security challenge(s) they are confronted with and identify the types of NbS that could help address those challenges. In particular, Futurewater works on the creation of 12 technical factsheets to be included in an annex to the main documentation, with each factsheet highlighting the key technical aspects, benefits and risks, and economic dimensions of an NbS. In addition, an inventory of relevant NbS databases, platforms, and references is delivered.

Het doel van deze berekeningen was om uitsluitsel te kunnen geven over de nut en noodzaak van de geplande bergingsgebieden ter invulling van de wateropgave uit 2009. Met behulp van een Sobek-model zijn verschillende scenarioberekeningen uitgevoerd waarbij waterstanden, afvoeren en NBW-knelpunten zijn vergeleken onder het huidige en toekomstig klimaat en met en zonder integratie van bergingsgebieden.

De werkzaamheden bestonden onder meer uit:

  1. Toetsing van afvoer en waterstanden op kritieke locaties voor het klimaatscenario bij verschillende herhalingstijden (NBW-toetsing voor toekomstig klimaat),
  2. Vergelijking van NBW-knelpunten onder het huidige en toekomstige klimaat,
  3. Integratie van bergingsgebieden in het Sobek model en analyse van de impact op waterstanden, afvoer en toekomstige NBW-knelpunten (resultaat nut en noodzaak bergingsgebieden: antwoord op het LBW-vraagstuk),
  4. Een eerste inschatting van kritieke locaties langs de overige keringen voor de verschillende scenarios (hoge resolutie vergelijking van waterstanden en keringenhoogtes) en
  5. Een vergelijking van de resultaten met een aantal eerder uitgevoerde studies.

Tijdens het project is de NBW-toetingsmethode, die in 2020 was ontwikkeld door Arcadis, (verder) geautomatiseerd, zodat de methode sneller en voor andere vergelijkbare projecten binnen Vechtstromen kan worden toegepast. Op basis van de uitkomsten uit de berekeningen kon een duidelijk advies worden gegeven over de nut en noodzaak van de voorgestelde bergingsgebieden uit 2009.

Meer informatie over de methode rondom de normering van regionale wateroverlast (NBW / LBW) die wordt gehanteerd door waterschap Vechtstromen is te vinden op de volgende website: https://www.vechtstromen.nl/over/klimaat/wateroverlast/normering/werkt-normering/

 

In irrigated agriculture options to save water tend to focus on improved irrigation techniques such as drip and sprinkler irrigation. These irrigation techniques are promoted as legitimate means of increasing water efficiency and “saving water” for other uses (such as domestic use and the environment). However, a growing body of evidence, including a key report by FAO (Perry and Steduto, 2017) shows that in most cases, water “savings” at field scale translate into an increase in water consumption at system and basin scale. Yet despite the growing and irrefutable body of evidence, false “water savings” technologies continue to be promoted, subsidized and implemented as a solution to water scarcity in agriculture.

The goal is to stop false “water savings” technologies to be promoted, subsidized and implemented. To achieve this, it is important to quantify the hydrologic impacts of any new investment or policy in the water sector. Normally, irrigation engineers and planners are trained to look at field scale efficiencies or irrigation system efficiencies at the most. Also, many of the tools used by irrigation engineers are field scale oriented (e.g. FAO AquaCrop model). The serious consequences of these actions are to worsen water scarcity, increase vulnerability to drought, and threaten food security.

There is an urgent need to develop simple and pragmatic tools that can evaluate the impact of field scale crop-water interventions at larger scales (e.g. irrigation systems and basins). Although basin scale hydrological models exist, many of these are either overly complex and unable to be used by practitioners, or not specifically designed for the upscaling from field interventions to basin scale impacts. Moreover, achieving results from the widely-used FAO models such as AquaCrop into a basin-wide impact model is time-consuming, complex and expensive. Therefore, FutureWater developed a simple but robust tool to enhance usability and reach, transparency, transferability in data input and output. The tool is based on proven concepts of water productivity, water accounting and the appropriate water terminology, as promoted by FAO globally (FAO, 2013). Hence, the water use is separated in consumptive use, non-consumptive use, and change in storage.

A complete training package was developed which includes a training manual and an inventory of possible field level interventions. The training manual includes the following aspects:

  1. Introduce and present the real water savings tool
  2. Describe the theory underlying the tool and demonstrating some typical applications
  3. Learn how-to prepare the data required for the tool for your own area of interest
  4. Learn when real water savings occur at system and basin scale with field interventions

This glacio-hydrological assessment delivered river flow estimates for three intake locations of hydropower plants in Nakra, Georgia. The assessment included the calibration of a hydrological model, daily river discharge simulation for an extended period of record (1980-2015), and the derived flow duration curves and statistics to evaluate the flow operation of hydropower turbines. The daily flow calculations for the three sites (HPP1, HPP2 and HPP3) can be used in the hydropower calculations, and to assess the overall profitability of the planned investment, considering energy prices, demand, etc.

In the Nakra basin, glacier and snow model parameters were tuned to obtain accurate river flow predictions. Also, the latest technology of remote sensing data on precipitation and temperature (product ERA5) was used to reduce potential errors in flow estimates. Even though these flow estimates are useful for short-medium term evaluations on profitability of the planned investment, climate change pose a challenge for long-term evaluations. Glacier-fed and snow-fed systems, such as the Nakra basin, are driven by a complex combination of temperature and precipitation. Due to future increasing temperature, and changing rainfall patterns, glacier and snow cover dynamics change under climate warming. This can lead to shifts in the flows, like a reduction in lowest flows, and higher discharge peaks when the hydrological system shifts towards a more rainfall-runoff influenced system (Lutz et al. 2016). This can jeopardize the sustainability of the project on the long-term. To provide a better understanding of future river flows, it is recommended to develop a climate change impact assessment.