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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.