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.
This hydrological assessment delivered river flow estimates for an intake location of a potential hydropower plant in the Lukhra river, Georgia. The assessment included a tuning of a hydrological model based on knowledge of neighboring basins, daily river discharge simulation for an extended period of record (1989-2019), and the derived flow duration curves and statistics to evaluate the flow operation of hydropower turbines. The daily flow calculations for the site can be used in the hydropower calculations, and to assess the overall profitability of the planned investment, considering energy prices, demand, etc.
In the Lukhra basin, 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-Land) 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. Snow-fed systems, such as the Lukhra basin, are driven by a complex combination of temperature and precipitation. Due to future increasing temperature, and changing rainfall patterns, 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.
Does drip irrigation lead to real water savings? What is the impact of changing the irrigation efficiency on basin scale water flows? How can water managers implement water savings technologies that lead to real water savings? FutureWater provided eTrainings to water managers from Vietnam and Malaysia about these subjects. A training manual and several supporting material such as presentations, videos, reports and papers were provided to train the water managers on water productivity and real water savings in agricultural systems.
FutureWater with the support of FAO-RAP (Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific) provided eTrainings on Real Water Savings to water managers in Vietnam and Malaysia. The training package developed under the on-going FAO project was implemented. Interactive video sessions, weekly activities, and educational videos were provided through the FutureWater Moodle School platform.
Over 30 participants from Malaysia, and over 25 participants from Vietnam successfully followed the eTraining on real water savings in agricultural systems. Participants learned about the impact of field scale crop-water interventions on basin scale water savings and learned how to determine the water productivity and real water savings with the REWAS tool.
“Thank you for conducting this very useful course. This course really opened my eyes on the important of water security in hydrology cycle. I learnt so many new things and new elements in calculating the water saving in water budget”
“Learning sessions are great, and the information/technical approaches shared from the speakers are very useful. Extremely appreciate it. Thanks”
“I am the leader of some academic projects about the establishment of water-saving irrigation process and after this course am going to apply the knowledge to my projects.”
We reached a next step in the G4AW Project Mavo Diami in Angola. Farmers now receive land suitability advice for various crops on their mobile phone through a Telegram application. The application is called the KRES Service. Already up to 100 farmers are registered to this KRES Service, and the number of registrations is growing every day. Next to the land suitability advice, a daily agro-weather update is provided. The farmer can also start a dialogue with the digital KRES assistant and ask questions about suitability for land preparation. For large farmers, an activity tracking module is implemented. This way the farmers can track all their field activities. This information is being used to develop a daily irrigation advice. Read more about the Mavo Diami project on our projectpage.
The current application is only available for farmers with a smartphone. During this growing season, the application is extended with new features. Also, a specific application for feature phones will be developed, so more farmers -mostly small holders- can benefit from the service as well.
The training will enhance capacity of Egerton educational staff in accessing and using innovative data and tools in the public domain, to analyse crop performance and irrigation management. During the training, university participants will be specifically supported in developing course modules based on the skills gained. To maximize the impact in addressing the need for increased quality of higher education in the agricultural sector, representatives from other institutes, ministries and private sector companies will also be invited. The training will allow the staff to gain advanced skills in working with flying sensors (drones) and satellite-derived data to support agricultural and water-related challenges, such as pests and diseases, water efficiency in agriculture to enhance food security, and drought monitoring. They will acquire insight in and knowledge on analyzing the performance of crops, making the right intervention decisions and giving irrigation advice. For public sector representatives, the training objective is to obtain skills that can be directly and sustainably implemented in their respective organizations.
Overall, the Kenyan society at large will benefit from improved food security provided by well-educated agricultural researchers and professionals. This project forms an important step in the capacity building strategy as it focuses on strengthening the universities and preparing them to provide high quality education to the future generation agronomists and agricultural managers, as well as upgrading the knowledge of current professionals.
The training costs of four stages: an online training course, followed by an in-country training program, symposium and post-training support.
