Currently, farmers rely on weather forecasts and advisories that are either general for a given, often wide, region of interest, or highly customized to the farmers’ needs (e.g. by combining large scale atmospheric variables into synthetic parameters of interest). In both cases, such forecasts and advisories often don’t rely at all on observations collected at or around the target cultivated areas, or they are limited to traditional observations provided only by weather stations, without exploiting the full extent of measurements and observations available through European space-based assets (e.g. Galileo GNSS, Copernicus Sentinels) and ground-based radar data.

MAGDA objectives go beyond the state-of-the-art by aiming at developing a modular system that can be deployed by owners of large farms directly at their premises, continuously feeding observations to dedicated and tailored weather forecast and hydrological models, with results displayed by a dashboard and/or within a Farm Management System.

FutureWater is leading the irrigation advisory service of MAGDA, making use of hydrological modelling using SPHY (Spatial Processes in Hydrology). The output expected consists of an operational irrigation service to provide advice on when and how much to irrigate at certain moments during the cropping season, using as input data improved weather forecasts.

During this task, the SPHY water balance model will be setup for three selected demonstrator farms in Romania, France and Italy. Finally, the irrigation advisory will be validated using performance indicators (e.g., water productivity, crop yield analysis, water use efficiency) using ground truth data (e.g., weather stations, moisture probes, crop biomass measurements)

Early September, FutureWater supported the Asian Development Bank in an extensive consultation of key stakeholders of the five countries in Central Asia, on possible activities to be integrated in the CAREC Water Pillar: an investment vehicle for regional cooperation and climate resilience for the region.

Many physical meetings took place with the key ministries involved in national water resources management, development partners already working in this field and in the region, and knowledge institutes. A wide range of possible ambitious and transformative activities were discussed around data sharing, information systems, shared management of infrastructure, transboundary management, drought early warning, etc.

The main goal of the trip to the region was to prepare for a two-day workshop in Dushanbe in October: the long-list of potential activities will then be prioritized and crafted to several integrated and regional projects. For this, a selection of high-level decision-makers of the five countries (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan) will come together to discuss priority activities and projects to be financed by the Water Pillar.

Uzbekistan is highly sensitive to climate change which will cause changes in the water flows and distribution: water availability, use, reuse and return flows will be altered in many ways due to upstream changes in the high mountain regions, but also changes in water demand and use across the river basin. The resulting changes in intra-annual and seasonal variability will affect water security of Uzbekistan. Besides, climate change will increase extreme events which pose a risk to existing water resources infrastructure. An integrated climate adaptation approach is required to make the water resources system and the water users, including the environment, climate resilient.

This project will support the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) of Uzbekistan in identifying key priorities for climate adaptation in the Amu Darya river basin and support the identification of investment areas within Amu Darya river basin. The work will be based on a basin-wide climate change risk assessment as well as on the government priorities with an explicit focus on reducing systemic vulnerability to climate change.

The project will undertake:

  • Climate change risk analysis and mapping on key water-related sectors, impacts on rural livelihoods, and critical water infrastructures.
  • Climate change adaptation strategic planning and identify barriers in scaling up adaptation measures at multiple scales with stakeholder consultation and capacity building approach.
  • Identification of priority measures and portfolios for integration into subproject development as well as for future adaptation investment in the Amu Darya river basin. The identification will cover shortlisting of potential investments, screening of economic feasibility, and potential funding opportunities.

FutureWater leads this assignment and develops the climate risk hotspot analysis, and coordinates the contribution of international and national experts, as well as the stakeholder consultation process.

FutureWater and the Rwandan firm and consortium partner ENTREM presented interim results of the Integrated Strategic Water Resources Planning and Management project.

The key objective of this study is to support the country on its path towards sustainable development towards 2050 by identifying strategies to better regulate and manage the available water resources through natural and man-made storage infrastructure, like reservoirs, groundwater, lakes, and wetlands. One of the most important threats to these grey and green infrastructures is the high sediment loads they receive due to sub-optimal land management. The preparation of guidelines on how to integrate Nature-based Solutions into the development and how to adapt related national policies and explore possible financial mechanisms like Payment for Ecosystem Services are part of the strategic study also.

The results so far have been used to identify in a participatory way a number of so-called flagship projects: projects that Rwanda wants to take forward on the short term which should be transformative and exemplary and help the country to achieve its ambitious Vision 2050. Several bilateral stakeholder meetings were held with national authorities representing the energy sector (REC), water supply and sanitation (WASAC), agricultural sector (RAB), transboundary (NELSAP) and environment (Ministry of Environment), besides several meetings with the beneficiary of the strategic study: Rwanda Water resources Board (RWB).

Meeting with stakeholders

FutureWater is supporting the Asian Development Bank in developing the methodology for a new state-of-art Climate and Disaster Risk screening tool.

The methodology behind the tool and the reports to be produced by the tool are currently undergoing an internal multi-sectoral consultation process. The goal is that the targeted users of the tool provide feedback on how the ideas and mockups of the tool meet their expectations. This will allow finetuning the tool before it will be actually fully developed and implemented in the project management system of the Bank. Consultations are taking place with departments from all sectoral departments, like Energy, Water, Health, and Agriculture.

FutureWater continues supporting with the development of specific elements of the tool, like for example the module which will allow for a semi-automated Climate Risk and Adaptation (CRA) assessment. This module can help project officers in more efficient processing of projects that do not require detailed risk assessment but need integration of climate adaptation measures, including no-regret options.

