Topic: Climate change and sustainable development - International Riversymposium | Brisbane | September 2017
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Topic: Climate change and sustainable development

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Launch of the Australian Water Knowledge Digital Platform – An Initiative to Share Australian Water Expertise with the Asia Pacific Region
Karen Delfau and Raymond Lam
International WaterCentre Alumni Network, Australia

Linking natural capital to economic indicators for freshwater systems
Safa Fanaian
South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies, India

Can water sustainability be achieved through UN Sustainable Development Goal 6? Implications, challenges and possibilities
Nina Hall and Eva Abal
The University of Queensland, Australia

Ensuring resilience in energy-water-food management ahead of the next climate shock
Nina Hall, Steven Kenway and Eva Abal
The University of Queensland, Australia

Observed Trends and Changes in Daily Precipitation Events over Uttarakhand State in India 1901-2013
Archana Sarkar
National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, India

Traditional Water Sources in Nepal – Status and climate resilience
Thakur Pandit, Simon Tilleard (presenter) and Jeremy Carew-Reid
Practical Action and ICEM

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Wednesday 14 September
10:30 – 12:00

Observed Trends and Changes in Daily Precipitation Events over Uttarakhand State in India 1901-2013

Archana Sarkar
National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, India

Observed Trends and Changes in Daily Precipitation Events over Uttarakhand State in India 1901-2013

In recent decades, because the issue of climate change became more prominent, the research on past climate trends has progressed enormously, especially for precipitation, since it affects the availability of freshwater, food production and the occurrence of water related disasters triggered by extreme events. However, most of the global climate change studies using observational precipitation data have focused only on changes in mean values. It is already being observed globally that one of the effects of global warming is an increase in weather and climate extremes. Therefore, it is important to study the trends and changes in the frequency of rainfall events of varying intensity. Uttarakhand is a State in the Northern part of India. The state is divided into two divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon, with a total area of 53,484 km². Most of the northern part of the state is covered by high Himalayan peaks and glaciers. In June 2013, several days of extremely heavy rain caused devastating floods in the region, resulting in more than 5000 people missing and presumed dead. The present study aims to determine historical trends in the daily rainfall events divided in four categories (light & moderate, rather heavy, heavy, very heavy & extremely heavy) over Uttarakhand State on annual and seasonal scales. Long term (1901-2013) gridded daily rainfall data at 0.25 deg grid have been used at ten grid centre locations (five each in Garhwal and Kumaon divisions) in the vicinity of Haridwar, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Joshimath, Almora, Bageshwar, Munsiyari, Pithoragarh and Rudrapur. Historical trends in daily rainfall events have been examined using parametric (regression analysis) and non-parametric (Mann-Kendall (MK) statistics. The results demonstrate statistically significant changes at some stations in the last eleven decades.

About the author

Dr Archana Sarkar is a scientist with the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee, a premier R&D institute under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Govt of India. By education, she is a civil engineer graduated in 1989. She completed her masters in Computer Aided Design in Civil engineering in 1993. After joining NIH in 1996, she completed her PhD on “Runoff and Sediment Modelling in part of the Brahmaputra River basin” from Dept of Water Resources Development and Management, IIT Roorkee. She has also worked at the Water Resources department of Imperial College, London as a Commonwealth Professional Fellow in 2006. She has a vast research experience of more than nineteen years in the field of Hydrology and Water resources. Her area of specialization is hydrological modelling; application of Soft Computing techniques; application of Remote Sensing & GIS in hydrology; and Climate Change studies.

Traditional Water Sources in Nepal – Status and climate resilience

Thakur Pandit, Simon Tilleard (presenter) and Jeremy Carew-Reid
Practical Action and ICEM

Traditional water sources (TWS) in Nepal are natural springs or areas of shallow groundwater developed hundreds of years ago as sites for public water consumption. As well as their huge social and cultural importance, TWS are essential water supply assets in a country where 17% of the population have poor access to water supplies. The need for protection of TWS and promotion of their use as alternative water sources and adaptation to climate change has begun to be recognised, but a lack of information on TWS status and climate resilience has hampered efforts to date. In this study, the first of its kind in Nepal, we address the lack of TWS information by undertaking extensive consultations and field and climate vulnerability assessments for 33 TWS in nine districts covering the diverse cultural and ecological conditions of Nepal.

The study, implemented by ICEM – International Centre for Environmental Management, finds: i) TWS condition across Nepal is deteriorating, primarily due to lack of catchment protection to prevent contamination and encroachment, and limited platform space for users causing unhygienic conditions; and ii) TWS are resilient to climate change because the decentralised system is easier to maintain and manage, they have limited infrastructure that can be damaged by extreme events and their smaller catchments are highly reliant on micro-climates.

