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Institute of Hydraulic Engineering

Research: Dept. of Hydrology and Geohydrology

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Integrated Water Resources Modeling: Future Risks and Adaptation Strategies in the Andes of Peru
Project manager:Prof. Dr. rer.nat. Dr.-Ing. András Bárdossy, Dr. rer.nat. Jochen Seidel
Research assistants:Faizan Anwar, M.Sc.
Claudia Teutsch, M.Sc.
Duration:1.9.2016 - 31.8.2019
Funding:DFG, SNF
Project Partners:Department of Geography, University of Zurich ZIRIUS, University of Stuttgart


Water resources in high mountains play a fundamental role for societies and ecosystems. A growing number of studies assess recent and future impacts in snow and ice related river runoff due to climate change and socioeconomic shifts in major mountain ranges and adjacent downstream areas. In parallel, scholars, engineers and decision-makers have come up with adaptation strategies to reduce existing and projected water supply-demand deficits. The 5th IPCC Assessment Report has emphasized the fundamental importance of the risk-adaptation nexus for the development of adaptation strategies to reduce and manage future climate risks. However, comprehensive analyses of risks related to water resources considering climate change within multi-dimensional drivers across different scales are complex and often missing in climate sensitive and data scare mountain regions.

This collaborative project will address the challenge by combining internationally leading expertise from the Universities of Zurich and Stuttgart. It proposes coupling multi-source hydro-climatic (water supply) and socioeconomic (water demand) data in a water balance modelling framework, as a basis to iteratively analyse water risks and adaptation strategies. As an integrative case study, the methodology will be tested using two key regions in the Andes of Peru, heavily affected by climate change and socioeconomic impacts and thus implying a potentially high degree of water risks.

The main objectives of this proposal are:
  • Development of spatially and temporally consistent series of high-resolution hydro-climatic data (observed and projected) using cutting-edge downscaling and interpolation methods.
  • A comprehensive analysis of water demand drivers as observed in the case study regions and as a basis for the generation of three socio-economic scenarios and their quantitative translation into water demand, thus producing an unprecedented database of water demand patterns across time (observed and projected).
  • Implementation of a hydrological water supply-demand modelling framework for current basin state and future scenario simulations that support the identification of water resources variability and scarcity.
  • Assessment of the related water risks for different economic sectors and social groups based on hydrological response functions and sensitivities of environmental, economic and social systems and an iterative procedure accounting for a variety of adaptation strategies.
The project addresses several key scientific gaps related to the analysis of current and future water risks in data-scarce mountain regions worldwide. The innovation of the approach lies in the combination of climate downscaling and interpolation methods, socio-economic scenario development, new applications of integrated hydrological modelling, and a risk-adaptation framework with a novel iterative scheme that essentially puts the recently published IPCC concepts into research practice.