Early September at the Global Gravity-based Groundwater Product (G3P) General Assembly in Zurich, FutureWater, along with 11 other consortium partners, gathered to present scientific results, project milestones, and discuss the way forward. For context, the G3P product monitors groundwater storage changes with global coverage at a monthly resolution (2002 – present) through a cross-cutting combination of GRACE and GRACE-FO satellite data. The product is being developed for operational implementation of the Essential Climate Variable (ECV) Groundwater into the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

As part of the project, FutureWater is responsible for validating the G3P product against in-situ groundwater observations in continental Spain (at pixel level) as well as use it to calibrate a Groundwater Drought Index and integrate it into InfoSequia which is FutureWater’s in-house Drought Early Warning System.

From FutureWater, Tania Imran presented the research findings from the validation case study in Spain while Sergio Contreras shared the technical workflow for the ingestion of the G3P product in InfoSequia. Different statistical metrics were adopted to assess the correlation between the GRACE-groundwater storage anomalies and in-situ groundwater index. Cross-correlations, obtained at 0.5-degree resolution, were presented followed by a discussion on the spatial patterns observed and the potential influence of local hydro(geo)logical conditions on the results.

As the groundwater storage anomaly is derived by accounting for changes in glaciers, snow, soil moisture and surface water, other consortium partners responsible for developing these accounts also shared insights on the most optimal approach to compute water storage variations in such compartments.

Since the project is now in its concluding phase, FutureWater is condensing the research findings in a report that will highlight the performance of G3P in continental Spain and show how the product can refine drought early warning systems.

The TWIGA Final Conference was held on 11 and 12 July as a hybrid event in De Oude Bibliotheek in Delft, the Netherlands, and online. The event gathered on both days 27 participants present in person and 15 online, including consortium partners, representatives of two sister projects AfriCultuReS and e-Shape, Advisory Board members, and the EC Project Officer.

Over the past 4 years, the TWIGA project provided actionable geo-information on weather, water, and climate in Africa through innovative combinations of new in situ sensors and satellite-based geo-data. The TWIGA consortium comprised seven research organisations, nine SMEs and two government organisations. In addition it used a network of 500 ground weather stations in Africa, providing ready-to-use technical infrastructure.

The program was structured to present the results of the project per Work Package during the first day, which was an internal consortium meeting, and the demonstration of the TWIGA Services, the legacy of TWIGA, and the future opportunities during the second day, which was a public event.

FutureWater team members Sergio Contreras, Corjan Nolet and Martijn de Klerk presented the successful development of the MapYourCrop drone service and InfoSequia drought early warning service. More information on the project can be found here.

TWIGA Aftermovie: 

TWIGA partners
Sergio Contreras presenting InfoSequia.
Corjan Nolet presenting MapYourCrop

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.

InfoSequia is the Drought Early Warning and Forecasting System developed by FutureWater to support the decision-making and risk management of drought impacts. InfoSequia rests on an advanced cloud computing and geoprocessing architecture able to effectively integrate large volume of data from satellite, reanalysis and ground-observation networks, with machine learning techniques to generate local-tailored seasonal outlooks of drought risk failures at the river basin and agricultural district levels.

InfoSequia has been recently and effectively integrated into the TWIGA geoportal, a platform that offers to African users the possibility for accessing data from ground-observation networks, and climate or agro- services with monitoring and forecasting capabilities.

The new and enhanced InfoSequia indices and products are operationally delivered for the Inkomati River Basin, a transboundary basin which extends through South Africa, Eswatini and Mozambique.

This lite service includes a full suite of 3 dekad-based (10-days) meteorological drought indices and 3 dekad-based vegetative health indices, all of them timescale aggregated at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months, and updated every month. The service is easily scalable and user-tailored to other regions of Africa upon request and agreement with FutureWater. Thanks to the advanced front-end capabilities of the TWIGA portal, users can easily access InfoSequia data and incorporate them into dashboards specifically set up according to their information needs.

A video was made to highlight how InfoSequía has been implemented, watch it here:

More information about the FutureWater’s approach on Water Scarcity and Drought can be found here.

 

One-pager brochure of InfoSequia-TWIGA for Africa. Downloadable as PDF here.

 

FutureWater recently submitted the InfoSequia solution to the 2nd Dinapsis Challenge, an innovation call launched by Dinapsis, the network of digital hubs of the Agbar group.

This second challenge focused on innovative solutions and apps developed to cope with “Extreme weather events, optimization of water consumption, and management of wastewater”. 48 proposals were submitted to the challenge, of which 5 finally passed to the final phase of the call which was held in the Dinapsis hub located in Cartagena. InfoSequia was introduced through a short video after which FutureWater staff, represented by Sergio Contreras and Amelia Fernández, answered the jury’s questions.

InfoSequia is the Drought Early Warning and Forecasting System developed by FutureWater to support the decision-making and risk management of drought impacts. InfoSequia rests on a cloud computing and geoprocessing architecture which allows the integration of large volume of data retrieved from satellite, reanalysis and ground-observation datasets, and machine learning techniques to generate local-tailored seasonal outlooks of drought risk failures at the river basin and agricultural district levels.

More information on the Dinapsis event can be found on YouTube. FutureWater’s approach on Water Scarcity and Drought can be found here.

