Research at catchment/basin/regional scale


Catchment hydrology and territorial studies

For the strategic planning of water management at the catchment scale, integrated modeling is a novel approach and its potential is used to couple knowledge and models from different disciplines and research fields (Gaiser et al.,2007). The integrated approach can also enable decision makers and planners to evaluate the trade-offs within the landscape under different hydrologic scenarios and management objectives (Yates et al., 2005). There is much information about the application of integrated hydrological models to obtain a better understanding of how water flows through a watershed in response to hydrologic events and about the allocation of water resources that become available to different uses in response to those events (Yates et al., 2005). Some hydrological models also offer the possibility to study the impact of possible future climate and land use changes on water resources, and this kind of analysis is of great importance in those regions characterized by water scarcity, vulnerability to desertification, and climate variability. In fact, hydrology studies are becoming more important in arid regions where climate elements - particularly rainfall - are severe, sporadic and difficult to forecast.

Timing:
Starting: 8.01.2006
Scheduled ending: 23.09.2019
Real ending: 23.09.2019
Objectives:

The purpose of this research is then to respond to the increasing request for reliable tools in the domain of water resource management and planning in semi-arid areas. This need is related to the increasing gap between water demand and supply, to water quality deterioration, scarcity of reliable data, lack of measurements and specific information of relevant water flow parameters.

In addition, this research allows the analysis of different future scenarios that are the reference baselines for long-term strategic planning of sustainable water resource management. Successful territory management is based on evaluating and monitoring the impacts of possible changes (climate, land use, etc.) on water resources, and on the consequent assessment of possible solutions and mitigation strategies (policies and technologies).

Justification:

Such research line was motivated by the need to determine the natural water availability in a basin, which is an essential prerequisite to understand the economic and social assessment of a semi-arid Mediterranean country, characterized by water scarcity and drought.

As a short-term impact of drought events, water availability temporarily diminishes. Coupled with an increased demand, particularly for human needs, this leads to substantial water stress for humans and ecological systems. Over the long run, groundwater resources and reservoirs will not be able to recover from over-exploitation, and will be exacerbated by times of drought, turning towards a situation of water scarcity. Moreover, an increase in droughts due to climate change effects via reduced precipitation and increased temperatures will lead to a further decline in water availability. For this reason  it is also important to evaluate alternative future scenarios.

Potential:

This research will allow defining the most reliable tools to be used in order to study the water balance and all the freshwater related issues at catchment scale. All the data collected for the application of hydrological models will constitute a database of all the investigated areas. In addition, the evaluation of alternative future scenarios will support stakeholders and decision makers in planning interventions.

Results:
Notes:
  • Strengths

All the outputs from the previous research lines can be integrated and up-scaled within the framework of this research. This allows studying the impact of: i) the current situation on water resources and ii) possible climate and land use changes scenarios.

  • Weaknesses

The Mediterranean region is characterized by lack of some systematic measurements, such as stream-flow, and by scarcity of available data. In some cases this situation makes it difficult to calibrate the hydrological models.

Reference person/s: Lamaddalena Nicola /
Collaborators: D'Agostino Daniela / Hamdy Atef / Scardigno Alessandra / Todorovic Mladen /
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Monitoring of groundwater salination by seawater intrusion on the Lebanese coast
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A methodology for assessing regional irrigation water demand
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Institutions involved:
 
 
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