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
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In many regions in Europe, climate change impacts on water resources are threatening the sustainability of agricultural systems and recent events have demonstrated that drought episodes typically for Southern European countries are expanding to Eastern and Western Europe. Policies and legislation are needed to mitigate the related risks and to adapt to climate change impacts. This work presents a simplified water accounting framework that allows a standardized climate change assessment procedures across multiple river basins and synthesize information on local impacts to inform European policy making strategies. The full paper is available open access HERE, and the water accounting framework is also included in the IMPREX POLICY BRIEF available HERE.
The open source CASCADE toolbox for river sediment connectivity assessment is presented in a new paper on EMS
Sediment connectivity in rivers directly links to fluvial processes and eco-system services. Modelling networkscale sediment connectivity and its response to anthropic alterations, such as dams or land-use changes, is key to better understanding river processes and to inform river basin management. In this paper on Environmental Modelling ans Software, we present a Matlab toolbox for network-scale sediment connectivity based on an implementation of the CASCADE (CAtchment Sediment Connectivity And DElivery) model. CASCADE combines concepts of graph theory with empirical sediment transport formulas to quantify sediment transfers in a river network. Numerical efficiency and flexibility in the input data requirements enables application to large river networks, stochastic simulations of sediment connectivity, and screening impacts of many infrastructure portfolios. Read more HERE.
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.