FutureWater, together with HKV and Yangon Technological University, have successfully organized a symposium on Advanced cloud computing for water resources management in Myanmar on 13th of December 2019. The symposium was organized under the framework of the Orange Knowledge Tailor-Made Training (TMT) Program, which is funded by NUFFIC, the Dutch organization for internationalization in education. The symposium was attended by participants from Yangon Technological University, Myanmar Maritime University, Government Organizations, Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), Irrigation and Water Utilization Management Department (IWUMD), Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (DWIR) and Dutch embassy in Myanmar.

The symposium focused on the application of open source Google Earth Engine platform for management of floods, drought, erosion and sedimentation issues in Myanmar. It started with a keynote speech from Mr. Johan Heymans, a Water attaché for the Dutch Embassy in Myanmar. He highlighted in his speech the importance of Google Earth Engine for the water professionals in Myanmar. The keynote speech was followed by presentations from FutureWater and HKV, where we highlighted the interesting application of GEE in some of our projects. Finally, participants presented their stimulating findings and skills obtained during their previous trainings. The symposium was followed by a brief discussion on the use of GEE institutionally by the attending government and private institution. All the training documents and presentations are published on the repository of Myanmar Water Portal.

Participants of the symposium.

Myanmar is a country with huge water and agriculture-related challenges. However, ground data on e.g. river flows, rainfall and crop growth are only very sparsely available. This training supported by Nuffic aimed to build capacity across the water sector in Myanmar in overcoming these limitations by using Google Earth Engine, a state-of-the art tool for accessing and processing a wealth of geographical datasets. Participants from academia, higher education, and govenment agencies, attended two training sessions hosted by YTU (the main requesting organization) and implemented by FutureWater and HKV. During the intermediate period, remote support was offered to the participants via Skype, email and the dedicated Facebook page. Results of the individual assignments, which were formulated by the participants based on their personal objectives, were presented in a final symposium.

Higher educational staff was trained to achieve sustainable impact by implementing Google Earth Engine in their curricula and train a new generation of modern and well-equipped water professionals. Public sector representatives participated to obtain skills that can be directly and sustainably implemented in their respective organizations, to benefit effective and equitable water management.

Flooding has always been a major cause of natural disasters in a mountainous country like Nepal. Among the many natural disasters that affect Nepal, the recurring floods during the monsoon season have catastrophic consequences every year. Nepal’s fragile geological conditions and complex topography combined with frequently occurring extreme rainfall during the monsoon poses risks to communities living along the flood plains. In order to ensure good flood management practices and the development of long-term water management strategies a good understanding of key hydrological processes and the ability to simulate future changes in streamflow is a prerequisite.

During recent years, FutureWater has done many projects in collaboration with NGO’s, INGO’s and academic institutions in Nepal. This is the first time FutureWater collaborated with the Institute of Forestry (IOF), Nepal to provide their teaching faculty and researchers a training on “Use of open source platform for hydrological modelling of data sparse regions in Nepal”. The Tailor Made Training (TMT) was fully funded by NUFFIC’s Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) and took place from 8 April to 24 April 2019 in Pokhara, Nepal.

Essential skills, in particular modelling of hydrological processes are currently lacking at IOF, hampering the capacity to gain deep understanding of the present and future flood management situation in the region. Therewith IOF faces difficulties in developing long-term strategies to deal with climate change impacts for Nepal’s water resources. Further, the lack of ground-based measurements in the Himalayan region imposes an additional level of complexity while modelling the hydrological characteristics of this region. The use of readily available open source satellite-based data can augment the limited ground-based observation in the region.

Overall, the training fulfilled all the needs of the IOF, and was positively evaluated by the participants. This training program has encouraged the faculty members from IOF to use open source data and platforms in their future research and teaching.

