Methodology

Rationale


  • Excessive withdrawals

    Many river basins are closing and the water consumption of the landscape and from withdrawals is reaching a cap, or exceeds this cap already which implies over-exploitation and removal of water from storage

  • Water Users

    Hence, a fierce competition among water resources is arising in locations and during periods of high aridity

  • Climate Change

    Climate change will exacerbate this situation, especially due to global warming and increased evapotranspiration rates

  • Lack of information

    Data sets on hydrology, water management and in particular on consumptive use at river basin scale are poor, incomplete, absent or hidden

  • Management

    Policy decisions require verified information, in particular on unmanagable, manageable, managed, utilized & utilizable flows

  • Assessment and Control

    There is a need for audited water resources data sets that are certified and can be used at the negotiation table, with standardized terminologies and a clear set of definitions that can be univocally understood by policy makers, lawers, hydrologist, economists, environmentalista and agronomists

  • Plan of action

    Acts and laws in several countries already describe the needs for monthly water reports, efficient use of water and reserving the environment, but there is no standard reporting system in place

  • Implementation

    Setting regulations and sustainability criteria is a tasks of governments, and a supporting system for managing water as a public good is needed


Water consumption services deliver:

Agriculture

food, feed, fiber, fish, timber, nutrition

Environment

biodiversity, habitats, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration, climate resilience, disaster reduction

Economy

industry, harbors, navigation, small holder enterprises

Domestic

drinking, sanitation, cooking, gardening

Energy

hydropower, thermal plants, firewood, coal mines, shales

Leisure

lakes, sport fields, urban parcs, silence areas


Formulation


Sheet 1 - Resource Base (example)

Purpose

  • General overview on over‑exploitation, unmanageable, manageable, exploitable, reserved, utilized and utilizable flows at river basin scale
  • Discern between landscape ET (by rainfall) and incremental ET (by natural and man-made withdrawals)
  • Assessing committments to environment and legal agreements
  • Quantifying atmospheric water recycling
  • Understand water scarcity during dry years

Sheet 2 - Evapotranspiration (example)

Purpose

  • Quantify water consumption for all land use classes throughout the basin
  • Describing the anthropogenic impact on ET and concepts of ET management to reduce total water consumption from withdrawals and inundations
  • Understand impact of land use planning on consumptive use
  • Relate water consumption to intended processes (beneficial vs. non-beneficial ET)

Sheet 3 - Agricultural Services (example)

Purpose

  • Asses agricultural production (kg/ha) in terms of food, feed, timber and fish products
  • Compute the related water productivity (kg/m³) and the gap to demonstrate loss of returns (kg, $ )
  • Decide on future rainfed and irrigated cropping systems
  • Indicate possibilities for saving water in agriculture, with an emphasis on non-beneficial water consumption and shifts from irrigated to rainfed crops and agroforestry systems

Sheet 4 - Utilized Flow (example)

Purpose

  • Provide overview of all man-made withdrawals and assessment of non-authorized use
  • Estimate natural withdrawals due to seasonal floods, shallow groundwater tables and groundwater dependent ecosystems such as forests
  • Describe surface water and groundwater contribution to total withdrawals
  • Distinguish between consumed and non-consumed water and show impact of non-consumptive water use on downstream users; i.e. terrestrial water recycling
  • Recognizing recoverable and non‑recoverable flow

Sheet 5 - Surface Water (example)

Purpose

  • Quantify the natural and actual river flow along a transect of tributaries
  • Determine the surface water availability and utilizable withdrawals in any location in the river basin
  • Describe storage in tributaries and main rivers for regulation purposes and assess the need for more
  • Assist in the planning of infrastructure and water resources development
  • Prepare (surface) water allocation plans, also for dry years
  • Assess needs to modify river flow and increase water security

Sheet 6 - Groundwater (example)

Purpose

  • Understand the role of groundwater in renewable water resources
  • Assess aquifers as a storage reservoir for droughts and their role as buffering mechanism
  • Preparing safe groundwater withdrawal plans (i.e. prevent declining groundwater tables)

Sheet 7 - Ecosystem Services (example)

Purpose

  • Express the regulating role of vegetation in the exchanges between land and atmoshere, i.e. atmospheric cooling by low sensible heat flux, sustaining of rainfall by high latent heat flux, sequestration of carbon due to Net Primary Production (NPP) and high carbon fluxes
  • Estimate the reduction of greenhouse gas emission due to certain land use changes and climate smart agriculture
  • Describe the groundwater recharge and subsequent seepage to contribute to base flow during dry season
  • Evaluate non-recoverable flow due to water quality degradation
  • Mitigate soil erosion due to vegetation cover

Sheet 8 - Sustainability (example)

Purpose

  • Quantify reliability, resilience and vulnerability in a spatial context
  • Describe the duration and extent of anomalies in soil moisture, ET and NPP due to floods and droughts
  • Detecting longer term changes in blue water availability, utilizable outflow, water scarcity, safeguarding environmental water, storage change, agricultural water productivity, atmospheric cooling, carbon sequestration and sustainble rainfall by adapted land use and water use patterns, or by climate change
  • Assess water quality degradation due to pollutions
  • Express these changes in terms of water security