Stage 1: eTraining course
The first stage involved a weekly online training course that will start in January 2021, with a total of six sessions in six weeks. Participants will be consisting of University and TVET faculty members, university students, PhD candidates, researchers, Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) staff members, Agriculture Extension Staff from the County Government who are already involved in agricultural research and training and other private sector partners. Staff members from the university will be those that are involved in teaching agronomy, horticulture, agriculture engineering and agriculture extension courses and programs, i.e., soil, nutrient and water management, dryland farming, irrigated agriculture and crop protection. Non-university attendants will be technical staff who are close to the decision makers within their organizations. This will enhance the impact of the training by embedding the use of flying sensor and satellite-derived data for agriculture within these organizations and make sure that Kenya will pursue its activities in making use of this kind of information.
This first stage of the training course will be online and will focus on:
Real Water Savings in Agricultural Systems including potential field interventions
The use of WAPOR to access remotely sensed derived data
The course will end with a test and evaluation and graduates will receive a certificate.
Stage 2: Targeted in-country training
After the first stage training a second in-country training will take place with a smaller group, focusing on the use of drones in agriculture. Here a selected group of 12 to 18 members will be trained. Focus will be on staff with lecturing responsibilities, to ensure impact on higher education provision and transfer of the new skills to students.
The in-depth training will consist of:
Operating flying sensors manually and automatic, the processing of the collected data using open source software, interpretation and the subsequent decision making (recommendations to increase productivity) for (smallholder) farmers and actors
Use satellite derived (precipitation) products to run crop growth models to provide advice on when and how much to irrigate in agricultural fields
Participants will work on hands-on exercises related to crop performance analyses, water demands and crop growth modelling. Application of the new skills will be further stimulated by assigning the participants clear, tailor-made goals at the end of the second training session, to be worked on during the distant-support period.
Stage 3: Symposium/knowledge sharing
Right after the second training session, a symposium will be organized for a larger audience including the superiors/managers (who most of the times are the final decision makers) of the training participants and representatives of similar organizations. During this knowledge sharing event, trainees and trainers will actively provide contributions to showcase the newly gained skills and their added value to the respective institutions and the Kenyan agricultural sector in general. By acquainting the responsible decision makers in these organizations with the potential applications of flying sensor and satellite-derived data relevant to them, this event will be crucial in ensuring a sustainable impact of the TMT.
Stage 4: Post-training support
In this period, progress will be actively monitored and the trainers will provide post-training support to the participants. The support will be both remotely (e.g. through Skype) by the Dutch training providers but also in-person by ThirdEye Kenya staff visiting the participants for Q&A sessions and to evaluate the implementation of the skills they obtained.
Water efficiency in the palm oil sector is one of the prioritized topics for the coming years and is a cornerstone of the bilateral agenda on circular agriculture of the Dutch Embassy in Colombia. As part of the Partners for Water program, a project has been initiated to foster collaboration between Dutch and Colombian stakeholders in the field of water efficiency in palm oil production in Colombia. The project is executed by a Dutch-Colombian consortium composed by Delphy, Solidaridad Network, FutureWater and Cenipalma.
The Netherlands is internationally well-known for its expertise on water management and crossovers like water for agriculture, which is therefore one of the cornerstones of the bilateral relationships the Netherlands maintains as part of the Netherlands International Water Ambition (NIWA)(Dutch only). Colombia is one of the seven priority delta countries in the framework of the NIWA, which results in collaboration on topics of water management, coastal protection, governance and nexus based combinations like water and agriculture.
Water efficiency in the palm oil sector is one of the prioritized topics for the coming years and is a cornerstone of the bilateral agenda on circular agriculture of the agriculture department of the Dutch Embassy in Colombia. As part of the Partners for Water program, a project has been initiated to foster collaboration between Dutch and Colombian governmental, knowledge and private stakeholders in the field of water efficiency in palm oil production in Colombia. The project is executed by a consortium led by Delphy and composed by Solidaridad Network and FutureWater. Due to its key position in the Colombian palm oil sector and its interest the issue of water management, this effort focuses on a collaboration with Fedepalma, specifically its research organisation Cenipalma.
Cenipalma has an interest to intensify its research on water efficiency at field level. More knowledge on the actual irrigation requirements of palm oil cultivations in the northern regions is needed. Also, there is limited knowledge available on the possibility to combine efficient irrigation practices like drip irrigation with fertilizer use (so called fertigation systems). Current drip irrigation systems are placed at the surface of the fields, while (permanent) subsurface systems could probably be another option to further reduce evaporation because they are laid underground.
