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Managing Water Resources under Climate Uncertainty

Managing Water Resources under Climate Uncertainty: Examples from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Australia – a new book by Sangam Shrestha, A.K. Anal, P.A. Salam and Michael van der Valk (eds) – has just been published by Springer. The book describes the impacts of climate change on the water cycle in Asia and Europe, and compares options for adaptation while looking at different regions that each have their own particularities. The book contains examples from the Mediterranean, Central Highlands of Vietnam, the Citarum River Basin (Indonesia), Nam Ou River Basin (Lao), Koshi River Basin, Chaliyar River Basin (Kerala, India), Mekong tributaries (including Can Tho, Sesan and Sre Pork Basin), Cambodia, Bhutan, South-Eastern Indian coast, Leh (Northwestern Himalaya, India), Nepal (Disaster Risk Reduction), Adelaide (Australia), Mexico, Chindwin River (Myanmar), Brahmaputra River. With a foreword by Michel Jarraud (Secretary-General of WMO and Chair of UN-Water) and Blanca Jiménez (Director, Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO).

 
Estimating real-time predictive hydrological uncertainty

Flood early warning systems provide a potentially highly effective flood risk reduction measure. The effectiveness of early warning, however, is affected by forecasting uncertainty: the impossibility of knowing, in advance, the exact future state of hydrological systems. Early warning systems benefit from estimation of predictive uncertainties, i.e. by providing probabilistic forecasts. On 1 April 2015 Jan Verkade defended his PhD thesis «Estimating real-time predictive hydrological uncertainty». The dissertation describes research in estimating the value of probabilistic forecasts as well as in skill improvement of estimates of predictive uncertainty.

 
Key Concepts in Water Resource Management – book of the month March 2015

The vocabulary and discourse of water resource management have expanded vastly in recent years to include an array of new concepts and terminology, such as water security, water productivity, virtual water and water governance. While the new conceptual lenses may generate insights that improve responses to the world's water challenges, their practical use is often encumbered by ambiguity and confusion.

 
World Water Development Report 2015

The 2015 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report, «Water for a Sustainable World», was launched on World Water Day, 20 March 2015. On kind invitation by the Government of France (CNRS), on behalve of the European Union, some of the authors were in Paris that day. On the occassion of World Water Day and on behalf of the authors, Michael van der Valk presented the book «Managing Water Resources under Climate Uncertainty» at UNESCO’s headquarters to the director of the Division of Water Sciences and the Secretary of UNESCO’s International Hydrololgical Programme (IHP), Ms Blanca Jiménez Cisneros, who also wrote the foreword. Following this small ceremony the World Water Development Report was presented to the authors the following day at the Parisian Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, attended by representatives of the European Commission.

 
Droughts and low flows conference: presentations available

The presentations of the international conference on droughts and low flows, including groundwater, held in October 2014 in Maastricht (NL), are now available. The successful meeting was attended by almost 100 scientists and policy-makers, from 5 continents, with an overall very positive evaluation by the participants!

 
UNESCO’s IHP sessions in Korea

UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) is celebrating its 50th anniversary with events in Korea. An important pillar of IHP is related to groundwater. As one-third of humanity is totally dependent on groundwater for their daily needs and 98% of the Planet Earth’s easily accessible freshwater is found in aquifers, UNESCO-IHP has devoted huge efforts to raise attention on this vital ‘hidden’ resource and to address the challenges of its governance and sustainable management.

 
Sustainability of global water use: past reconstruction and future projections

Overuse of surface water and an increasing reliance on nonrenewable groundwater resources have been reported over various regions of the world, casting significant doubt on the sustainable water supply and food production met by irrigation. To assess the limitations of global water resources, numerous indicators have been developed, but they rarely consider nonrenewable water use. In addition, surface water over-abstraction is rarely assessed in the context of human and environmental water needs. Yoshihide Wada and Marc Bierkens performed a transient assessment of global water use over the historical period 1960–2010 as well as the future projections of 2011–2099, using a newly developed indicator: the blue water sustainability index (BlWSI).

 
Flow regime alteration due to anthropogenic and climatic changes in the Kangsabati River, India

Neha Mittal’s paper, «Flow regime alteration due to anthropogenic and climatic changes in the Kangsabati River, India», has just been published in Ecohydrology and Hydrobiology. The USA Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources has kindly funded the participation costs for this bright PhD student from India, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, in order to present her research at a UNESCO symposium in Łódź, Poland. The «International Symposium Ecohydrology, Biotechnology and Engineering: Towards Harmony between the Biogoeosphere and Society on the basis of Long-Term Ecosystem Research» was held 17–19 September 2013. 

 
Vanishing Water Landscapes in the Middle East

On 11 June 2014 Francesca de Châtel successfully defended her PhD thesis on water in Syria. The Jordan River has been reduced to 2% of its historic size and is heavily polluted. Across Syria, rivers are shrinking, springs have dried up, and the desert is spreading. The water crisis in the Middle East, the most water-scarce region in the world, is rapidly worsening, yet decision-makers appear unwilling to acknowledge its severity and water remains low on the political agenda. How can this gap between the reality of growing scarcity on the ground and the continued illusion of plenty be explained? 

 
A virtual water network of the Roman world

Smart agricultural practices and an extensive grain-trade network enabled the Romans to thrive in the water-limited environment of the Mediterranean, a new study shows. The stable food supply brought about by these measures promoted population growth and urbanisation, however, pushing the Empire closer to the limits of its food resources. A model of ancient water movement shows how trade practices might affect today’s urban centers as the climate changes. Ancient water networks made the Roman Empire vulnerable.

 
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