The Programme Biannual Report

Programme/investment Sustaining Water Resources for Food, Energy & Ecosystem Services (SWR) / NERC-MoES Newton-Bhabha Fund
Completed by Gwyn Rees, Adebayo Adeloye, Ana Mijic & Helen Houghton-Carr     Date   10-Oct-2018


Key achievements
  •  The first SWR cross-programme workshop was held at ICRISAT, Hyderabad 18-20 September 2018 on the topic of Modelling & Scenario Development with the goal of understanding how the three projects address the SWR theme of “sustaining water resources for food, energy and ecosystem services” through whole systems modelling.  The objectives of the workshop were to: (i) Increase awareness of different modelling approaches across SWR programme and better appreciate challenges in whole systems modelling; (ii) Explore use of different/common scenarios for climate, socio-economic and land use change across SWR programme; (iii) Agree best practice approaches to address science-policy interface; (iv) Develop a coordinated process to dissemination of project outputs that seeks to increase impact with different stakeholder groups; and (v) Discuss comparability of project insights across SWR programme and make recommendations for further SWR activity.  The workshop was attended by 28 Indian and UK researchers from across the three SWR projects.
  • The SWR website was released:  The website links to the websites of the three SWR projects, and will help raise the profile of the SWR programme.  An associated email address will facilitate communication with people interested in finding out more about the programme or the individual projects.
  • Publications and datasets: CHANSE team members published a paper in Water Resources Research on the topic of including farmer irrigation behaviour in a socio-hydrological modelling frameworks in June (  This will form an important framework for future modelling publications.  A collaborative manuscript on SusHi-Wat’s whole systems modelling approach was submitted to Science of the Total Environment (September), while at least four papers dealing with specific aspects of the project have now been published.  SusHi-Wat has lodged a remote sensing-derived product of monthly maps of snow cover with EIDC.  UPSCAPE team members published a paper in Advances in Water Resources on multi-scale evolution of the persistence of rainfall and streamflow in August ( in which the Cauvery basin was a case study.
  •  Dissemination of outputs: CHANSE team members presented research results at the annual AGU conference (New Orleans, December).  SusHi-Wat team members presented research results at: the annual EGU conference (Vienna, April), the India-UK Water Centre workshop (Dehradun, May), the Indus Basin Knowledge Forum (Vienna, May-June), the IAHS 8th International Water Resources Conference (Beijing, June), and at Adaptation Futures 2018 (Cape Town, June).


Overall progress
  • Events: Collaborative working between Indian and UK partners continued across the three SWR projects, involving activities such as fieldwork, modelling and stakeholder engagement.  In April 2018, the third UPSCAPE consortium meeting, and in September 2018, the third CHANSE consortium meeting, were held, both at IISc, Bangalore.  The CHANSE UK team hosted researchers from CHANSE-India at Exeter University (February 2018) and Imperial College (June 2018).  A SusHi-Wat MSc student from Heriot-Watt University made a 3-month exchange visit (June-September 2018) to IIT-Roorkee and NIT-Hamirpur to work on the field irrigation water demand and scheduling studies.
  • Fieldwork: SusHi-Wat successfully conducted field crop experiments (soil moisture and canopy temperature measurements) on Indian mustard and has now moved onto maize.  Other SusHi-Wat fieldwork focused on macro-invertebrate sampling to improve understanding of the link between ecosystem service delivery and water utilisation, and the collection of data on cultural ecosystem services.  UPSCAPE field campaigns included geological mapping and hydrochemical/tracer studies which have informed conceptual models of the Cauvery basin and subcatchment hydrogeology, and borehole water level analyses which have been used to develop a yield map for the Cauvery basin.  Other UPSCAPE fieldwork and modelling (SWAT) examined water use under different cropping patterns as part of a command area optimisation study.  CHANSE drilled monitoring boreholes and installed surface and groundwater monitoring equipment in canals and the new boreholes.  CHANSE’s field data collection programme included pre-monsoon hydro-meteorological and hydro-geological data including water samples, and ecological data.
  • Modelling: Validated hydrological models for the Beas-Sutlej basin (SWAT and VIC, SusHi-Wat) and the Cauvery basin (GWAVA and VIC, UPSCAPE) provide baselines for future hydrological projections based on climate and socio-economic scenarios.  The AMBHAS-1D groundwater model was implemented within the GWAVA water resources model in UPSCAPE and fully linked with the VIC hydrological model in CHANSECHANSE has developed a spatially distributed socio-hydrological model for the Gandak basin, and strengthened it with the AquaCropOS module.  CHANSE made progress with the systems modelling framework, ecological model development and link with the climate simulations.  CHANSE also received an additional grant to implement the modelling framework as an online open source platform.  Sushi-Wat generated high resolution, accurate weather data for a baseline period (1980-2005) by dynamically downscaling from two coarse-scale CMIP5 GCM simulations and appropriately bias-correced.  A whole-system model for use by the Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) and other relevant stakeholders to better manage water resources was developed and demonstrated on-site in Chandigarh by SusHi-Wat.  Multi-reservoir, multi-purpose operation tools for reservoirs in the basin have been developed to improve absorption of any climate change shocks.
  • Stakeholder engagement: In April 2018, UPSCAPE carried out stakeholder engagement events in Bangalore, Karnataka, and in Tiruchirappalli and Chennai, Tamil Nadu.  In total, the events engaged 56 stakeholders from 22 organisations representing state governmental departments, national governmental agencies, educational institutes and non-governmental organisations within the Cauvery basin, to construct narratives of the potential socio-economic futures.  The facilitated discussions identified seven socio-economic drivers of hydrological change (population, urbanisation, policy, technology, agriculture, industry/energy, and environment), and discussed how these drivers may vary to create ‘best-case’, ‘middle of the road’ and ‘worst-case’ futures for water resources.  The results will be used to inform the quantification of water resources demands and their trajectories across the basin over time, otherwise referred to as ‘regionally downscaled socio-economic futures’.  The socio-economic projections will be combined with climatic projections to understand the future water resources challenges in the Cauvery basin.  The UPSCAPE flier was reproduced in simple English, Kannada and Tamil to improve communication with local stakeholders.
  • Food-energy-ecosystem services nexus: Assessments of water resources for food, energy and ecosystem services have commenced across the three projects, and outputs are being presented as journal and conference papers by Indian and UK partners.