The project stimulates and supports the adoption of more efficient irrigation techniques by Colombian palm oil production farmers. To do so, the limiting factors for this adoption are (further) investigated and addressed in a feasibility study and indicative cost-benefit analysis. To convince farmers to adopt these techniques, a pilot study will be implemented at the demonstration field of Cenipalma and two leading farmers in the area. The study will specifically include an advice on knowledge development and implementation of water measurement techniques like the use of sensors and adoption of fertigation systems through a small scale demonstration project. A combination of convincing arguments, a viable business case and an on-field application of fertigation use and sensors in efficient irrigation systems will increase the likeliness of moving away from conventional practices. These innovations in water and fertilizer management on a farm level could benefit both the environmental as well as the economic sustainability of palm oil production.
Project activities and approach
The project duration is from June 2020 until November 2021. In the implementation phase, a pilot project will be developed at the demonstration site of Cenipalma. The project will implement a sensor setup and a tailored dashboard for smart irrigation and fertigation. This is done in close collaboration with Cenipalma. Sensors can be used to help the grower to measure crop development and environmental factors. New techniques enable growers to exchange data easier and faster. Delphy Digital, a team within Delphy, uses in-field sensor data to create applications for cultivation management, containing irrigation and fertigation modules. Data-driven models and systems translate data into concrete advices and actions for cultivation optimisation on a strategic, tactical and operational level, which makes it possible to optimize the input and output directly.
As part of the project activities, Delphy Digital will develop a dashboard for smart irrigation and fertigation in palm production in Northern Colombia. The dashboard will include advice on irrigation, fertigation and fertilization for palm trees. Furthermore, the consortium will install sensors to monitor the most important parameters regarding good and efficient palm oil production (e.g. information on soil moisture, weather, the irrigation system, soil moisture content and the timing for irrigation and fertigation). Consortium partners, together with Cenipalma experts, will collect the information and transfer it to a dashboard through “The Internet of Things”. The sensors and innovative irrigation, fertigation and water harvesting systems will be installed at two hectares of the demonstration farm.
The Covid-19 pandemic is reminding us of the importance of water for human health and well-being. The Corona virus came late to Latin America, but the region is now feeling its devastating effects. In the water sector, the crisis is exposing the existing water challenges such as limited access to clean water, weak waste water treatment systems and poor water governance become. However, it is also building a momentum for action.
To dive into the most pressing water issues in the region, exchange good practices and innovative solutions, and discuss current and future regional opportunities, the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) and the Dutch Embassy in Panama will jointly host a series of webinars from July to September.
The embassies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama and Peru have identified several key water themes that need to be addressed in their respective countries. From this pool of topics, five subjects have been selected to for this series of webinars. These are:
The circular economy and water treatment
Food security and water
Watershed management and resilience
These virtual sessions will be held in Spanish and tailored to Dutch water actors with interests and/or already operating in Latin America, and Latin American water experts and stakeholders interested in the knowledge and expertise of the Dutch water sector.
Each webinar will include four main elements: insights on the local context, good practices, networking opportunities and inspiring speakers.
The circular economy and water treatment will kick-of the series on 1 July | Recording and audio available at the bottom of this page.
Water quality on 22 July
Food security and water on 12 August
Watershed management and resilience on 26 August
Water governance on 9 September
Ciudad de Panamá, Lima, Bogotá, México DF: 9.00 – 10.30 hrs
República Dominicana, Santiago: 10.00 – 11.30 hrs
Buenos Aires: 11.00 – 12.30 hrs
Amsterdam: 16:00 – 17:00 hrs
Location: online meeting. Instructions to be sent to registered participants.
Programme Food security and water on 12 August:
The speakers of the third webinar are:
Roel Nieuwenkamp, Embassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Argentina
Lucas du Pré, of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
Angel de Miguel Garcia, of Wageningen University and Research (WUR)
Evelyn Aparicio Medrano, of Nelen & Schuurmans
Alexander Kaune, of FutureWater
If you are interested in participating in these seminars, please fill in the form on the NWP website.
For additional questions, please contact NWP Project Officer Latin America, Noortje Pellens, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a UNESCO-declared Biosphere Reserve, is an isolated mountain complex encompassing approximately 17,000 km², set apart from the Andes chain that runs through Colombia. The Sierra Nevada has the world’s highest coastal peak (5,775 m above sea level) just 42 kilometres from the Caribbean coast. The Sierra Nevada is the source of 36 basins, making it the major regional ‘water factory’ supplying 1.5 million inhabitants as well as vast farming areas in the surrounding plains used mainly for the cultivation of banana and oil palm. The main problems to be solved in these basins are: i) Declining availability of water for irrigation, ii) Declining availability and quality of water for human consumption, iii) Increasing salinization of ground water and soils, iv) Increasing incidence of floods.
