Last month, FutureWater, in partnership with Utrecht University and University of Friborg, embarked on a transformative mission to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, aimed at assisting the Tajik government with the Water Sector Reform Program.

This crucial program endeavors to enhance water resource planning and allocation strategies across various river basin zones. The necessity for such initiatives has become increasingly pressing as Tajikistan grapples with the adverse consequences of climate change on its cryosphere. The disruption in high mountain water supply and the consequential shifts in runoff composition and overall water availability have prompted a concerted effort to address this critical issue. The recent visit was a concerted effort to bridge the existing information gap by improving the capacity to collect, evaluate, and effectively utilize data from snow and glaciers in the Zarafshan river basin. 

The initial phase of the visit was centered around enhancing the technical capacity of local stakeholders. Notable participants included the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources (MEWR), the National Water Information System (NWIS), the Zarafshon River Basin (Zarafshon RBO), the Center of Glacier Research (CGR), and the Institute of Water Problems (IWP). Sixteen delegates from these institutions took part in the comprehensive “Training 1: Training Program on glacio-hydrological and water allocation modeling for the Zarafshon River Basin in Tajikistan with a focus on drone technologies”, delving into the intricate details of water resource modeling in the high mountains of the Zarafshan river basin. 

Trainers inaugurating the training in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Trainers proving the technical presentation on glacio-hydrological modelling
Participants doing the hands on demo session on modeling

The latter part of the training emphasized a participatory stakeholder consultation exercise, fostering structured discussions among partners regarding contributions to a potential data-information workflow. These deliberations aimed to facilitate sustainable cooperation among the MEWR, CGR, and IWP, specifically for the purpose of data collection for glacio-hydrological and water allocation modeling. Actively engaged in the discussions were Mr. Daler Abdurazokzoda, Head of Department at MEWR; Dr. Kayumov Abdulhamid, Director at CGR; and Amirzoda Orif Hamid, Director at IWP, prominent decision-makers who provided key insights on the shared responsibility. The result was an elevated sense of trust and collaboration among both national and international stakeholders.

Participatory stakeholder discussion.

During the second week, the focus shifted to “Training 2: Drone technologies for seasonal snow and glacier monitoring.” This segment elevated the stakeholder’s capability to collect high-altitude data, incorporating a comprehensive demonstration and hands-on training on the eBeeX drone with DGPS system. The training included an extensive understanding of the drone, its software, and the entire workflow required for efficient drone data collection. Notably, a data collection expedition with the eBeeX drone was organized for GGP glacier, marking a significant step forward in the project.

GGP glacier data collection expedition team before starting the hike to the glacier.

This robust dataset will serve as the foundation for establishing, calibrating, and validating Spatial Processes in Hydrology (SPHY) and WEAP models. The project’s ultimate aim is to utilize the model-chain to provide probabilistic flow forecasts based on seasonal meteorological data. These forecasts will be hosted on servers based in the Zarafshon RBO, ultimately contributing to the development of a comprehensive policy guidance note. This note will propose strategies for the development of a resilient integrated water resources management plan, ensuring both water availability and accessibility across the river basin.

With multiple training sessions and data collection expeditions planned, interested parties are encouraged to visit the project’s homepage and contact for further information.

Last Tuesday was a fruitful day for the SPHY community as FutureWater (FW) with support from Utrecht University (UU) and Centre for Applied Soil Science and Biology of the Segura (CEBAS) and Wageningen University (WUR) hosted the SPHY Webinar 2023. We were thrilled with the large turnout, both from those who joined us in Wageningen and those who tuned in online from around the world.

Our speakers touched on a wide range of important topics. They discussed changes in the cryosphere of the high-altitude areas in Asia and new advancements to combat soil erosion. The SPHY model’s flexibility was showcased through real-world examples, such as its role in assessing climate change effects on mountain water supplies and helping farmers adapt to changing weather. The array of topics was a testament to the versatility of the SPHY model and its applicability across a myriad of challenges in water resource management.