InfoSequia video at 2nd Dinapsis Open Challenge

FutureWater and finalists at the 2nd Dinapsis Challenge.

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.

FutureWater and IDOM have delivered the final report titled “Prognosis: Trends and Scenarios” developed in project “Indicative Land Use Plan for (PIOTA) for the Panama Canal Basin (PCB)”. The PIOTA-CHCP project, which is led by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), aims to produce strategic guidelines to achieve sustainable and climate-robust territorial and socioeconomic development in the river basin.

The report recently delivered to the ACP includes a detailed analysis on how water security in the basin can be affected by a plausible range of socioeconomic development, land use changes and climate change trajectories which have been envisioned and projected for the region. Also, a wide range of adaptation options and policies were assessed which can reduce the vulnerabilities around climate change. For this purpose, a Robust Decision Making Methodology (RDM) has been adopted that combines the usage of a coupled model of surface hydrology and water supply-demand, and the numerical simulation of a wide range of territorial, climatic and adaptation scenarios (Figure 1). These analyses resulted in so-called “Climate Response Surfaces” (CRS) of the basin, from which the climatic robustness of the system can be assessed. Concrete recommendations and adaptation pathways follow from this analysis, as guidance for the Land Use Plan.

Flow diagram of Robust Decision Making methodology used (left) and a schematic of the WEAP model.
Figure 1. Flow diagram of Robust Decision Making methodology used (left) and a schematic of the WEAP model.

The delivery of the final report has been preceded by different activities that included:

  • Technical meetings with decision makers and technical staff of the ACP. These meetings aimed to: a) guarantee the integration of the results derived from the previous stage of the project, b) design, built and parameterize the WEAP-CHCP model, and c) define the most plausible scenarios of territorial development and adaptation.
  • A capacity building and training course focused on the general use of the WEAP modelling tool, and particularly on the WEAP-CHCP model built for the PIOTA project.
  • Two participatory public workshops which aimed to present and validate the intermediate results of the prognostic phase in close cooperation with all the key stakeholders in the region (Figure 2).
Participants in the workshop on outcomes of the water resources and climate robustness assessment which was organized online due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Figure 2. Participants in the workshop on outcomes of the water resources and climate robustness assessment which was organized online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

For more information, link

This week a training to various experts in Panama has started on the use of the WEAP tool to assess climate risks and future water resources availability and demands. The training will focus on water users in the river basin belonging to the Panama Canal, including the water requirements for the operation of the canal itself. Also the simulation of land use scenarios will be covered in the course.

The training is part of a project that aims at developing a climate-robust land use plan for the river basin. This project is funded by the IADB and FutureWater executes the project in collaboration with IDOM.

The training takes place during two weeks, divided in several half-day sessions. The participants are technical staff working for the Panama Canal Authority and the Ministry of the Environment of Panama.

This project is part of the technical-innovation support provided by FutureWater to ECOPRADERAS, an EIP-AGRI Operational Group led by Ambienta Ing. and co-funded by the EU and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture. As a general objective, ECOPRADERAS aims to improve the sustainable management of grasslands located at the Alagon Valley (Extremadura, Spain) through: (1) the transfer and implementation of innovative technologies, (2) the identification and strengthening of good cultural practices, and (3) the dissemination of the most relevant information and results among end users.

In the frame of ECOPRADERAS, FutureWater is tasked with the development of an operational monitoring tool able to inform, at the regional scale, on the health status of the grasslands by using satellite data of moderate spatial resolution. The ECOPRADERAS monitor includes the following innovative features:

  • Generation of a categorical index indicative of the health status of grasslands based on the combination of indices of spatial and temporal greenness anomalies.
  • Higher spatial details by using satellite images of moderate spatial resolution (collection of Landsat-8TM of 30 m resolution)
  • Large improvement for collecting and processing large satellite datasets by using the Google Earth Engine cloud-based geoprocessing platform (collection of Landsat-8TM from January 2014 onwards)
  • A user friendly web-mapping interface to visualize outputs

The methodology used by FutureWater uses massive data processing technologies in the cloud (Google Earth Engine) to compute a pixel-based categorical index that result of the combination of a spatial and a temporal anomaly of the greenness index (NDVI). After a local calibration that needs to be adopted, this qualitative index, called the Combined Index of Normalized Anomalies (ICAN) (figure), classifies the status of grasslands in the region of interest into different categories that informs on the health grasslands and how are they being managed. With the ICAN, land managers and local actors can early detect those portions in the landscape in which management practices may pose a risk for the sustainability of the agropastoral system and then would require special attention for improving them.

Logic diagram for computing the Combined Index of Normalized Anomalies (ICAN) in the ECOPRADERAS Monitor.The specific tasks developed by FutureWater included: the definition of a methodological framework for monitor the health of grasslands at the regional scale, the design of a processing and web-mapping platform and its practical implementation in the Alagon Valley (182 km2) from September 2019 to July 2020, and the calibration-validation of the results by comparing outputs with field observations collected in different pilot sites by other project partners.

An evaluation of the results points out to the strength of the methodology. The processing architecture is also easily scalable to other regions and rangeland landscapes. Further improvements have been also envisioned. The ECOPRADERAS Monitor stands as a very powerful tool to guide landscape managers local stakeholders on better decisions.

ECOPRADERAS Monitor at the Alagon Valley (Extremadura, Spain)