Job description

32/40 hours per week, location Wageningen, The Netherlands

FutureWater is looking for a consultant / researcher for our expanding international activities, particularly in Asia and Africa. At FutureWater you work in a dynamic organization, independently or in a team, on challenging projects at the interface of water management, agriculture, nature-based solutions, and climate change.

The following tasks and responsibilities are associated with the vacant position:

  • Development and implementation of spatial and dynamic modelling tools for quantitative analyses of irrigation / agriculture, hydrology climate change, and / or ecosystem services. The scope of the activities will be guided by skills and ambitions of the successful candidate.
  • Contributing to project acquisition by supporting proposal development, and maintaining and expanding the company network of potential partners and clients.
  • Depending on previous experience – progressive responsibilities related to project management, coordination, and communication with clients.

Job requirements

Requirements for this position are as follows:

  • An academic (MSc.) background in hydrology, agriculture, remote sensing / GIS, or a related field
  • Affinity and experience with dynamic modelling tools and GIS analyses
  • Affinity and experience with programming for spatial analyses (e.g. Python, R)
  • Ability to function independently as well as within an (international) team
  • Fluency in English
  • Valid permission to work in The Netherlands

In addition, the ideal candidate would dispose of the following:

  • At least 3 years of progressively responsible, professional experience
  • Proficiency in working with satellite-derived data.
  • Fluency in Dutch and/or another language spoken in countries with frequent FutureWater activities (e.g. Spanish, French, Arabic)

In the event of proven suitability, there is the possibility of a permanent employment contract.

Organization

FutureWater is a research and consultancy company with the objective of contributing to the sustainable management of water, worldwide. FutureWater focuses on the application and development of scientific methods and concepts to provide advice and solutions in the field of water management. Simulation models, Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing and innovative data processing techniques play a key role in this. Activities take place in the Netherlands and abroad. Typical clients include World Bank, Asian Development Bank, NGOs, river basin organizations, national and regional governments, and research organization.

More information or apply?

Interested? Send your application letter and CV to jobs@futurewater.nl.

This vacancy is open until 8 February 2022.

De Gezondheidsdienst voor Dieren (GD) heeft in de afgelopen jaren een analyse van leverbotbesmettingen uitgevoerd. Dit onderzoek heeft laten zien dat verschillende omgevingsfactoren een rol spelen zoals grondwaterstand, neerslag, temperatuur en bodemtype. Daarnaast is op basis van landsdekkende bodemvochtschattingen door FutureWater vastgesteld dat ook bodemvocht en leverbotbesmettingen gecorreleerd zijn, wat verklaard wordt doordat de leverbotslak in vochtige omstandigheden het beste gedijt. De GD geeft jaarlijks een leverbotprognose uit op basis van modelresultaten. Op basis van de eerdere onderzoeksresultaten heeft de GD sinds enkele jaren ook voorspellingen van bodemvocht in haar model opgenomen, welke jaarlijks door FutureWater worden geleverd voor elk postcodegebied in Nederland.

In het huidige project wordt een ontwikkelingsslag toegepast door het gebruik van de meest recent beschikbare datasets in het hydrologische model SPHY, om zo historische bodemvochtdata te leveren met een 100 x 100 m (1 ha) resolutie voor de periode van 2012 t/m 2021. Deze gegevens worden door de Gezondheidsdienst voor Dieren gebruikt om meer inzicht te verkrijgen in het risico op diergezondheidsproblemen die door klimaat worden beïnvloed.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 seeks to ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all, focusing on the sustainable management of water resources, wastewater and ecosystems. The targets associated with SDG 6 are to be achieved by monitoring and improvement of several indicators. Assessment of these indicators requires a considerable amount of data, which are in many countries not readily available. Also in Myanmar, challenges are posed to the national statistical system to collect, manage and report the necessary input data. As the Myanmar branch of the lead UN development agency, UNDP Myanmar carries out activities to support implementation of the SDGs. Acknowledging the recent political developments in Myanmar, more than ever it is important to explore innovative sources of data to support monitoring and evaluation of progress towards the SDGs. FutureWater was contracted to produce an issue brief which explores the availability of geospatial data, in particular derived from Earth Observation (EO) from satellites, to monitor 4 water-related SDG indicators.