One of the day’s highlights was the unveiling of the new SPHY version 3.1. The update brings an array of technical and website improvements, making the program easier to use and more efficient in handling data. We also had a group discussion where SPHY users could share their experiences and ideas for future improvements. The feedback we received was invaluable and will play a key role in shaping SPHY’s development going forward.

In closing, we’d like to thank everyone who participated. Your contributions made the event a success and have us excited for the future of SPHY and water management as a whole. Stay tuned for more updates and upcoming events from us, as well as the official release of SPHY version 3.1 in the coming weeks!

On Tuesday 10 October 2023 FutureWater presents the much-anticipated SPHY Webinar 2023. This event offers a unique platform for professionals and enthusiasts engaged with the Spatial Processes in Hydrology (SPHY) model to engage in in-depth discussions on recent advancements, transformations, and public engagement initiatives related to SPHY. 

About SPHY 

The SPHY model is a versatile hydrological modeling tool designed to address a wide spectrum of water resource management challenges. It stands as a state-of-the-art, open-source, user-friendly, and robust tool suitable for both operational and strategic decision support. Developed using the Python programming language within the PCRaster dynamic modeling framework, SPHY is accessible to all, leveraging open-source software. Its continuous evolution and maintenance are spearheaded by FutureWater in collaboration with national and international clients and partners. 

Webinar Highlights 

The SPHY User Days 2023 will be held in a hybrid format in Wageningen on 10 and 11 October 2023. This event will bring together SPHY developers and dedicated users for intensive discussions about recent developments, transformations, and public outreach initiatives associated with SPHY. For the other users there is the possibility to join the webinar on Tuesday 10 October from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM CEST. 

 The webinar agenda features a wide range of presentations showcasing SPHY applications in the realm of high-altitude science, soil erosion processes, and practical applications. Additionally, we’ll delve into the latest updates regarding SPHY v3.1, followed by a plenary discussion on ongoing projects, objectives, and user aspirations. 

Join the session! 

To reserve your spot in this enlightening webinar, kindly complete the registration form by 30 September 2023. You’ll receive an email with a link and comprehensive event details shortly before the webinar commences. 

 For those interested in physical attendance or joining the full two-day event, please reach out to Sonu Khanal at 

 Don’t miss this exceptional opportunity to explore the world of SPHY and connect with fellow professionals and experts in the field. Join us as we delve into the exciting developments and applications of SPHY. See you on 10 October! 

The alarming decline of springs has been attributed to the rapid expansion of road networks, alongside changes in land cover and climate. Road development in these areas exposes springs to disturbances or alters their natural outflow, while rock cutting disrupts the location of spring orifices. This problem has largely gone unnoticed, posing a significant threat to the local communities and their water resources.

The overarching goal of the project is to reimagine roads as instruments for landscape improvement rather than adversaries, harnessing road development to contribute positively to local water resources. By integrating techniques and tools (Digital twins and DSS toolkit), the project aims to ensure safe and reliable water supplies for people in mountain areas while safeguarding the quality of road infrastructure and maintaining connectivity. The Dhankuta municipality and the Department of Local Infrastructure (DoLI), which regulates infrastructure development activities in Nepal, will be the primary beneficiaries of this project.

The expected results of the RoSPro project include:

  1. Successful implementation of roadside spring protection through pilot interventions in Dhankuta municipality and promote “Nature-based solutions” and “Green Roads for Water (GR4W)” approaches.
  2. Evidence generation on the impact of the pilot intervention through cost-benefit analysis.
  3. Assessment of the potential impact of upscaling roadside spring protection through the development of a digital twin and decision support toolkit.
  4. Capacity building for Dhankuta municipality and DoLI regarding roadside spring protection approaches, technologies, impact, and upscaling.

