Alumni Refresher Course in Colombia

From 31 August to 5 September 2015, IHE Delft and Universidad EAN with the financial support of EP-NUFFIC organised the refresher course on 'Integrated River basin management under Climate Change'.

The aim was to update the alumni knowledge on integrated river basin management, with focus on the impacts that extreme climate and climate change have on the planning of water resources at a basin level. Professionals from Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia actively participated in this refresher course, which was held in Bogota, Colombia.

The learning objectives of the course were
1. Describe the processes of integrated planning and management for sustainable river basin development;
2. Explain the main drivers of climate variability and change in the Latin-American context and identify the main challenges and adaptation strategies for sustainable water resources management and use; and,
3. Describe and apply tools and technologies to estimate the future climate and to evaluate the impacts of extreme climate on river basin management, as well as adaptation measures.

To this end, the course was structured following three main modules, corresponding to Water Resources Management, Climate Change and Modelling Tools. They can be depicted in a triangle where Modelling is at the base side, representing tools that support decisions. From this base, the Water Resources Management and Climate Change modules emerge and converge. The lecturers of these three modules were, respectively, Dr. Ilyas Maskey, Dr. Shedhar Maskey and Dr. Leonardo Alfonso, who was also course coordinator.

The course was opened by Prof. Pieter van der Zaag, who presented the challenges of River Basin Management due to the effects of Climate Change in a global scale. Then, Prof. German Poveda, from the National University of Colombia, Medellin, emphasised on the main aspects of global changes and the impacts on the water resources in the Latin American region.

A fieldtrip to the Coello river basin, located in the Tolima department, was prepared to identify and critically review the components seen in the modules. The participants were informed about the challenges of climate change for different water users of that basin, including agricultural users and the domestic water use of Ibague (the main city of the region). Participants were also involved in discussions about possible actions to face water scarcity, given the various water demands.

The participants reported the fieldtrip using the EpiCollect mobile application, whose entries can be seen at http://plus.epicollect.net/rc2015/Report.