This article is originally from Partners for Water

For the first interview of the Innovation in Progress series, we speak to Saroj Yakami and Sanjeev Bhuchar. They are part of the team currently working in Nepal’s mountainous Dhankuta municipality and Chhathar Jorpati Rural Municipality of the Dhankuta district. The project aims to enhance natural springs while at the same time improve road infrastructure in the area.

Saroj is a water resource expert and Country Manager for MetaMeta Research in Nepal. Sanjeev works for the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), managing the interventions on sustainable springs. For the RoSPro project he is responsible for the co-design process, intervention and spring conservation.

We meet over Teams, as they are both in Nepal. During our conversation it becomes clear that this innovative project aims to make a big impact, not only in Dhankuta, but across the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region.

Hydrogeological Mapping

Innovative approach

Saroj studied International Land and Water Management at Wageningen University. He joined MetaMeta Research in 2014 where he became involved in the Green Roads for Water initiative. “Roads affect how water flows, but water also affects roads. Most road damages are due to water. By reimagining roads as tools for landscape improvement we can manage water supplies and increase the lifespan of roads”, explains Saroj. “For the RoSPro project I coordinate the activities in Nepal, focusing on stakeholder collaboration, data collection, impact analysis and co-design processes.”

Making a bigger impact

For ICIMOD and Sanjeev this project is relevant for the entire HKH region, which spans across eight countries. “Nearly 100 million people in the region depend on springs for their water security, of which approximately 10 million in Nepal. Spring water is a lifeline, catering to drinking, domestic, and agriculture needs, but many of these sources are dwindling. This is mostly due to the rapid expansion of road networks, in addition to changes in land cover and climate.

Road development alters the spring’s natural outflow, while rock cutting disrupts the location of spring orifices. For a long time, this problem has largely gone unnoticed, which poses a significant threat to the local communities and their water resources.” In an effort to address both the depletion of springs and the rapid expansion of roads, this project combines the roadside guidelines published by MetaMeta Research and the Department of Local Infrastructure (DoLI) with ICIMOD’s hydrogeology-based spring revival protocol.

Consortium Partners

The consortium is led by MetaMeta Research. Saroj explains: “MetaMeta had been working on roadside spring protection guidelines specifically for local road network in Nepal, as part of the Green Roads for Water initiative. With the intention on integrating our work, we shared our ideas with ICIMOD, as they are experts on spring revival in the HKH region”.

Sanjeev: “For ICIMOD this was very interesting. We had been developing a protocol for spring revival as well as decision support tools for mountain hydrology. Together we could address both problems at once. FutureWater, highly specialized in water management in the HKH context, contributes to the project by creating a digital twin and decision support toolkit. Through the integration of advanced techniques and tools, the project endeavors to secure safe and dependable water provisions for mountain communities while also preserving the quality of road infrastructure and sustaining connectivity”. DoLI will oversee the implementation.

Collaborating with the local community and local partners

Sanjeev: “Our main focus from the start was getting the local community and local government involved, making sure to include women in every step of the process. Promoting gender and social inclusion is an integral part of this project. Women are a vital part of communities, but are rarely in decision making positions. We make a conscious effort to change that”. The bottom-up approach and participatory process was essential for getting the problem recognized and endorsed by local governments. Saroj: “It enabled us to incorporate valuable local knowledge in the Nature-based Solutions, with respect for local traditions”.

Kick-Off workshop with Dhankuta Municipality and Chhathar Jorpati Rural Municipality

In the field

Since the start of the project in July 2023 a lot has been accomplished. Sanjeev begins: “We organized a kick-off to share the objective of the project with different stakeholders and started the process to co-select four roadside springs for piloting. There we conducted a hydro-geological study at field level. With the data from hydro-geological mapping, we were able to create 3D images of the area”.

Saroj adds: “We gathered a large amount of data to use in the co-design process. For example, we held household surveys and explored the area with locals to gather information about water quantity and changes in spring flows among other things. In Focus Group discussions we asked them to draw their own map of the region. This revealed all sorts of interconnections between their water supply and sources, built infrastructure, and other types of land uses. Valuable information that only locals have”.

Understanding how roads are affected by unmanaged roadside springs and vice versa.
Knowing the project area together with communities during Focus Group Discussion
Co-design process: With Community members, Engineers from municipality and local partner HUSADEC for RoSPro implementation.

Next step

Saroj is excited about the next phase: “At this moment, we are in the process of finalising the co-design process for the measures for improvements of both springs and roads to be implemented in four pilot sites by May 2024. We have a short time frame before the monsoon starts.”

Innovation in progress series

During the Partners for Water programme 2022 – 2027, several projects that received the Partners for Water subsidy will be followed from start to finish. Over the next few years, they will take you with them on their transformative journey. You’ll be able to gain insights into their promising solutions, innovative processes and collaborations with local partners, as well as their struggles, challenges and valuable lessons learned.

More information about the project can be found here.