RoSPro will lead to improved water security for consumptive and productive uses, directly benefiting up to 500 households in the region. Following the pilot phase, the project aims to expand its services to established clients and partner networks in Asia and Africa. The demand for similar services is high in many high mountain countries, and RoSPro aims to generate a framework to upscale this at national and regional scales.

Thus, the RoSPro is a vital initiative that seeks to address the critical issue of dwindling springs in the Himalayas. By transforming road development into a contributor to local water resources, RoSPro will improve water safety and security, benefiting both the communities and the environment in these challenging mountainous regions.

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.

In support of climate change adaptation actions in the Himalayan region, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is collaborating with multiple partners at national and sub-national levels through the “Strengthening Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalayas (SCA-Himalayas)” project.

The aim of this project is to enhance institutional capacities across the Indian Himalayan Region, enabling effective planning, implementation, and mainstreaming of adaptation actions into projects, programs, and policy frameworks, with a strong focus on water resources management and disaster risk management. 

 As part of the project’s objective to achieve integrated water resources management (IWRM), experts from FutureWater (NL) and Utrecht University (NL) have been working on the development of a Glacio-hydrological and Water Allocation Model, with a specific focus on the Dingad catchment and Bhagirathi Valley in Uttarakhand. Building on this pioneering initiative, a ground-breaking training program on “Glacio-Hydrological Modelling under a Changing Climate in the Himalayas” was successfully conducted at the Central Water Commission (CWC) in New Delhi from 3rd to 7th July 2023. This transformative program aimed to address the escalating rate of glacial melt in the Himalayas and its implications for downstream river basins’ freshwater ecosystems. 

 Led by a distinguished team of experts from FutureWater and the University of Utrecht, the training program provided participants with both theoretical and hands-on training, utilizing state-of-the-art glacio-hydrological modelling tools employed in this project. The program placed significant emphasis on establishing the relationship between the modelling toolkit and water allocation modelling, ultimately resulting in the development of ‘glacio-hydrological modelling guidelines’ in collaboration with the Central Water Commission. The modelling guidelines will be launched during the final workshop scheduled in November, 2023. 

Figure1. Dr. Jonathan Demenge, Head of Cooperation at SDC, addressing the audience at the start of the training session.

During the inaugural session, Dr. Jonathan Demenge, Head of Cooperation at SDC and Shri Kushvinder Vohra, Chairman of the Central Water Commission, stressed the critical need for climate-responsive glacio-hydrological models that effectively analyze flow components and future projections in response to climate change. Dr. Sonu Khanal, senior hydrologist and climate change expert from FutureWater, highlighted the increasing demand for freshwater across all sectors and the significant importance of addressing climate change-induced variability and uncertainty in water availability in the Himalayan region.

Figure2. Inaugural session at the start of the training session.

The five-day training program, spanning from July 3rd to July 7th, 2023, equipped participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively confront the challenges posed by climate change in the Himalayas. It featured practical sessions on glacio-hydrological modelling, providing a valuable platform for participants to contribute to the sustainable development of the region. Upon completion of the training, participants were awarded a training certificate as recognition of their commitment to enhancing their expertise in glacio-hydrological modelling.

Figure3. Trainer providing the lectures and hands-on demonstration.
Figure4. Participants doing the hands-on exercise.
Figure5. Participants presenting their case studies at the end of the training.
Figure6. Certificates distribution and discussion session after the training.

With high anticipation, this training program is expected to pave the way for new scientific advancements and policy solutions, ultimately driving effective climate change adaptation actions in the Himalayas.


  • Sonu Khanal (FutureWater): Lead expert for the training session, with more than 11 years of experience in glacio-hydrological modeling of the Himalayas across Asia, Europe, and Africa.
  • Faezeh Nick (Utrecht University): Lead trainer for glacio-hydrological modelling, possessing over 16 years of experience working on glaciology, numerical modeling, hydrology, and climate change in the Himalayas and Greenland.

