Title: Artificial Intelligence on Water Resources. Hydroinformatics applications in Machine Learning, trends and alumni experiences
Objective: These seminars will present experiences of the use of machine learning in water resources
Date: 6 & 13 November 2020
Time: 13:00 to 14:00 CET
Speakers: Dr Ir Gerald Corzo Perez, Associate Professor of Hydroinformatics and alumni Ms. Tao Wen Kai, Mr. Jose Rodolfo Valles Leon, Mr. Daniel Vazquez Bado
In recent years the increase of machine learning applications to water resources have allowed us to propose new solutions to complex problems. Alumni from the Hydroinformatics program have explored new areas that in many cases have led to implementations at different places in the world, and have shown to be able to compete with ongoing traditional solutions. For this seminar we will make an overview of some of the most recent ideas of applications of machine learning in Hydroinformatics. These presentations will be divided into two sessions that will cover forecasting problems. An introduction in both sessions to a variety of machine learning basic concepts will be given to introduce the topics, limitations and a friendly way to see the theory.
Introduction seminar 1 | 6 November 2020, 13:00 to 14:00 CET
How to understand the problem of forecasting and how machine learning has been applied to increase accuracy, understand uncertainty and provide extended lead times.
By alumna Tao Kai Wen. To cater to the imminent threats of changing weather patterns and increase urbanisation, Singapore’s national water agency, PUB, aims to improve its flood forecasting system. In light of the recent advancement in deep learning, many studies have cited promising results of deep learning model (ConvLSTM) on radar rainfall nowcasting. Thus, KaiWen’s research work is dedicated to pilot study of the application of deep learning models (ConvLSTM and its variants) in the area of radar rainfall nowcasting and flood forecasting, for the case of Singapore. The deep learning model adopts a hybrid combination of convolutional neural network which is commonly used in computer vision tasks such as face recognition and image classification; and the recurrent neural network which is typically used in language translation. The deep learning models were trained using past observed radar images from Meteorological Service Singapore to forecast future water levels at 5 locations in Bedok Catchment of Singapore. The results of this research would be useful for tropical countries with dynamic weather patterns and small flashy catchments like Singapore.
About the Speakers:
Dr Ir Gerald A. Corzo has extensive experience in modelling water resources using advanced ICT technology. Since the last four year he has been working on the use of global hydrological models ensembles and their uncertainty for climate change analysis. In 2012 he won the Tison award as a young scientist from the IAHR association. His work covers extreme natural events like the research in forecasting and analyzing flood and drought by the development of hydroinformatics technologies. In general, Artificial intelligence, Machine learning and Pattern Recognition have been applied in his thesis to solve problems in the water resources area. He has worked on different international institutions like Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the Technologic of Monterrey in Mexico. He has coordinated the statistics of the Climate change inventory of adaptation and mitigation actions for Latin-America, presented at the WWF in 2012.
He is the chair of the session in Geo-statistics at the EGU conference and reviewer of multiple journals like the Environmental Software and Modelling, the Journal of Hydrology and the Hydrology and Earth System Science, and some conferences like international joint conference in Neural Computation (IJCNN - IEEE). Read more
MSc Teo Kai Wen graduated from Environmental Engineering at Nanyang Technology University of Singapore in 2011. She started her career with Singapore’s National Water Agency (PUB), as a drainage planning engineer. She was subsequently rotated to the hydrodynamic modelling team where she carried out 1D/2D hydraulic simulations, assessed flood risks and identified flood mitigation measures for areas in Singapore. During her stint with the modelling team, Kai Wen also worked on PUB’s R&D initiatives such as implementation of x-band weather radars at PUB installations and the Smart Drainage Grid network system. In 2017, Kai Wen left Singapore for her PUB-sponsored MSc at IHE Delft, specialising in Hydroinformatics. Kai Wen completed her MSc research work on deep learning models for radar rainfall casting and flood forecasting before returning to Singapore in 2019. She now serves in the Policy Planning department of PUB. LinkedIn profile
MSc Jose Rodolfo Valles Leon is a civil engineer with a master’s degree in water science and Engineering specialization Hydroinformatics in IHE-Delft the Netherlands. He has 9-year experience in Hydrological models, Data-Driven Models, hydrological forecasting, drought analysis, and impact of climate change on water resources in El Salvador and Uruguay. Before joining the National Directorate of Water of Uruguay (DINAGUA, for its acronym in Spanish), he worked as hydrological forecast in El Salvador at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of El Salvador. Currently, he is the manager of the Situation and Forecast Room of DINAGUA Uruguay. LinkedIn profile
'Dynamics of private smallholder irrigation using sand river aquifers in semi-arid lands'
Tuesday 15 September 2020
In many countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, smallholders are increasingly participating in irrigation development using their private capital with minimal government or donor support. This kind of farmer-led irrigation development is crucial in achieving food security and alleviating poverty for millions of smallholders who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. An important driver for farmers to invest in irrigation is the availability of water and seasonal rivers commonly found in semi-arid areas contain shallow alluvial aquifers that have the potential of supporting smallholder irrigation.