Pilot interventions are needed to test TWS as a cost efficient and decentralised approach to improving water supply services in remote areas of Nepal in the face of climate change. The study findings can inform these pilots by highlighting the causes of deterioration to be addressed and foundations of resilience to be built upon. In the absence of government support, remote communities have begun to self-organise to collectively manage the systems through local informal bodies, these existing community-led TWS conservation measures should inform future conservation planning.

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About the authors

Thakur Pandit is a development scholar with extensive and long term field experience in civil engineering (water and sanitation), climate change and community development sectors. He is currently working as the Public Health and Wash Theme Expert for Nepal’s National Adaptation Plan preparation. Simon Tilleard (pictured) is an environmental engineer and scientist with extensive experience working in South and South-East Asia. As well as being CEO of Alluvium International, a water resources focused consultancy working in the Asia-Pacific, he is currently the Project Manager for the ADB funded Mainstreaming Climate Change Risk Management in Development, Nepal. Jeremy Carew-Reid is the Director-General of the International Centre for Environmental Management. He has more than 35 years’ experience working in over 30 countries, and specializes in integrated environmental assessments and in climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation.

Ensuring resilience in energy-water-food management ahead of the next climate shock

Nina Hall, Steven Kenway and Eva Abal
The University of Queensland, Australia

The Australian state of Queensland has a modern economy, with particular strengths in agriculture and mining, while economic output and national importance of the major cities are also high.

Since 2000, Australia has experienced drought and floods in quick succession. This caused impacts on energy, water and land in terms of disruption and security of supply, financial losses, degradation and pollution of quality, and associated political pressures from community responses.

Strategic planning is required to ensure long-term sustainability and efficiency of energy, water and land resources to respond to future shocks. However, energy, water and land resources are regulated and managed separately in ‘siloes’. This prevents efficiencies, cost savings and cross-organisational collaboration.

In Queensland, such ‘siloed’ thinking has resulted in costly and opportunistic responses to provide water security through desalination and wastewater recycling that was energy-intensive and created conflicted and costly decision-making on energy and water conflicts by farmers in Australia’s ‘salad bowl’, the Lockyer Valley.

The ‘shocks’ to the management and supply chains of these crucial resources indicate that ‘business as usual’ approaches in a changing climate risk a costly and damaging repeat of the recent drought and flood impacts, and neglect efficiency opportunities.

To create a ‘paradigm shift towards ‘nexus thinking’, there is a need to create a climate of collaboration within the government departments and industries responsible for energy, water and land resource management, as well as integrated monitoring of resources to identify available efficiencies and co-benefits.

However, the water-energy nexus is one of the most complex global public policy challenges. It has strong water security, energy security, economic productivity, urban design and utility governance implications. This presentation provides case studies and applications (e.g. collaborative networks) that have embraced this nexus to reduce costs, increase efficiency and facilitate the paradigm shift.

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About the authors

Dr Nina Hall is the Sustainable Water Program Manager at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute. Nina has a social and environmental science and policy background. Dr Steven Kenway is an Australian Research Fellow and Research Leader of the Water-Energy-Carbon Group at the University of Queensland. He has 24 years’ experience focussing on the urban water cycle and urban metabolism. He specialises in energy and greenhouse gas emissions of urban water, and environmental analysis, management and reporting of urban water. Associate Professor Eva Abal is the Sustainable Water Program Director at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute. Her scientific expertise and research interests include development of strategic road maps for eco-efficient water management and monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement frameworks.

Wednesday 14 September
12:30 – 15:00

Can water sustainability be achieved through UN Sustainable Development Goal 6? Implications, challenges and possibilities

Nina Hall and Eva Abal
The University of Queensland, Australia

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) focuses on providing access to safe water and adequate sanitation for all, while considering the supporting environmental, societal and governance conditions required (United Nations 2015). Although water is also tangentially considered in four other SDGs on public health, urban settlements, consumption and production, and ecosystems, the majority of water considerations are addressed as one of the 17 Goals.

The UN has identified that improved water supply and improved sanitation can contribute to poverty alleviation and a sustainable environment (UN 2000), which can bring associated equity and wellbeing benefits. Through this perspective, achieving SDG 6 can potentially contribute to improved economic returns through disease prevention and reduced pollution; safety through ending risks associated with open defecation, upholding of rights for survival as well as to a sustainable and healthy environment, wellbeing during disasters, and gender equity for household water management, among other aspects (UN 2000, Prüss-Üstün, Bos et al. 2008, Cleaver and Hamada 2010, Crisp 2011, Reisch, Ife et al. 2013, Manou 2014, Burch 2015).