High Mountain Asia (HMA) serves as a major water source for large rivers in Asia. HMA consists of the Tibetan Plateau (TP), surrounded by the mountain ranges of Tien Shan, Pamir, Hindu Kush, and the Karakoram in the west, the Himalayas in the south and southeast, and Qilian Shan in the east. Over 1.4 billion people in various countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, depend on water originating from HMA. 

The climate of High Mountain Asia (HMA) has changed in recent decades. While the temperature is consistently increasing at a higher rate than the global warming rate, precipitation changes are inconsistent, with substantial temporal and spatial variation. Climate warming will have enormous consequences for hydroclimatic extremes. For the higher altitudes of the HMA, which are a significant source of water for the large rivers in Asia, often trends are calculated using a limited number of in situ observations mainly observed in valleys. This study explores the changes in mean, extreme, and compound-extreme climate variables and their seasonality along the full altitudinal range in HMA using daily ERA5 reanalysis data (1979–2018).  

The river basins analyzed in this study (black boundaries). Gray lines represent the upstream region of each major river basin. The background represents the elevation of the region. The arrows represent the major atmospheric circulation system, red for monsoon and blue for westerlies, in HMA. Also shown is the spatial distribution of mean annual (b) precipitation (mm) and (c) temperature (°C) during 1979–2018 across HMA.

Our analysis show that winter warming and summer wetting dominate the interior part of HMA. The results indicate a coherent significant increasing trend in the occurrence of heatwaves across all regions in HMA. The number of days with heavy precipitation shows more significant trends in southern and eastern basins than in other areas of HMA. The dry period occurrence shows a distinct demarcation between lower- and higher-altitude regions and is increasing for most basins. Although precipitation and temperature show variable tendencies, their compound occurrence is coherent in the monsoon-dominated basins. These changes in indicators of climatic extremes may imply substantial increases in the future occurrence of hazards such as floods, landslides, and droughts, which in turn impact economic production and infrastructure. 

This work has been led by our employee Mr. Sonu Khanal under the PanTPE project. FutureWater has been working for the past 15 years in the region to address the issues related with water resources, cryosphere, and climate change.

For more information about the work please visit the following link. 

For the operationalization of climate change adaptation actions in the Himalayan region, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) supports multiple partners at the national and sub-national level through the project “Strengthening Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalayas (SCA-Himalayas)” to enhance the institutional capacities across the Indian Himalayan Region to plan, implement and mainstream adaptation actions into projects, programs, and policy frameworks, with a focus on water resources management and disaster risk management.

To cover the ambitious objectives of an Integrated water resources management (IWRM), a consortium of experts from FutureWater (NL), Utrecht University (NL), University of Geneva (CH), and TERI (IN) was mandated to develop a glacio-hydrological and a Water Allocation Model with a focus on Dingad catchment and Bhagirathi Valley in Uttarakhand.

It is proposed that through a series of virtual and in-country training, the methodology, results and glacio-hydrological modeling tools (Spatial Processes in Hydrology–SPHY) shall be shared with the Central Water Commission (CWC), India. CWC after this training may carry forward the research and contribute towards the implementation of IWRM in the Indian Himalayan region.

With this perspective, three virtual capacity-building sessions on “Glacio-hydrological modeling with SPHY in the Indian Himalayan region” is being organized to train the staff member of CWC that were assigned for this purpose. The first virtual session is organized on 9th March 2023.

Participants of the training

These virtual training sessions will be accompanied by the final in-country training on 3-7th July in Delhi, India, targeting a larger group of CWC staff.

A team of international experts will present conceptual background, inputs, model components, outputs, modelling results and guide the participants to apply SPHY glacio-hydrological model. International experts will provide virtual presentations on these aspects to the participants.

Target participants

The virtual training is addressed to five CWC officials which have been assigned, assuming the following expertise and skills:

  • Prior knowledge and experience with water resources data analysis, water resources management and planning, preferably in the Bhagirathi Basin
  • Good skills in data management tools e.g. excel spreadsheets, extracting basic statistics, preferably also related to GIS and modeling.
  • Willingness to participate in a future training session in July 2023.