The SREB is part of the Belt and Road Initiative, being a development strategy that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries. Essentially, the SREB includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The initiative calls for the integration of the region into a cohesive economic area through building infrastructure, increasing cultural exchanges, and broadening trade. A major part of the SREB traverses Asia’s high-altitude areas, also referred to as the Third Pole or the Asian Water Tower. In the light of the planned development for the SREB traversing the Third Pole and its immediate surroundings, the “Pan-Third Pole Environment study for a Green Silk Road (Pan-TPE)” program will be implemented.

The project will assess the state and fate of water resources in the region under following research themes:

1. Observed and projected Pan-TPE climate change
2. Impacts on the present and future Water Tower of Asia
3. The Green Silk Road and changes in water demand
4. Adaptation for green development

The Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) is part of the Belt and Road Initiative, being a development strategy that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries. Essentially, the SREB includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The initiative calls for the integration of the region into a cohesive economic area through building infrastructure, increasing cultural exchanges, and broadening trade. A major part of the SREB traverses Asia’s high-altitude areas, also referred to as the Third Pole or the Asian Water Tower. Most hydrological research has focused on the southern parts of the mountain ranges (i.e. the river basins encompassing the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges, whereas the northern and western domains of the Third Pole (i.e. the domains traversed by the planned SREB) form a research gap. The Chinese Academy of Sciences launched a multi-year research programme called Pan-Third Pole Environment (Pan-TPE), focusing on climate change on the Tibetan Plateau, its impacts, and the development of pathways to sustainable development.

FutureWater works together with Utrecht University and the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research to quantify climate change impacts for hydrology on the Third Pole.

Given the strong role of large-scale hydrology in the proposed research activities, the spatial domain of the activities encompasses the river basins of the Third Pole which are traversed by the SREB. The included SREB transects are the branch connecting Beijing to Central Asia via Xi’an and Urumqi, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor connecting Southwest China to northern Pakistan. This means that the river basins of the Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Indus, and Yellow river are included, as well as the Tarim and Gobi interior basins. The research activities encompass the entire river basins, but particularly focus on the SREB transect.

The project involves a close collaboration with Chinese counterparts. To this end, a training program was conducted at Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Beijing (ITP) from 14th October to 18th October, 2019. This training was attended by nineteen researchers (3 female and 16 male) from ITP. The overall objective of this training was to train glacio-hydrological modeling with FutureWater’s Spatial Processes in Hydrology (SPHY) model, and transfer the knowledge regarding the Pan-TPE Water Tower hydrological model. The participants used the SPHY hydrological model to understand the changes in the glacio-hydrological regime of their own region of interest. The first days of the training were mainly dedicated to understanding of the basics of hydrological modelling using SPHY. The participants were encouraged to develop the SPHY model of their own interest area. The later part of training was dedicated to share and discuss the Water Tower model set up by FutureWater.

Overall, the training fulfilled all the needs of the project, and was positively evaluated by the participants. This training program has encouraged the researcher from ITP to use SPHY in their future research, and lead to further enhancement of the collaboration between Chinese and Dutch researchers. More information about the SPHY model as well as model documentation, tutorials and software downloads can be found on the SPHY website.

Below, you can find some pictures, taken during the training at the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research.

 

 

 

 

 

Flooding has always been a major cause of natural disasters in a mountainous country like Nepal. Among the many natural disasters that affect Nepal, the recurring floods during the monsoon season have catastrophic consequences every year. Nepal’s fragile geological conditions and complex topography combined with frequently occurring extreme rainfall during the monsoon poses risks to communities living along the flood plains. In order to ensure good flood management practices and the development of long-term water management strategies a good understanding of key hydrological processes and the ability to simulate future changes in streamflow is a prerequisite.

During recent years, FutureWater has done many projects in collaboration with NGO’s, INGO’s and academic institutions in Nepal. This is the first time FutureWater collaborated with the Institute of Forestry (IOF), Nepal to provide their teaching faculty and researchers a training on “Use of open source platform for hydrological modelling of data sparse region in Nepal”. The Tailor Made Training (TMT) was fully funded by  NUFFIC’s Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) and took place from 8 April to 24 April 2019 in Pokhara, Nepal.

