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Changing sediment budget of the Mekong: New paper on Science of the Total Environment

Two decades after the construction of the first major dam, the Mekong basin and its six riparian countries have seen rapid economic growth and development of the river system. Hydropower dams, aggregate mines, flood-control dykes, and groundwater-irrigated agriculture have all provided short-term economic benefits throughout the basin. However, it is becoming evident that anthropic changes are significantly affecting the natural functioning of the river and its floodplains. We now ask if these changes are risking major adverse impacts for the 70 million people living in the Mekong Basin. Many livelihoods in the basin depend on ecosystem services that will be strongly impacted by alterations of the sediment transport processes that drive river and delta morpho-dynamics, which underpin a sustainable future for the Mekong basin and Delta.

Drawing upon ongoing and recently published research, we provide an overview of key drivers of change (hydropower development, sand mining, dyking and water infrastructures, climate change, and accelerated subsidence from pumping) for the Mekong’s sediment budget, and their likely individual and cumulative impacts on the river system.  More HERE

Is small scale food production in water limited regions sustainable?: a new paper tries to find an answer for the Gaza strip

Enhancing local production is key to promoting food security, especially in rural households of low-income countries, but may conflict with limited natural resources and ecosystems preservation. In this paper, we propose a framework integrating the water-food nexus and a sustainable livelihoods perspective to assess small-scale food production in water-poor regions. We demonstrate the framework by assessing alternative production scenarios in the Gaza Strip at different spatial scales. At the scale of a single farm, there is a clear conflict among objectives: while cash crops ensure good incomes but contribute scarcely to domestic protein supply, crops performing well from the nutritional and environmental viewpoint are among the worst from the economic one. At the regional scale, domestic production might cover an important fraction of nutritional needs while contributing to household income, but water scarcity impairs the satisfaction of food demand by domestic production alone.  Find more HERE

Francesca Recanati, Andrea Castelletti, Giovanni Dotelli, Paco Melià, Trading off natural resources and rural livelihoods. A framework for sustainability assessment of small-scale food production in water-limited regions, In Advances in Water Resources, Volume 110, 2017, Pages 484-493, ISSN 0309-1708,

Heading to New Orleans for AGU 2017

Also this year we will participate in the AGU Fall Meeting , temporarily moved to New Orleans. Here is the list of our contributions:  

H11I-1318 Design and application of drought indexes in highly regulated Mediterranean water systems Andrea Castelletti, Marta Zaniolo and Matteo Giuliani

H11J-1339 Improving seasonal forecasts of hydroclimatic variables through the state of multiple large-scale climate signals Matteo GiulianiAndrea Castelletti, and Paul J Block

H33H-1811 Lost opportunities and future avenues to reconcile hydropower and sediment transport in the Mekong Basin through optimal sequencing of dam portfolios.Rafael J. P. Schmitt, Simone BizziAndrea Castelletti and G Mathias Kondolf

H33H-1812 Index-based insurance contracts to foster cooperation between agents exposed to uncorrelated drought and flooding risks  Simona Denaro, Matteo Giuliani, Andrea Castelletti and Gregory W Characklis

H23J-1805 The future of hydropower planning modeling Jannik Haas, Delia Zuñiga, Wolfgang Nowak, Marcelo A Olivares, Andrea Castelletti,  and Amaury Tilmant

H31O-04 Exploring How Changing Monsoonal Dynamics and Human Pressures Challenge Multi-Reservoir Management of Food-Energy-Water Tradeoffs Julianne Quinn, Patrick M Reed, Matteo Giuliani, Andrea Castelletti, Jared Oyler and Robert Nicholas

EP53B-1714 Losing ground in mega-deltas: basin-scale response to existential threats to the Mekong Delta G Mathias Kondolf, Rafael J. P. Schmitt, Paul A Carling, Stephen E Darby , Mauricio Eduardo AriasSimone Bizzi, Andrea Castelletti, Thomas A Cochrane, Stanford Gibson, Matti Kummu, Chantha Oeurng, Zan Rubin and Thomas Bernard Wild

Balancing exploration, uncertainty and computational demands in many objective reservoir optimization: a new paper on Advances in Water Resources

In this paper led by Jazmin Zatarain Salazar and our colleaguea at Cornell, we contribute a diagnostic assessment of state-of-the-art parallel strategies for the auto-adaptive Borg Multi Objective Evolutionary Algorithm (MOEA) to support EMODPS. Our analysis focuses on the Lower Susquehanna River Basin (LSRB) system where multiple sectoral demands from hydropower production, urban water supply, recreation and environmental flows need to be balanced. Using EMODPS with different parallel configurations of the Borg MOEA, we optimize operating policies over different size ensembles of synthetic streamflows and evaporation rates. As we increase the ensemble size, we increase the statistical fidelity of our objective function evaluations at the cost of higher computational demands. This study demonstrates how to overcome the mathematical and computational barriers associated with capturing uncertainties in stochastic multiobjective reservoir control optimization, where parallel algorithmic search serves to reduce the wall-clock time in discovering high quality representations of key operational tradeoffs. Our results show that emerging self-adaptive parallelization schemes exploiting cooperative search populations are crucial. Such strategies provide a promising new set of tools for effectively balancing exploration, uncertainty, and computational demands when using EMODPS.