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.

Job description

32/40 hours per week, location Wageningen, The Netherlands, available immediately

FutureWater is looking for an experienced project manager for our expanding international activities, particularly in Asia and Africa. At FutureWater you work in a dynamic organization, independently or in a team, on both organizational and technical aspects of challenging projects at the interface of water management, agriculture, nature-based solutions, and climate change. The following tasks and responsibilities are associated with the vacant position:

  • Project planning and coordination of budget and resources, internal task division and supervision, communication and cooperation with partner organizations (private sector, NGO, universities)
  • Working directly with clients to ensure project scope and expectations are well-aligned, deliverables fall within the applicable scope and budget, and projects are conducted and completed smoothly and successfully
  • Active project acquisition by maintaining and expanding the company network of potential partners and clients
  • Technical contribution to projects – implementation of hydrological models, remote sensing and/or other tools, depending on skills and ambition of the successful candidate (25-50% of the time)

Job requirements

The ideal candidate has an academic background in hydrology, water management and/or agriculture (MSc), followed by at least 8 years of progressively responsible, professional experience.

Further requirements include:

  • Proven planning and organizational skills
  • Demonstrable experience with project management and contact with clients, ideally demonstrated by successful completion of multiple international projects of size > €100k
  • A sizable existing network of relevant public and private organizations, in The Netherlands and/or abroad
  • Affinity and experience with spatial modelling and programming (e.g. Python, R)
  • Fluent in English (required) and Dutch (preferred)
  • Valid permission to work in The Netherlands

In the event of proven suitability, there is the possibility of a permanent employment contract.

Organization

FutureWater is a research and consultancy company with the objective of contributing to the sustainable management of water, worldwide. FutureWater focuses on the application and development of scientific methods and concepts to provide advice and solutions in the field of water management. Simulation models, Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing and innovative data processing techniques play a key role in this. Activities take place in the Netherlands and abroad. Typical clients include World Bank, Asian Development Bank, NGOs, river basin organizations, national and regional governments, and research organization.

More information or apply?

Interested? Send your application letter and CV to jobs@futurewater.nl.

This vacancy is open until a suitable candidate is found.

The MRCS regularly undertakes periodic regional and basin-wide studies on behalf of Member Countries to assess potential effects of increasing development, growing population and uncertainty in climate variability in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB). Recent basin-wide assessment and reporting were found to be hampered by data limitations across a range of areas. With the basin undergoing rapid and extensive change, tracking changes in conditions, analyzing the potential implications, and working cooperatively to leverage the benefits and avoid the problems are seen as critical to achieving the objectives of the 1995 Mekong Agreement.

To provide a greater strategic direction to the monitoring and assessment effort, the Mekong River Basin Indicator Framework (MRB-IF) was developed and approved aiming at providing a consistent and streamlined approach to data collection, analysis, and reporting. Through the MRB-IF, the MRC Member Countries and stakeholders can be alerted to the key issues and trends across five core dimensions (environment, social, economic, climate change and cooperation). Included in the MRB-IF are (i) the extent of salinity intrusion in the Mekong Delta (MD) – Assessment Indicator 14 and (ii) the condition of riverine, estuarine, and coastal habitats – Assessment Indicator 16. A systematic process of collection and analysis of the data for status and trends evaluation regarding these indicators is currently missing.

The aim of this project is therefore to develop a basin-specific systematic approach to periodically assess the extent of salinity intrusion in the Mekong Delta and the conditions of the riverine, estuarine, and coastal habitats across the LMB. Methodologies to evaluate both indicators are developed relying on integration of satellite remote sensing data, GIS databases, and station data. The project involves an elaborate review of existing methodologies tested in the LMB and other river basins, an assessment of these methods regarding technical, economic and institutional aspects, and the development of a recommended methodology for adoption by MRCS, including guidance documentation for its stepwise implementation.

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.

We are excited to announce that our high resolution dataset with global maps for Soil Hydraulic Properties HiHydroSoil v2.0 is now available on Google Earth Engine! 

It’s made available through the github page “Awesome GEE Community Datasets” by Samapriya Roy. A sample code on how to access the HiHydroSoil v2.0 dataset in Google Earth Engine can be found here (Google Earth Engine account required).

