FutureWater supports Fiera Comox in its due diligence process for the acquisition of a vertically integrated tree-fruit operation in North Spain. Particularly, FutureWater addresses an overall assessment of the most important water-related factors of risk that may control the current and medium-term feasibility of the fruit orchard farming system of interest. The application of FutureWater’s approach applies a multicriteria analysis and allows to qualify the levels of risk for each key factor analyzed.

FutureWater’s approach rests on: 1) the collection and analysis of data retrieved from documents, large datasets, and in-situ field inspections and stakeholder interviews, and 2) the scoring of the risks previously identified based on a final expert judgment.

Key sources of information for this risk screening included:

  • Existing documentation, reports, plans, and local legislation that may affect the access to water for irrigation
  • Existing and publicly accessible spatial and GIS data, including satellite imagery and thematic datasets available through national and regional agencies and platforms (Ebro River Basin Authority, National Infrastructure of Geospatial Data, Spanish Information System of Water)
  • Meteorological data (rainfall and temperature) from nearby weather stations
  • Groundwater level from the Spanish National Ministry of Environment.
  • Private data and documents generated by clients and stakeholders through personal and follow-up communications with farmer

Key variables analyzed and evaluated at the district and regional scales, to the extent relevant to the farm, included:

  • Water availability of surface and groundwater resources. For groundwater, a trend analysis of water levels, and first-order assessment of quality constraints and risks is included.
  • Impacts of climate change on water resources availability based on rainfall and temperature trends and projections for the region.
  • Water quality for irrigation purposes.
  • Potential conflicts due to competition for water in agriculture and other sectors of activity.

Legislative and policy-related factors that may affect the overall performance were also analyzed risk-by-risk.

Four factors of risk were analyzed: water availability, climate change, water quality, and water conflict. Each factor of risk was scored according to a risk matrix in which levels of probability of occurrence and impact severity were qualified based on data and expert judgement. For each factor, a risk matrix with three levels of overall risk were adopted: Low Risk (L), Moderate Risk (M), and High Risk (H)

Figure 1. Overall risk levels when probability of occurrence and impact severity are qualified.
Figure 2. Overview of risk assessment by factor.

In this particular project, the approach was implemented in four different settings located in the area.

Tajikistan has initiated the Water Sector Reform Program, aiming to enhance water resource planning and allocation across different river basin zones. However, the development of a comprehensive integrated water resources management plan is hindered by a lack of data on snow and glacier melt. The impact of climate change on the cryosphere, including changes in glacier ice storage, snow dynamics, and evaporation rates, further compounds the issue by affecting high mountain water supply and altering runoff composition and overall water availability.

To address this challenge, the “Integrated Rural Development Project” (IRDP), implemented by GIZ as part of the bilateral development project “Towards Rural Inclusive Growth and Economic Resilience (TRIGGER),” focuses on enhancing the value of agricultural production in Tajikistan. As part of the project, the Water Output (Output 1.5) provides technical support to the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources (MEWR) in the Zarafshon River Basin and at the national level. This support includes technical advisory services, capacity building, training measures, and improving access to irrigation water for small-scale farmers. Local relevant stakeholders foreseen as project beneficiaries are MEWR, Zarafshon River Basin (Zarafshon RBO), Center of Glacier Research (CGR), the Institute of Water Problems (IWP) and the Agency for Hydrometeorology, Tajikistan.

The project has three core components: data collection, modeling, and capacity building, as outlined below. Data collection will include both field monitoring campaigns using UAVs and retrieving historical records which could either be past in-situ observations, remotely sensed or modelled data. This comprehensive dataset will be used to set up, calibrate and validate Spatial Processes in Hydrology (SPHY) and WEAP models. The project will use the model-chain to provide the probabilistic flow forecast (likelihood to be in dry, medium, or wet conditions) using the seasonal meteorological forecast data. The SPHY-WEAP model-chain will then be deployed in the Zarafshon RBO-based servers. The results of the model-chain will be used to develop a comprehensive policy guidance note, proposing strategies and a way forward for developing a robust climate-resilient integrated water resources management plan that will ensure both water availability and accessibility across the river basin. Capacity building is a critical component of the project to ensure its sustainability and upscaling. Therefore, six capacity-building trainings (online and in-country) targeting different technical areas of the project will be organized throughout the project.

By undertaking these efforts, we aim to contribute to the successful implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management in Zarafshon and Tajikistan.

The objective of the study is to develop a high-level climate change assessment for Georgia with a focus on water resources and the agricultural sector. The work includes an assessment of climate-related impacts on water resources, identification of priorities at a national level, and preparation of a list of climate investment priorities based on climate analytics and appropriate tools and models and prior work done in the region. The output of the study will contribute to the proposed roadmap for the CAREC Water Pillar and will feed into the ongoing formulation of the Country Partnership Strategies for Georgia. The acquired results will inform follow-up work on the CAREC Water Pillar and provide input to future ADB programming and investment in the agriculture, natural resources, and rural development (ANR) sector.

The project consists of two major outputs:

  • Output 1: Estimation of future water resources for Georgia up to 2050
    A quantitative and qualitative assessment will be undertaken using a combination of primary and secondary data and analytics. The combination of data sources will define the current state of water resources and future water demands, considering population growth and changes in sectoral demand.
  • Output 2: Identification of opportunities for water resources development
    Opportunities for water resources development will be identified based on output 1, stakeholder consultations, the mapping of activities of other development partners, and desk-based literature review.

The Asian Development Bank with support of FutureWater delivered a workshop on climate and disaster risk information tools in Laos.

Several sector-focused training sessions were provided to ministry officials engaged in food security (19 June) and housing and transport (20 June). The training programme will be followed up by a hands-on training on the application of the tools and for a specific training on GIS and the use of the climate risk-checklist that was developed for development projects. A guideline on using climate and disaster risk information, including the checklist and referencing the published data report, will be prepared for stakeholder consultation later this year.

FutureWater is currently working with the ADB to develop a next-generation tool for climate risk assessments of investment projects, for which Laos is one of the pilot countries. The workshop was delivered under a regional Technical Assistance supported by the Government of Austria.

Workshop participants receiving training Climate and Disaster Risk Information Tools, Vientiane, 20 June 2023.

FutureWater supported the Asian Development Bank with the organization of a regional workshop on climate and disaster risk-informed investments, which was held in Bangkok on 22-23 June.

The objective of the workshop was to foster the integration of climate and disaster risk information into development agendas, to enhance resilience, ensure sustainability of development investments, and promote long-term economic stability. The workshop brought together representatives from ministries of finance, planning, climate change, disaster management as well as central and national development banks from Armenia, Bhutan, Fiji, Georgia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand, Tonga, and Uzbekistan.

FutureWater provided several sessions on climate risk information, climate and disaster risk tools, risk assessment methodologies, and chaired a panel session. FutureWater is currently working with the ADB to develop a next-generation tool for climate risk assessments of investment projects. The workshop was under a regional TA supported by the Government of Austria.

Workshop participants from Armenia, Bhutan, Fiji, Georgia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand, Tonga, and Uzbekistan, ADB and FutureWater staff, and partners convene to discuss risk-informed investments in Bangkok, 22 June 2023.

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.

For more information you can visit the WE-ACT project website.

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