Informing robust water management adaptation with nexus modelling

11:15 Thursday 30 May


Room S8


Andrea Momblanch (United Kingdom) 1; Ian P Holman (United Kingdom) 1; Dau Quan (United Kingdom) 2; Adebayo J Adeloye (United Kingdom) 2; Chandra Sp Ojha (India) 3; Sanjay K Jain (India) 4; Daniel L Bannister (United Kingdom) 5; Andrew Orr (United Kingdom) 5; Anil Kulkarni (India) 6; Vijay Shankar (India) 7; Sikhululekile Ncube (United Kingdom) 2; Lindsay Beevers (United Kingdom) 2; Boris Snapir (United Kingdom) 1; Toby Waine (United Kingdom) 1

1 - Cranfield University; 2 - Heriot-Watt University; 3 - Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee; 4 - National Institute of Hydrology Roorkee; 5 - British Antarctic Survey; 6 - Indian Institute of Science Bangalore; 7 - Indian Institute of Technology Hamirpur

Future climate and socio-economic changes are expected to impact water resource availability and demands. Therefore, current water management strategies need to be adapted to ensure future water security as an underpinning factor for economic development and social well-being. The importance of water for multiple, and often competing, uses requires holistic approaches that avoid sectoral solutions with unintended consequences.

The joint use of water resource systems modelling and nexus approaches allows the integration of hydro-climatic, water use and management components to untangle inter-sectoral synergies and trade-offs. Thus, they are useful for understanding the impacts of future climate and socio-economic changes on multiple water-related sectors and exploring effective and equitable adaptation measures. However, the uncertainty in future changes and impacts results in a broad range of possible futures which hinders decision makers in implementing planned adaptation. Robust Decision Making (RDM) can assist in the identification of measures that work satisfactorily across multiple plausible futures.

This presentation will demonstrate the joint use of systems modelling, RDM and nexus approaches as tools to inform prompt action in water resources management adaptation. As part of the UK-Indian collaborative project ‘Sustaining Himalayan Water Resources in a Changing Climate’ (SusHi-Wat), the work focuses on the Sutlej-Beas water resource system in northern India. The hydrology in the study area is strongly climate-sensitive due to the combination of monsoon rainfall and seasonal meltwater from snow and glaciers in the Himalayas. The rivers and reservoirs serve large irrigation and hydropower schemes as well as urban demands, flood protection, religious uses and a unique environment.

The Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) tool has been used, in an iterative and collaborative process with local stakeholders, to develop a model of the Sutlej-Beas system which provides results about the system performance that are summarised in stakeholder-relevant nexus indicators. Selected management strategies are tested with WEAP for different combinations of climate (Representative Concentration Pathways 2.6 – 8.5) and socio-economic conditions (Shared Socio-economic Pathways 1-5) representing a wide spectrum of plausible futures out to 2100, and are analysed according to the status of nexus components. Following RDM, an iterative ‘strategy simulation-nexus analysis-strategy improvement’ stakeholder-driven process leads to robust water management adaptation solutions that account for economic growth, equity and sustainability. The approach is directly transferable to other basins and can support the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in the face of emerging uncertain water security challenges.