This is a feasibility study on the adoption of more efficient irrigation techniques by oil palm farmers in the Sevilla basin (713 km²), one of the key basins in the Sierra Nevada. The general objective is to identify the local environment at basin scale, the limiting factors and suitable field interventions in oil palm areas to improve the water use. A preparation and implementation phase was developed including an initial baseline assessment of the basin on climate, water availability, drought hazard, soil characteristics, land use, and topography. The agronomy (e.g. cultivars) and current field practices (e.g. nutrient management and irrigation practices) of the oil palm areas were characterized, and the crop water requirements determined. In addition, costs and benefits associated to the implementation of efficient irrigation technologies such as fertigation and water harvesting were assessed. Potential locations, risks and opportunities for water harvesting were evaluated with the idea to store water in the wet season to be able to use the resource in an efficient way in the dry season. A range of GIS and satellite-based datasets (e.g. CHIRPS, MODIS-ET, MODIS-NDVI, HiHydroSoil) were used to evaluate the environmental conditions, and local data and information was provided by local partners Cenipalma and Solidaridad to generate a comprehensive assessment at basin and field scale. The expectation is that fertigation and water harvesting techniques can be adopted in the Sevilla basin, but also in other basins in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to reduce the environmental impact of oil palm production.
The United Nations reminds us of two major effects of climate change every June 17th: desertification and drought. Especially in Africa, where it means food insecurity for at least 45 million people (source UN). In Angola, a consortium of Dutch organisations is working with the Government to introduce climate-smart technologies and practices to farmers. Through the Mavo Diami project, they aim to build resilience to climate change and boost productivity over the next three years using state-of-the-art techniques that benefit from satellite data.
“Drought doesn’t hit Angola equally in every part of the country. The worst droughts occur in the south, the center of the country is less vulnerable. Therefore, the consortium that implements Mavo Diami (‘My Land’ in the local Kimbundo language) is developing information services that help farmers in several Angolan regions in a differentiated manner. Over the next three years, they will advise around 100,000 farmers – for a large part through their mobile phones – on what to plant, when to sow, fertilize, irrigate and harvest. Meteo and remote sensing data are transformed into voice messages, SMS alerts and advise via call centers and agents”, summarises Willianne van Slooten, Dutch project leader at World Vision.
Mavo Diami started in September 2019 and expects to roll out their services this autumn after a delay due to local Corona measures. A consortium of seven Dutch and Angolan public and private organizations (see below) are translating the farming procedures for six crops into actionable models. They take local soil and climate specifics into account in their advice to farmers. “We will also look at how much water is necessary for each crop”, describes Hans van Leeuwen, who works at GaiaVision and has the role within the consortium of fine tuning the services for Angolan needs. “For example, maize is traditionally a preferred crop for Angolan farmers, but in area X that will take hundreds of liters per kg maize more than in area Y. In the center of Angola, we are now concentrating on potatoes as a new kind of crop that fits well with the local soil and climate. We help farmers to be more resilient, while the land itself does not degrade and ecosystems and biodiversity are not damaged.”
Monitoring crop water consumption
The crop is monitored while it grows. Joost van der Woerd, remote sensing specialist at consortium partner eLEAF, explains the concept: “With the use of satellite data, we are able to monitor crop performance like growth and water consumption. For this, we also look at the Water Productivity Database (WaPOR) from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).” WaPOR is an open-source and near real-time data portal. It uses satellite data to monitor agricultural land and water productivity. WaPOR is subsidised by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
eLEAF identifies performance variations within a large field or farm, or between farms within the same region. “Even when you don’t see it yet on the ground, with satellite data, we can see arising problems up to two weeks in advance by monitoring the water consumption of the crop. The farmer receives a timely identification of potential problem areas enabling quick mitigation measures, minimising damage to the crop. Hired help can be planned more effectively, and the use of irrigation, pesticides or fertilizers will be reduced as application timing and requirements are optimised.”
