For the BONEX project, FutureWater visited the project partner University of Cordoba (UCO) to discuss the joint development of the enhanced Water-Energy-Food-ecosystem tool, based on the REWAS tool that was co-developed with FAO.

The team of  hydro-economists from UCO presented their recent research and developments in the project. Johannes Hunink presented the first prototype of the tool and discussed the concepts, processes and assumptions in the current version of the nexus tool. Typically WEF-nexus tools provide only qualitative information on the nexus links, while the aim for this tool is to visualize and assess the actual links between Water, Food, Energy and the Ecosystem through quantitative indicators. Next steps were discussed on the piloting of the prototype in the Spanish case study and elsewhere in the Mediterranean area.

BONEX is a project funded by the PRIMA programme focused on providing practical adapted tools to facilitate the practical implementation of the WEFE (Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem) nexus in the Mediterranean. More information can be found on the webiste of the project here.

Workflow of the REWEFe tool.
Consortium meeting in Córdoba

Over the last decades, efficient water resources management has been an important element of EU’s water policies, a topic that is addressed with renewed attention in the revised 2021 EU Adaptation Strategy, which lists the need for a knowledge-based approach towards water-saving technologies and instruments such as efficient water resources allocation. The IPCC special report on oceans and the cryosphere in a changing climate (2019) highlights the combination of water governance and climate risks as potential reasons for tension over scarce water resources within and across borders, notably competing demands between hydropower and irrigation, in transboundary glacier- and snow-fed river basins in Central Asia.

WE-ACT’s innovative approach consists of two complementary innovation actions: the first is the development of a data chain for a reliable water information system, which in turn enables the second, namely design and roll-out of a decision support system for water allocation. The data chain for the reliable water information system consists of real-time in-situ hydrometeorological and glaciological monitoring technology, modelling of the water system (including water supply and demand modelling and water footprint assessments) and glacier mass balance, data warehouse technology and machine learning. The roll-out of the DSS for climate-risk informed water allocation consists of stakeholder and institutional analyses, water valuation methods, the setup of the water information system to allow for a user-friendly interface, development of water allocation use cases, and feedback on water use through national policy dialogues.

The work of FutureWater within the WE-ACT study will focus on estimating the water demand and water footprints of the different users and activities within the Syr Darya river basin. Therefore, the effects of water allocation on water footprints, unmet water demand and environmental flow violations will be evaluated using a set of hydrological models such as SPHY and Water Allocation models (WEAP). This will be done for both the status quo and future scenarios.

FutureWater and project partners organized a training programme on “Integrated Water Resources Modelling under a Changing Climate in the Indian Himalayas”, from 21-24 November 2022 at National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), New Delhi in collaboration with NIH.

To promote water security in Himalayan states of India, SDC promotes decision support tools and capacity building on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). A consortium of national and international experts from FutureWater, Utrecht University from the Netherlands, University of Geneva and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India was mandated to develop a glacio-hydrological and a water allocation model, develop an online Decision Support System and IWRM guidelines.

One key objective of this initiative is to undertake extensive capacity building in glacio-hydrological modelling and IWRM planning for relevant stakeholders. This four-day training program will focus on glacio-hydrological and water allocation modelling techniques to support an IWRM plan through onsite hands-on training and e-learning modules to enhance capacity of the stakeholders.

The training program was inaugurated by Dr. Sudhir Kumar, Director, National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee. He emphasised that as the IWRM concept considers viewpoints of human groups, factors of the human environment, and aspects of natural water systems together to bring out sustainable water management strategies, it provides a “comprehensive water management” plan.

Mr. Rishi Srivastava, Chief Engineer, Basin Planning & Management Organisation, Central Water Commission (CWC), who was connected virtually, underscored the importance of developing the IWRM considering local context for it to be successful He also highlighted the importance of considering environmental water in the IWRM plan.

Dr. Johannes Hunink, Managing Director, FutureWater gave an overview of the project and Dr. Sanjay Jain, Scientist G and Head, Water Resources System Division, NIH emphasized on the importance of glacio-hydrological modelling to understand future water availability in a mountain river basin and described the activities that NIH is undertaking presently on cryosphere.

Participants for the training programme are drawn from various state government departments and educational institutions in Uttarakhand.

For more information, please visit the project page and the SPHY (Spatial Processes in Hydrology model) website.

Presentations during training sessions

On November 29-30, FutureWater participated and supported the organization of the Regional Workshop on Establishing the CAREC Water Pillar, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Regional workshop served as a platform to discuss regional cooperation project activities that respond to the needs of the region where demand for water is increasing amid climate change, natural disasters and economies expand. It aimed to define a shortlist of priority activities for the Water Pillar and provide inputs on the composition and role of a Water Pillar sector working group.

“Effects of climate change are already being seen through the occurrence of more extremes of flood, drought and heat and greater unpredictability of river flows. In coordination with the regional programs of inter-governmental organizations and development partners, the CAREC Water Pillar can take its place in providing integrated support to the countries of the region”, said Deputy Director of ADB’s Uzbekistan Resident Mission Enrico Pinali.

“Managing the more variable annual and seasonal flow regimes will be more effective if relevant information can be shared openly and where platforms for dialogue on operations are mainstreamed into management systems. Evidence from other CAREC sectors and from water cooperation in other regions clearly demonstrate the value of a cooperative approach”, said Yasmin Siddiqi, Director, Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division (CWER), Central and West Asia Department, ADB.

During a two-day workshop, participants attended working sessions on Water Pillar’s three blocks: 1): Climate resilient and productive water systems; 2): Sustainable water resources and water services; 3) Nexus solutions and cross sector learning. The expected outcome of the Workshop will be a set of components for inclusion in three initial project proposals.

This workshop was preceded by several virtual consultation meetings which shaped the framework for the Water Pillar under the CAREC 2030 Strategy and involved participants from water-related government agencies, regional organizations and institutes and development partners.

Participants of the workshop

A stakeholder meeting on Glacio-hydrological modelling and IWRM planning for a sub-basin in Bhagirathi Basin, Uttarakhand was organized on 25 November, 2022 by FutureWater and project partners, in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Government of Uttarakhand in Dehradun.

SDC, as part of its strategy on climate change adaptation, has been partnering with the national and the sub-national governments of the Himalayan States for water resources management. SDC is supporting the operationalization of climate change adaptation actions in the State of Uttarakhand through the “Strengthening Climate Change Adaptation in Himalayas (SCA-Himalayas)” project during 2020-24. The project works in close collaboration with the Directorate of Environment Conservation and Climate Change, Government of Uttarakhand.

The accelerated rate of glacial melt in some of the important glaciers in Uttarakhand will have serious consequences for the freshwater ecosystems in the downstream river basins. The water demand is growing across all sectors- agriculture, industrial and domestic. The variability and uncertainty in water availability and increased demand across sectors raise concern among stakeholders and policymakers. To ensure water security for all in India, and in particular Himalayan states, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is the key solution. To cover the ambitious objectives on an IWRM, a consortium of national and international experts from FutureWater, Utrecht University from the Netherlands, University of Geneva and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India was mandated to develop a glacio-hydrological and a water allocation model with focus on Dingad Catchment (encompassing Dokriani glacier) and Bhagirathi River Basin in Uttarakhand to support development of an IWRM plan.

The objective of the stakeholder meeting was to present the progress on various activities such as glacio-hydrological and water allocation modelling, analysis of various adaptation options and development of a web-Decision Support System (DSS) to support preparation and implementation of the IWRM plan.

For more information, please visit the project page.

Stakeholder meeting venue


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