This presentation examines the implications of SDG 6 for future water and sanitation provision under the current ‘siloed’ approach rather than adopting Integrated Water Resource Management. This perspective would consider biophysical and social environments simultaneously to create a multiple dividend that improves human health, and promotes sustainable, social and economic development (Bunch, Morrison et al. 2011, UNU and UNOSD 2013). It presents the outcomes of a mapping exercise of the extent of the water challenges identified under SDG 6, and questions whether these identified wellbeing and equity outcomes can be achieved through this manner. The presentation will include a consideration of the targets and indicators proposed within SDG 6, as well as levers to achieve the targets, contextualised through a case study of selected Asia Pacific countries.

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About the author

Dr Nina Hall is the Sustainable Water Program Manager at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute, and she manages the University’s initiative under ‘Water for Equality and Wellbeing’. Nina has a social science and policy background. Her transdisciplinary research on water has included the social impacts of droughts on farmers’ crop decisions; predicting how climate change impacts would affect the growing demand and competition for water; and examining water pollution issues in communities and ecosystems downriver from large mine sites. Associate Professor Eva Abal is the Sustainable Water Program Director at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute. Her scientific expertise and research interests include effective science communication, development of strategic road maps for eco-efficient water management and monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement frameworks.

Launch of the Australian Water Knowledge Digital Platform – An Initiative to Share Australian Water Expertise with the Asia Pacific Region

Karen Delfau and Raymond Lam
International WaterCentre Alumni Network, Australia

The Australian Water Partnership and the International WaterCentre Alumni Network have partnered to develop and launch a digital knowledge platform to share knowledge and practices informed by the Australian experience in the water sector. This platform has been developed to enable practitioners in the Asia Pacific region to actively take part in a community of practice and access Australian Water Expertise relevant to their professional development.

More than just provide information, the platform serves to build and share knowledge, on a global level and specifically throughout the Asia-Pacific Region, throughout the water sector in order to support sustainable water management. The platform will convey knowledge in a strategic manner and also connect practitioners, researchers, and experts to help support the implementation of Integrated Water Management building upon the Australian experience.

The platform seeks to broker knowledge and provide information, and at the same time be able to link practitioners and experts to one another in order to enhance sustainable water management in the Asia Pacific Region.

This platform will be launched at the 2016 Riversymposium in New Delhi.

About the author

Karen is the Executive Director of the International WaterCentre Alumni Network, and is based in France. She brings 15 years in the water sector and ten years in knowledge management to the project, and works with a number of organisations in the US, Europe, and Australia. Raymond Lam. Raymond is the Digital Marketing Coordinator of the Australian Water Partnership. He has over 12 years in the digital marketing industry and has worked with a number of top digital agencies leading campaigns for a number of top global and local brands. His specialty is growth hacking and he has a deep passion for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) via content marketing.

Linking natural capital to economic indicators for freshwater systems

Safa Fanaian
South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies, India

Framing the challenge of managing river water and its dependent stakeholders effectively requires an understanding of its contribution towards economic growth and wellbeing of the region. Measuring the contribution of freshwater river systems is a task that needs due consideration. However, if measured there is always a danger of capitalization of these resources to maximize current economic growth. Keeping due consideration to sustainability of resources, it becomes essential to also bear in mind the limits and range within which economic growth can occur.

To measure pressures on natural resources and stock, economic indicators provide an opportunity to assess current economic benefits and also trends linked to recourse utilization and demands. Defining economic values allow for inputs towards management systems and also bring other less visible ecosystems goods on par with other prevalent ecosystem goods such as hydropower. Due to the nature of their presentation, economic indicators also have a bearing in policy and decision making on management of resources.

Towards this it is assumed that economic indicators of freshwater river systems are those end products for beneficiaries of river ecosystems for which water is the final ecosystem service. Addressing their interlinkages and influences through the medium of indictors is one purpose of this research. The research further reviews and lists out indicators with the purpose of outlining all possible economic indicators linked to freshwater systems. It also includes their measure options for easier assessment at the basin level. While singling out economic indicators for this research, there is an explicit acknowledgment of the importance of the larger picture and required linkages that enable a holistic understanding of river basins.

About the author

Safa Fanaian is currently working as a research fellow at South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (SaciWATERs). At SaciWATERs, she is coordinating the Arsenic Knowledge and Action Network along with working on a transnational policy dialogue for improved water governance of the Brahmaputra River. Safa Fanaian holds a master’s degree in Water Resource Management from UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water Education, The Netherlands. In the field of water management, she has worked extensively on issues such as governance within the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); ecosystem based economic assessments of water systems; participatory irrigation management, livelihoods and watershed monitoring and assessment. She also has experience in coordinating networks and bringing together organizations in research and consultation on issues such as water quality; governance; gender equality; rethinking economics and science, religion and development.