‘Did you plant last week?’
From this autumn onwards, the meteo forecasting in Mavo Diami will be possible on a spatially more detailed scale (9 km2). That also goes for the analysis of crops (per 250 m2) and water availability. More detailed information services will be offered on a subscription basis to the 50-100 commercial farmers. Smallholder farmers can start using free or cheap channels and get more generic information, but Mavo Diami aims to prove the value of tailormade advice to also improve the service to smallholders. To build up their profile, every time a registered farmer phones the call center, following an SMS-alert that a message is waiting for him, we ask them some simple questions, such as: ‘Did you plant last week?’. In this way, the smallholder farmers can be profiled better and therefore be advised more effectively. Mavo Diami partners are also developing methods that support basic phones (contrary to ‘smart phones’) and phones without internet connection in the field. A positive development for the farmers is that Angolan mobile network operators are interested in extending their communication services with this advice. By offering it as a bonus on their platforms, the price can be kept low.
Reducing water spillage
This year, the UN World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought focuses on reducing water spillage – besides drought also an issue in Angolan agriculture. Commercial farming is a young profession in Angola. Up until some ten years ago, the country made its money from oil while most foods for people who did not live off their land were imported. With the oil industry collapse and the semi-permanent wars over, farming became more interesting for the entrepreneurial Angolans because the central part of the country is quite fertile. For the economy and food security, these are welcome initiatives. However, these new commercial farmers tend to pump up groundwater in massive volumes for irrigation. Both Van Leeuwen and Van der Woerd are convinced Mavo Diami will decrease the water spillage. “We can show them that optimization of their water use is not only good for the region but also increases their profits because they can substantially save on fuel for their water pumps.”
FutureWater’s contribution FutureWater has provided tools and signals on climate, water availability and crop growth to support farmer’s decisions before and during the cropping season. Specificallly, useful land suitability maps have been developed for rainfed crops (e.g. Maize, Potato, Sorghum, Bean and Millet) in six provinces in Angola (Huambo, Cuanza Sul, Huila, Benguela, Cunene and Bie) taken into account drier than normal and warmer than normal conditions providing support on what and where to plant to achieve the highest crop yields. Also, a tool that provides daily updated forecasts of crop water requirements for the next 7 days has been developed for a large irrigated farm in Cuanza Sul, owned by our local partner Nova Agrolider. The crop water requirements are determined by using predictions on rainfall, surface runoff, and crop evapotranspiration. The farm operator can easily select the crop type, the planting date, and the runoff coefficient for a desired central pivot allowing the automatic calculation of forecasted crop water requirements for the selection made and use the information to enhance decisions on when and how much to irrigate. An extension of this tool will include an indicator on leaching risk.
In Angola, more and better-quality data is required to improve crop suitability assessments over large extensions of arable land to ensure sustainable food and income security. For example, environmental data on soil texture, soil water storage capacity, vegetation growth, terrain slopes, rainfall and air temperature are key to develop reliable crop suitability assessments. These datasets are available from state-of-the-art satellite-based products and machine learning observations (de Boer, 2016; Funk et al., 2015; Hengl et al., 2014, 2017). The benefit of these data products is that data can be obtained for any province, municipality, or farm in Angola. On top of that, data can be shown in maps to easily visualize spatial variation and identify the most suitable location and area to grow desired crops. Land-crop suitability maps are obtained by calculating a weighted average of the environmental variables that influence crop growth (e.g. rainfall, air temperature, soil water storage capacity), providing an integrated and complete assessment on where to plant. Also, potential crop yields are determined for desired cropping seasons using the FAO AquaCrop model to provide more information about potential income.
Irrigated agriculture in Angola has been developed in commercial farms using mainly central pivot and drip irrigation systems. The installation of new irrigation systems is foreseen in large extensions of land over 5000 hectares. Irrigated agriculture results in higher crop yields and allows higher incomes to farmers. However, commercial farms must invest in high energy supply to operate irrigation systems with water pumping stations. The challenge for irrigation system operators is to know exactly when and how much to irrigate during the cropping season. If better information about irrigation volumes and intervals are provided a significal reduction in energy costs could be achieved. The objective is to predict irrigation demand volumes during the cropping season and provide a user-friendly decision tool to irrigation operators. To achieve this, weather forecasts, remote sensing, and the SPHY model will be used.