  • Dr Sonu Khanal (FutureWater), the lead expert for the training session; an expert on glacio-hydrological modeling of the Himalayas, with more than 10 years of experience in Asia, Europe, and Africa.
  • Dr. Faezeh Nick (Utrecht University), lead trainer for glacio-hydrological modelling; an expert on glacio-hydrological modeling of the Himalayas and Greenland, with over 16 years of experience working on glaciology, numerical modeling, hydrology and climate change.

More information about the project can be found here.


With a target to increase the gross domestic product from $70 billion in 2021 to $160 billion by 2030, the Government of Uzbekistan is taking steps to ensure that it will be able to meet the spike in electricity demand which is expected to double by 2030. Initiatives include installing an additional 17 gigawatts capacity to the existing available capacity of 12.9 GW, out of which 8 GW will be from renewable energy projects. Currently, the distribution system in Uzbekistan comprises of more than 260,000 kilometers of 0.4-110 kV networks, 1,655 substations and more than 86,000 transformer points. However, more than 50% of the lines have been operational for 30 years and 30% of the substation transformers are in dire need of rehabilitation. Therefore, the Asian Development Bank is working closely with the Joint Stock Company Regional Electric Power Networks (JSC REPN) to: i) Rehabilitate and modernize the distribution substations, ii) Rehabilitate associated distribution lines, and iii) Enhance the institutional capacity for financial sustainability and climate resiliency.

These rehabilitation efforts will also take into account and address the growing impacts of climate change in the region. For this, FutureWater has been assigned to carry out a climate risk and adaptation assessment (CRA). FutureWater will make use of state-of-the-art downscaled Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) ensembles, and other relevant hazards and local information to develop this CRA. Insights from the CRA will be used to devise adaptation strategies. Additionally, FutureWater will be reviewing the existing meteorological monitoring network and recommending additional potential monitoring sites for improved surveillance in the country. To further assist the Government of Uzbekistan actualize its second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) agenda which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of GDP by 35% (compared to the level in 2010), by the year 2030, FutureWater will also develop a GHG account and prepare a Paris Agreement alignment assessment.

The inital Climate Risk Assessment (CRA) by FutureWater in 2021 for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) identified the need for a detailed CRA for the DKSHEP to understand the risk posed by the changing climate on hydropower and the environment. Therefore, the objective of this Climate Risk and Adaptation Assessment (CRA) is to assess the vulnerability of the project components to future climate change and recommend adaptation options for climate-proofing the design. This CRA covers both type 2 adaptation, related to system change and resilience building, as well as type 1 adaptation related to climate-proofing. FutureWater will support ADB to ensure that the project will adequately address climate change mitigation and adaptation in accordance with ADB’s requirements.

FutureWater will make use of state-of-the-art downscaled Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) ensembles, and other relevant hazards and local information to develop this CRA. Insights from the CRA will be used to devise adaptation strategies. FutureWater will also ensure climate resilience measures are incorporated into the detailed design and environmental management planning before finalizing the climate change risk assessment. Together with the client’s engineering and safeguards team (Nepal Electricity Authority), FutureWater will ensure that the detailed design and environmental management plans incorporate all other recommended climate resilience measures and that their implementation is sufficiently detailed including bioengineering techniques, nature-based solutions, and an early warning system. FutureWater will collate the information and work closely with the national geological and GLOF consultants to review all available options for (i) sediment management plan, (ii) upstream catchment management plan, and (iii) emergency preparedness and response plan. FutureWater will provide several capacity-building sessions to the project team on the findings of the initial CRA, and the potential options for climate resilience measures to incorporate in the project design and operation to address the risks identified. Moreover, this project will develop a GHG account and prepare SARD climate change screening and Paris Agreement alignment assessment.