Pecha Kucha format presentation about innovative tools being developed by the GEF-UNEP Flood and Drought Management Tools project, by Raul Glotzbach in the 8th GEF Biennial International Waters Conference.
Climate change is a global growing problem. The number of extreme weather- and climate-related events is rising
Floods are becoming more frequent, more severe and less predictable, and the impacts are worsened human activities.
The impacts of floods damage crops and increase the loss of livestock, contribute to food insecurity and income loss, damage infrastructure and property, impact water quality reducing human and environmental health.
While floods are becoming more frequent, more severe and less predictable, so are droughts.
Droughts are resulting from limited rainfall (natural) and unsustainable use of water resources (human activities).
The impact of droughts on agricultural production, water for household consumption and other relevant economic activities is evident.
The management of water resources is therefore important to mitigating the impacts of both flood and droughts.
The impacts are sever, and with the onset of El Niño changing the nature of our climate conditions, there is a growing need to improve our planning to prevent and prepare for the expected impacts on human welfare, ecosystems and economies.
Building resilience enables communities to prepare and adapt to future challenges and protect our water resources.
The Flood and Drought Management Tools recognises this growing need and is therefore developing a computer based decision support system to improve the ability of land, water and urban area managers operating in transboundary river basins to recognise and address the increased frequency, magnitude and unpredictability of floods and droughts.
Project is implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme and executed by DHI and the International Water Association. DHI are the technical support team working on developing the methodology (DSS) using input and needs from stakeholders to model the DSS. IWA are the outreach support team working (with DHI) to ensure stakeholder engagement throughout the development of the DSS (trainings, workshops, events), ensuring the right people (basin organisation, catchment organisation, ministries, regulators, utilities, women and vulnerable groups, and other practitioners) are involved from start to end
The project started with a needs assessments based on consultation meetings in 3 pilot basins.
The input from the stakeholders has helped in the development stage of the planning DSS ensuring that the needs of the stakeholders are integrated into the system.
Once the development of the functionality is completed, the remaining time will be used for consolidation and technical outreach to ensure the sustainability of the product.
As indicated before, we are working in 3 pilot basins, The Chao Phraya Basin in Thailand, Lake Victoria Basin in East Africa and the Volta Basin in West Africa.
The pilot basins are used to test and validate the functionality of the planning DSS at the basin level (with basin organisation) and the local level (with utilities) through a series of technical trainings.
While basin organisation and utilities remain the core stakeholder groups within the pilot basins, the project interacts with a wide range of stakeholders that have a stake in the basin and are impacted in one way or another by flood and drought events.
The project also interacts with what we call learning basins (The Nile Basin and Danube Basin), pooling their experiences to enrichen ours.
We have also established strategic partnerships to gain from their expertise, for example, the Global Water Partnership.
The project has defined 3 user types that will interact with the planning DSS in their respective capacities.
Decision makers have a high degree of power but are not as familiar with the detailed functionality of different tools.
Technical users have some decision making power, but do not have in-depth technical knowledge, and do not necessarily have the capacity to develop models. However, they need to understand the outputs of the models.
Advanced IT and model users have strong technical capacity but may need support in explaining the applicability.
Most stakeholders in the project are technical users.
Relevant in this conference is the support the project provides for the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and Strategic Action Programmes process.
Within the planning workflow of the project, the planning DSS enables users to carry out a baseline assessment and impact assessment. This is done in order to provide an overview of the issues within the basin.
Once the issues have been identified and quantified, this information provides decision makers with a scientifically sound foundation to establish clear priorities for action in order to address these issues.
As the project supports multiple planning processes (IWRM, Water Safety Planning), the project has adopted a consistent planning method involving analysis, planning, implementation and monitoring.
Key to the planning method is availability and access to data. We have seen that data is one of the key issues in many GEF basins. Therefore, among the several tools being developed, the project is developing a data portal to ensure the availability of a basic data set.
The data portal retrieves remote sensing data that is freely available. This includes, but not limited to, rainfall data, temperature and evapotranspiration, vegetation data, soil water data, water bodies.
The data is near-real-time and accessed through a web-based portal. The data can be viewed and downloaded ass input data for analysis, in models and other tools.
With all the tools being developed, it is important to ensure that the stakeholders understand the tools being developed and how to interpret the outputs.
The project actively links to stakeholders through yearly technical trainings for in-depth training and testing of the planning DSS.
Feedback from the trainings are used to further develop the tools ensuring that the needs of the stakeholder can be supported by the DSS.
Awareness or knowledge workshops are also arranged. These are with high level staff within organisations with the purpose of enhancing the levels of understanding around the capabilities and potential uses of the DSS for decision-making and planning processes.
Stakeholders are also invited to participate in international events to share their experiences and represent the project at national or regional events. This helps build a sense of ownership from the stakeholders.
Working directly with the stakeholders, the project is supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular:
Goal 6 – Clean water and sanitation The project supports basin planning (TDA/SAP and IWRM) addressing risks on water availability and quality. Through this and by also supporting other local level approaches are important in ensuring a continuous supply of safe water.
Goal 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure The project brings a science based approach supporting new and innovative approaches to water management at different scales. The information from the planning DSS can be used to better manage assets and understand were infrastructure is most vulnerable during a flood or drought event.
Goal 11 – Sustainable cities and communities The project is developing improved tools for land, water and urban managers to better plan for the impacts of flood and drought events at various scales (basin to city), by providing more scientifically sound information to feed into decision making processes.
Goal 13 – Climate action The project is developing functionality to include climate variability on the seasonal scale and climate change on the long-term scale in planning approaches across scales. This will enhance resilience and adaptive capacity to climate related hazards and disasters.
Goal 15 – Life on land One of the overall objectives of the project is to promote the sustainable management of resources in the basin by using science based technologies.
Goal 17 – Partnerships for the goals The project encourages and promotes collaboration between stakeholders, applauding the importance of knowledge exchange and information sharing to ensure more coordinated efforts in managing and planning for the impacts of flood and drought events.
The tools developed supporting various planning approaches are generic and flexible allowing users to customise the interface to address their specific needs. This ensures that all potential users’ needs can be addressed by the planning DSS.
The use of freely available satellite or global data within the project, ensures the availability and access of data
The awareness workshops help ensure that decision makers are aware of how the information from the flood and drought management tools can be used and applied in making informed decisions around water resource management especially flood and droughts.
What we have notice is there is unwillingness to change, which undermines the enabling environment needed to implement solutions.
There is a lack of understanding of the benefits behind a planning DSS for decision-making
There is a need to consider that stakeholders are at different levels regarding their capacities for planning
Lastly, there are financial constraints that exist and need to be understood as they hamper the sustainability of the tools after closure of the project.
Flood and Drought Management Tools (IWC8)
FLOOD AND DROUGHT MANAGEMENT TOOLS
IWC8 | Monday 9 May, 2016
Advanced IT & model