Climate Risk and Adaptation (CRA) assessment example

The Lunyangwa Dam is the source of water supply for Mzuzu City, Ekwendi Town and surrounding areas. Currently, the yield of the dam is lower than the annual average daily water demand from the dam. A quick intervention for this problem is to raise the spillway of the Lunyangwe Dam.

In order to determine the height of the redesigned spillway, FutureWater conducted a hydrological study for the Lunyangwa Dam Catchment to determine flood extremes for several return periods. HEC-HMS was used for calculating the peak volumes and discharges. The input for the HEC-HMS model was retrieved using satellite-based datasets for rainfall and terrain. Furthermore, the flood routing was simulated with an elevation-storage curve. The output of this study will be used for the redesign of the spillway.

We are proud to be part of the winning consortium for a PRIMA-EU Innovation Action project. With 16 partners (academia and SME’s) under the lead of Bioazul we gathered in Málaga on 18 and 19 May for a successful, in-person Kickoff meeting of  BONEX (Boosting Nexus Framework Implementation in the Mediterranean).

It was an energetic and dynamic two-days of lively discussion, sharing of experience, and identifying the upcoming project activities. FutureWater colleagues (Sergio, Johannes, and Jonna) participated in this workshop and provided a presentation on the REWAS (Real Water Savings) tool that will be upgraded and piloted in the BONEX project as an effective diagnostic tool for the WEFE (water, energy, food, ecosystem) framework. We are excited to be working on this project the upcoming three years with this strong consortium.

More information on the project can be found on the project page.

FutureWater colleagues during the kickoff event
Presentation on REWAS tool provided by FutureWater colleague Jonna van Opstal

This project is part of the PRIMA programme supported by the European Union.

The Mediterranean Region is facing growing challenges to ensure food and water supply as countries experience increasing demand and decreasing availability of natural resources. The nexus approach aims at managing and leveraging synergies across sectors with an efficient and integrated management of the Water, Energy, Food, and Ecosystems Nexus (WEFE).

BONEX objectives are to provide practical and adapted tools, examine concrete and context-adapted technological innovations, enhance policies and governance and facilitate WEFE Nexus practical implementation that balances the social, economic, and ecological trade-offs.

The project aims at producing a novel, transdisciplinary, diagnostic WEFE Bridging Framework, which combines methods in a context-specific manner and going beyond disciplinary silos. The diagnostic tools supporting the framework will be developed and tested in seven selected demonstration projects in the region which pilot innovative technologies (agrivoltaics, wastewater reuse systems, etc.).

As a result, BONEX will provide policymakers and practitioners with an interactive decision-making tool to evaluate trade-offs, synergies, and nexus solutions approaches in a transdisciplinary manner. Further, it will produce valuable experiences with tailoring innovative WEFE Nexus technologies that provides new business opportunities. The WEFE nexus approach is required to implement sustainable agri-food systems and preserve ecosystems.

Within BONEX FutureWater will actively contribute to the package of diagnostic tools. A simple water accounting tool (REWAS) will be used to evaluate if ‘Real Water Savings’ are achieved with innovative technologies. The water accounting tool evaluates water flows at field level and irrigation district scale and determines if any ‘real savings’ are achieved. The tool also incorporates the aspects of food production (crop yield) and will introduce components for evaluating energy and water quality aspects to complement the WEFE Nexus aspects. The seven demonstration projects will be used to demonstrate and iteratively develop this water accounting tool. A hydrological analysis is performed in selected locations to also evaluate the impact at basin (watershed) scale. Eventually the results from these analyses will be translated into policy implications and achievements of SDG’s (sustainable development goals).

This project is part of the PRIMA programme supported by the European Union.

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 Asian Development Bank (ADB) seeks to develop a new climate and disaster risk screening and assessment tool to replace the current tool in use. The next generation tool will embody lessons learned over almost ten years of ADB activities aimed at improving the climate and disaster resilience of ADB investments, including inputs from a wide range of ADB staff and consultants.

The tool will be designed to provide scientifically credible and context specific screening of projects for risks associated with climate, climate change and a range of geophysical hazards at project concept stage in order to guide subsequent activities, including the design of adaptation and resilience strategies and interventions.

The next generation tool will provide greater access to the underlying data, greater flexibility in user-initiated exploration of specific risks, greater scope for screening more spatially complex projects such as road networks and power grids. The tool will also include a module that allows a light-touch Climate Risk and Adaptation (CRA) assessment to be produced, semi-automatically. Future modules will support Paris Alignment and automated completion of applicable sections of the adaptation (BB2) assessment.and will be expanded to provide a basis for more detailed climate risk and adaptation assessments as appropriate.

The methodology behind the tool is being developed by a specialized team of experts in which FutureWater provides expertise on climate and hazard data, climate model projections, and climate risk assessments. The methodology is based on an iterative and consultative process with an external expert group, ADB staff and experts on software development and user experience design. The methodology defines the risk calculation based on hazard, exposure and vulnerability spatial and project data, and user inputs.
The tool will also become available for ADB member countries. Two pilots in Laos and Uzbekistan will make sure that the tool will align with their requirements and datasets.

FutureWater is involved in testing the methodology in these pilot countries and developing example risk screening and CRA reports.