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Planning dam portfolios for low sediment trapping: a new paper on Science Advances

Freshly published on Science Advances our recent research on strategic dam planning over the whole Mekong river basin shows that alternatives existing to disconnect rivers from deltas. The transboundary Mekong Basin has been dubbed the “Battery of Southeast Asia” for its large hydropower potential. Development of hydropower dams in the six riparian countries proceeds without strategic analyses of dam impacts, e.g., reduced sediment delivery to the lower Mekong. This will impact some of the world’s largest freshwater fisheries and endangers the resilience of the delta, which supports 17 million livelihoods, against rising sea levels. To highlight alternatives, we contribute an optimization-based framework for strategic sequencing of dam development. We quantify lost opportunities from past development and identify remaining opportunities for better tradeoffs between sediment and hydropower. We find that limited opportunities remain for less impactful hydropower in the lower basin, where most development is currently planned, while better trade-offs could be reached with dams in the upper Mekong in China. Our results offer a strategic vision for hydropower in the Mekong, introduce a globally applicable framework to optimize dam sequences in space and time, and highlight the importance of strategic planning on multiple scales to minimize hydropower impacts on rivers.  More HERE

Negotiation Simulation Lab in Ethiopia and Zambia

NRMgroup was involved in an intense week of interactions with the Stakeholders of the DAFNE project showing preliminary results on robust development pathways on both the Omo-Turkana and the Zambezi river basins. We engaged Stakeholders first in Addis Ababa and then in Lusaka in a training session with our newly developed visual analytics tools to compare pathways and explore spatially distributed effects of different pathways on multi-sectors. Feedbacks were extremely positive and constructive and should allow us to further refine tools and solution for the next last session of the DAFNE Negotiation Simulation Lab.

River Basin Development @ IHA World Congress in Paris

The International Hydropower Association held the World Hydropower Congress in Paris. The World Hydropower Congress brings together industry, government, finance, civil society and academia to set priorities for the hydropower sector.  The theme, ‘The Power of Water in a Sustainable, Interconnected World’, focuses on hydropower’s role in delivering on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Andrea Castelletti was one of the speakers in the session on River Basin Development and panelist in the subsequent discussion moderated by IUCN with Julien Harou, Hellen Nabwala Natu,  Amy Newsock, and Yunhua Chen. Andrea presented our recent results on the optimal dam filling applied to the Gibe III and Koysha dam on the Omo-Turkana basin.

Marta won the Young Academics Award of the Alpine Convention

Marta Zaniolo  was awarded the first prize of the Young Academics Award of the Alpine Convention on the topic of Sustainable water management in the Alps, for her Master thesis on Design and Application of basin customized drought indexes for highly regulated basins.  The Alpine Convention is an international treaty between the Alpine Countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia and Switzerland) as well as the EU, for the sustainable development and protection of the Alps. During the 2-4 April XV Alpine Conference representatives of the public and private sector, NGO’s, students, experts and people from all across the Alps came together to discuss, exchange best practices and experiences, and take decisions on pressing Alpine issues. More information available HERE