Notable issues (if any)
  • Data: SusHi-Wat and UPSCAPE report that there are still difficulties in obtaining field data of some of the sites which is hampering the hydrological modelling work.
  •  Communication: UPSCAPE notes that communication between UK and Indian partners remains difficult with some Indian partners not responding to standard methods of communicating e.g. email, telephone, whatsapp.  Most progress is made during face-to-face meetings.
  • Funding: Delays and cuts in funding from MoES for the Indian partners has impacted activities and India-UK collaboration across the three SWR projects.  NERC has awarded extensions to all three projects – 6 months for CHANSE, 9 months for UPSCAPE, and 12 months for SusHi-Wat.  The different end dates may have implications for end of programme events.


Upcoming newsworthy activities
  • Recent: Laura Wignall recently started a PhD at Exeter University under the WISE (Water Informatics Science & Engineering) EPSRC DTP, working on research related to CHANSESusHi-Wat PI Adebayo Adeloye was recently appointed as a Visiting Professor in Water Resources Management, China Agricultural University (CAU), Beijing.  The citation stressed the significance of his work in SusHi-Wat in furthering understanding of the water resources in the Indian Himalayas.  In June 2018, Adebayo Adeloye visited CAU to give lectures based on SusHi-Wat outputs.  SusHi-Wat Indian-PI CSP Ojha was appointed as Institute Chair Professor at IIT Roorkee on 1 June 2018, for a period of three years and as Adjunct Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA from 1 September 2018 for a period of two years.  CHANSE project leads, Subimal Ghosh (IIT Bombay) and Jagdish Krishnaswamy (ATREE) have been appointed to IPCC AR6 Working Groups as, respectively, Lead Author for Climate Science, and Coordinating Lead Author for Climate Change and Land.  There is potential to link CHANSE project outputs to the reports’ recommendations.
  • October 2018: Sushi-Wat PI Adebayo Adeloye will be attending the International Conference on Water Science for Impact at Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands, where he will make a presentation on aspects of SusHi-Wat under the theme “Water Management in India”.  UPSCAPE team member Pawan Wable from ICRISAT will make a two-week exchange visit to CEH Wallingford to assist with the incorporation of interventions in basin-scale hydrological models.
  •  November 2018:  Ian Holman from SusHi-Wat will run a 1-week GIAN (Global Initiative of Academic Networks) short course at IIT Kharagpur on “Improved climate change adaptation strategies in water resources” (in February 2016, Adebayo Adeloye ran a similar workshop at NIT-Hamirpur).  On 20 November, the second UPSCAPE UK team meeting will be held at CEH, Wallingford.
  • December 2018: Jimmy O’Keefe and Simon Moulds from CHANSE will be attending the AGU Fall Meeting in Washington where they will make a presentation on project results.
  • 2019: SusHi-Wat will run a Farmers Extension Workshop at the Agricultural Research Station Bajuara, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh which will focus on benefits of irrigation scheduling.  In February 2019, the fourth UPSCAPE consortium meeting will be held at IISc, Bangalore.  The CHANSE team will meet again in March 2019 in India: planned activities include a Gandak basin visit, a stakeholder engagement workshop in Patna, and the final consortium meeting in Mumbai.