The HiHydroSoil v2.0 database can also be downloaded from the FutureWater website using the form below. Interested in HiHydroSoil v.20? Read more on the project page!

Soil information is the basis for all environmental studies. Since local soil maps of good quality are often not available, global soil maps with a low resolution are used. Furthermore, soil maps do not include information about soil hydraulic properties, which are of importance in, for example, hydrological modeling, erosion assessment and crop yield modelling. HiHydroSoil v2.0 can fill this data gap. HiHydroSoil v2.0 includes the following data:

  • Organic Matter Content
  • Soil Texture Class
  • Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity
  • Mualem van Genuchten parameters Alfa and N
  • Saturated Water Content
  • Residual Water Content
  • Water content at pF2, pF3 and pF4.2
  • Hydrologic Soil Group (USDA)
Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity (m/d) of the Topsoil (0-30 cm).

Important! To avoid lengthy download times, the data layers originally consisting of float data type were multiplied by a factor of 10,000, and subsequently converted to integer type. It is therefore required to translate the data to the proper units by multiplying with 0.0001. These steps are also described in the readme file delivered with the data.

Water and food security are at risk in many places in the world: now and most likely even more in the future, having large economic and humanitarian consequences. Risk managers and decision-makers, such as water management authorities and humanitarian-aid agencies/NGOs, can prevent harmful consequences more efficiently if information is available on-time on (1) the impact on the system, economy or society, and also (2) the probabilities for a failure in the system. EO information has proven to be extremely useful for (1). For looking into the future, considering the uncertainties, novel machine learning techniques are becoming available.

The proposed development is incorporated into an existing solution for providing Drought and Early Warning Systems (DEWS), called InfoSequia. InfoSequia is a modular and flexible toolbox for the operational assessment of drought patterns and drought severity. Currently, the InfoSequia toolbox provides a comprehensive picture of current drought status, based mainly on EO data, through its InfoSequia-MONITOR module. The proposed additional module, called InfoSequia-4CAST, is a major extension of current InfoSequia capabilities, responding to needs that have been assessed in several previous experiences.

InfoSequia-4CAST provides the user with timely, future outlooks of drought impacts on crop yield and water supply. These forecasts are provided on the seasonal scale, i.e. 3-6 months ahead. Seasonal outlooks are computed by a novel state-of-the-art Machine Learning technique. This technique has already been tested for applications related to crop production forecasting and agricultural drought risk financing. The FFTrees algorithm uses predictor datasets (in this case, a range of climate variability indices alongside other climatic and vegetative indices) to generate FFTs predicting a binary outcome – crop yields or water supply-demand balance above or below a given threshold (failure: yes/no).

The activity includes intensive collaboration with stakeholders in Spain, Colombia and Mozambique, in order to establish user requirements, inform system design, and achieve pilot implementation of the system in the second project year. Generic machine learning procedures for training the required FFTs will be developed, and configured for these pilot areas. An intuitive user interface is developed for disseminating the output information to the end users. In addition to development of the forecasting functionality, InfoSequia-MONITOR will be upgraded by integrating state-of-the art ESA satellite data and creating multi-sensor blended drought indices.

Kyrgyzstan is a highly mountainous country with relatively high precipitation in upslope areas. This, alongside the development and deforestation of basins to make way for industry and agriculture means that land has become increasingly degraded and vulnerable to erosion over recent decades. Reservoirs in the country provide access to water resources and energy in the form of hydropower, but are highly susceptible to sedimentation by eroded material. Sedimentation necessitates increased maintenance costs, reduces storage capacity and disrupts hydropower generation. It is therefore proposed that landscape scale restoration measures (e.g. tree planting) can provide key ecosystem services by reducing vulnerability to erosion and decreasing sediment delivery to reservoirs. This project therefore identifies highly degraded areas of land and determines in which of these interventions are possible. With the outcomes of this study, the World Bank – in partnership with the government of Kyrgyzstan – can prioritise investments in terms of landscape restoration efforts. The outcomes of this project will therefore reduce maintenance costs for reservoirs and contribute to the afforestation and restoration of multiple areas in Kyrgyzstan.