Essential skills, in particular modelling of hydrological processes are currently lacking at IOF, hampering the capacity to gain deep understanding of the present and future flood management situation in the region. Therewith IOF faces difficulties in developing long-term strategies to deal with climate change impacts for Nepal’s water resources. Further, the lack of ground-based measurements in the Himalayan region imposes an additional level of complexity while modelling the hydrological characteristics of this region. The use of readily available open source satellite-based data can augment the limited ground-based observation in the region.

The training group consisted of sixteen researchers.

This training was attended by sixteen researchers (seven female and nine male) from IOF, Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM), Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (CDHM), Department of Forests and Soil Conservation and the Institute of Engineering (IOE). The overall objective of this training was to ensure the use of open source data in the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform for to assess the hydrological regime of data sparse regions in Nepal. The participants used freely available geospatial images to make a land use map of their region of interest using the GEE platform. Further, they used these land use maps to understand the changes the hydrological regime of their region using the SPHY hydrological model, developed by FutureWater. The SPHY model can be applied by a wider range of experts with basic hydrological and computer skills, through user interfaces, including a data preprocessing tool.

The training class in Pokhara, Nepal.

Moreover, the participants were able to extract and process the projected future precipitation and temperature data using KNMI Climate Explorer. Participants used the delta change method to create the future climate change scenarios. They were able to use the future projected climate data with SPHY model to assess the climate change impacts on the hydrological regime for their region of interest

Overall, the training fulfilled all the needs of the IOF, and was positively evaluated by the participants. This training program has encouraged the faculty members from IOF to use open source data and platforms in their future research and teaching .More information about the SPHY model as well as model documentation, tutorials and software downloads can be found on the SPHY website.

The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region is highly dynamic as there are many socio-economic and environmental drivers at play, including climate change. The impacts of these changes challenge the resilience of natural and human capacities and environments in the region. Recent studies have shown that the Himalayan region and the downstream areas that depend on its water supply and ecosystem services are particularly vulnerable to climate change. To study the contributing roles of snow, glaciers, precipitation and groundwater to the total water resources, and how these roles might change in the future, a hydrological model is required that includes cryosphere and mountain hydrology.

FutureWater collaborated during recent years with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in developing the Spatial Processes in Hydrology (SPHY) model, which is available in the public domain. ICIMOD intends to make this model accessible to its partner institutions in the region and for this in collaboration with FutureWater, a user friendly interface and training modules have been developed. The first and second successful training course was provided to regional experts in December 2014 and December 2015 at ICIMOD in Kathmandu, Nepal. Now in May, 2017 taking the subject further, including newly developed interface components which were developed in response to possible improvements pointed out by the users.

The overall objective of this training was to ensure that SPHY can be applied by a wider range of experts with basic hydrological and computer skills, by further developing the user interfaces, including a data preprocessing tool. The user-interface now allows changing model input parameters and maps, select model output to be reported, run the model, and analyse the model output. The newly developed preprocessing tool allows users to setup their own models easily by selecting a rectangular model extent and spatial resolution after which the software preprocesses input data from a predefined database and the SPHY model is ready to run. The newly developed interfaces come with manuals of the underlying theory and hands-on training case studies.

This training was attended by twenty water professionals (seventeen males and three females) from Afghanistan (Eshraq Institute of Higher Education, Ministry of Energy and Water and Kabul University); Bangladesh (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology); Bhutan(National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology and Sherubtse college); China (Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences); India (National Institute of Hydrology and The energy and Resources Institute); Nepal (Department of Hydrology and Meteorology and Kathmandu University); Pakistan (Pakistan Council of Research on Water resources and Water and Power Development Authority) and ICIMOD staff.

More information about the SPHY model as well as model documentation, tutorials and software downloads can be found on the SPHY website.