FutureWater aims to support the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the development of a new multi-hazard Early Warning System (EWS) facility, addressing the significant exposure to disaster risks of the developing member countries (DMCs). The enhancement of multi-hazard EWS aligns with global commitments, such as the Paris Agreement, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Sustainable Development Goal 13, Sendai Framework Target G, and the Early Warnings for All Initiative (EW4All).

The implementation of MHEWS, however, is significantly lagging across the world with several countries still not protected by it. Coverage is limited in developing countries on the frontlines of disasters and climate change.  To address this concern, a workshop entitled “Regional Workshop on Increasing Investments in Early Warning Systems” was organized by ADB on 1-2 February 2024 in Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop aimed to establish the rationale for an EWS support facility within ADB and devise a roadmap for its establishment and operations.

The workshop targeted technical representatives from ministries of planning, finance, and national disaster management organizations from the following DMCs: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

It also included representatives from various international, regional, and technical organizations, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), UNESCO, UNDRR, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Additionally, representatives from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) participated, including regional climate change specialists, and sector specialists in agriculture and natural resources, energy, private sector, urban development, transport, and water.

The workshop facilitated a deeper understanding of DMCs’ priorities and requirements regarding the enhancement of their investments in multi-hazard EWS by bringing together stakeholders from various regions. It gathered insights into the specific needs and challenges faced by different countries in strengthening their EWS capabilities. Furthermore, the workshop fostered a collaborative approach to designing a facility that could effectively meet the technical assistance, grants, and loan needs of DMCs.

Participants actively participated in co-design processes, as well as in the development of establishment and implementation guidelines, and investment concept notes. This ensured that the proposed facility was customized to effectively address the unique circumstances and contexts of the DMCs involved. For more information regarding the project please visit the project page or contact s.khanal@futurewater.nl

Tajikistan showcased leadership in climate resilience at COP28, organizing a session titled “Are we adapting? Integrating WEFE Nexus and climate services for effective climate change adaptation” on December 6, 2023, from 13:30 to 15:00 at the Tajikistan Pavilion (B2-18) in the Blue Zone of COP28, Expo City Dubai, UAE.

This event brought together a diverse audience eager to delve into Tajikistan’s innovative strategies. The session featured distinguished participants, including H.E. Mr. Daler Juma, Minister of Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Tajikistan; Mr. Abdullo Qurbonzoda, Director, Agency of Hydrometeorology, Committee for Environmental Protection, Republic of Tajikistan; Mr. Jamshed Shoimzoda, First Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Tajikistan; Mr. Muzaffar Shodmonov, Deputy Director of Project Implementation, Agency of Hydrometeorology, Committee for Environmental Protection, Republic of Tajikistan; Mr. Eddie Rich, CEO, International Hydropower Association; Ms. Xiaohong Yang, Deputy Director General of Central and West Asia, Asian Development Bank; Mr. Sattor Saidov, Head of Climate Change Center, Agency of Hydrometeorology, Republic of Tajikistan; Mr. Torsten Brezina, Cluster Coordinator, Climate, Water, Energy in Central Asia, GIZ Kyrgyz Republic and Ms. Chihenyo Kangara, Regional Manager for Africa, Green Climate Fund, collectively advancing climate resilience and sustainability.

Dr. Sonu Khanal, a senior hydrologist and climate change expert, from FutureWater delivered a keynote speech presentation, highlighting the role of the cryosphere in the warming climate. The keynote emphasized the interconnectedness of water, energy, food, and the environment, showcasing Tajikistan’s innovative Water, Energy, Food, and Environment (WEFE) Nexus approach. The vulnerability of mountainous regions, often termed ‘water towers,’ to climate change was underscored, emphasizing their role in providing 60-80% of the world’s freshwater. Dr. Khanal addressed adaptation gaps, the importance of climate services, and the pivotal role of water in both adaptation and mitigation actions. The presentation also shed light on Tajikistan’s strategic use of innovative technologies and its contributions to global climate resilience efforts. Dr. Khanal also showcased FutureWater’s approach to addressing climate change impacts with their ongoing project in Tajikistan.

Keynote presentation by Sonu Khanal
Tajikistan session at COP28
Panel discussion

In the event, Tajikistan highlighted its robust Water, Energy, Food, and Environment (WEFE) Nexus approach, recognizing the interconnectedness of these sectors amid climate threats. The discussion emphasized the need for integrated strategies to address the multidimensional impacts of climate change on water, energy, food, and the environment. Tajikistan’s vulnerability, reliance on mountain water, and low precipitation levels were outlined. The role of glaciers and snowpack as vital water storage, innovative technologies, and the significance of climate-resilient hydropower were highlighted.

Importantly, the panel discussion “Incorporating climate services in cross-sectoral planning instruments and tools” and “Nexus approach and climate services for effective adaptation policy and resources mobilization” delved into the role of climate services and climate finance in addressing climate change challenges. The country’s National Determined Contribution (NDC) and future National Adaptation Plan (NAP) were praised for fostering a policy environment supporting adaptation planning and resource mobilization. For more information regarding the event, please contact Dr. Sonu Khanal at s.khanal@futurewater.nl.

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 s.khanal@futurewater.nl 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 s.khanal@futurewater.nl. 

 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.

Trainers:

  • 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.