However, private smallholder irrigation takes place in informal settings and the derived benefits, challenges and failures of farmers which shape their development trajectories are not well understood. Its continued and unchecked spread also raises concerns about sustainable management of land and water resources.
The objective of this research was to therefore assess the characteristics of private smallholder development along a seasonal sand river in Southern Kenya including the drivers, challenges and trajectories of farmers’ development over time. The webinar will present the methodology and findings of the research.
About the Speaker:
Mr. Benson Mutuma Karimba is a graduate engineer and researcher from Kenya. He recently graduated from IHE Delft with an MSc specialization in Land and Water Development for Food Security and won the WSE thesis Award 2020 under the theme of sustainability. Benson has an BSc in Soil, Water and Environmental Engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and currently works in the Biosystems Engineering Department of Meru University of Science and Technology. He has also worked as a sales engineer in the private sector for 4 years dealing with the supply and installation of water pumps, drip irrigation systems and solar powered equipment. His research interest is in irrigation development and particularly strengthening of adaptability and resilience of smallholder farming systems.
'Turning sea water into fresh water'
Thursday 16 July 2020
This webinar is a very first introduction to the field of desalination, which engineering professionals and students may use as a stepping stone in furthering their education in this topic. It discusses the drivers for desalination, the current desalination trends worldwide, the energy consumption and costs.
• Gain a knowledge base of what desalination entails
• Understand the main drivers for desalination
• Have an overview of the current world and regional desalination capacities
• Why do we need desalination?
• Desalination technologies: Distillation and Reverse osmosis
• Desalination trends worldwide
• Set-up of a desalination plant
• Energy consumption and costs
• IHE Delft in the field of desalination
About the Speaker:
Dr. Sergio Salinas is a desalination and water treatment technology professional and university lecturer, with experience in Latin America, Middle East, and Europe.
Sergio has a PhD in Desalination and Water Treatment from the Technical University of Delft, an MSc in Water Supply Engineering from UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, a Master’s in Irrigation and Drainage and a BSc in Civil Engineering from San Simon Major University. He also obtained the University Teaching Qualification in the Netherlands.
He has over 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings in the areas of seawater and brackish water desalination, water treatment, water reuse, and natural organic matter characterization.
'The many meanings of menstruation: discussing menarche and womanhood with Zambian school girls'
19 June 2020
The strong link between African girls’ education and their menstruation became a taken-for-granted fact which prompted the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector to initiate the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) projects in schools. This has been done because barriers of access to menstrual hygiene (such as the unavailability of pads) have been identified as major obstacles to the educational advancement of adolescent girls in Africa (and the global south in general) resulting to poor health and economic insecurity. Therefore, MHM interventions are valued as important ways to “empower” global south women, by keeping them in school.
Research and interventions by the WASH sector and organisations conducting MHM have met with critiques from feminist scholars. These critiques have highlighted how MHM can reinforce imaginaries of superiority and “civilization” and that inequities aggravated by the lack of access to sanitation cannot be solved with technological fixes, such as the distribution of sanitary pads by MHM projects.
In order to contribute to these critical approaches, this research aimed to capture school girls’ own voices, thoughts, enthusiasms, and anxieties around menstruation and womanhood. It thus engaged with girls in two schools from urban Zambia, through photo-voice workshops. This webinar will present the findings of this research.
About the Speaker:
Ms. Amie Jammeh, is a scholar from the Gambia. She graduated from IHE Delft Institute for Water Education with an MSc in Sanitation. Amie have a BA degree in Plant Production from the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan. She also hold a Teacher Certificate in General Science and Social and Environmental Science from The Gambia College. For five years she worked as a graduate teacher, with a focus on delivering quality and innovative agricultural expertise, skills and knowledge. As a graduate teacher, she have worked to boost the removed ‘morals’ and interest of young people towards agriculture. Amie is interested in peri-urban livelihoods, Sub-Saharan Africa’s urbanization, sanitation, and gender.
'Open Education for water Professionals'
GROUNDWATER: Making the invisible visible
‘Coastal evolution and management: a new tool to understand the past and future'
Why is fetching water considered as a women’s (or children’s) job?
About the speaker
Towards better cities: with water, nature, and YOU: My learning moments during ten years of rubbing shoulders with stakeholders.
Date: 12 March 2019
About the Speaker
Assela Pathirana is a Civil Engineer and hydrologist originating from Sri Lanka. He holds Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering, B.Sc.Eng. (First Class Honours) (1995) from University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka and Masters (1998) and Doctoral (2001) degrees in Civil Engineering, specializing in hydrology and water resources engineering, from Tokyo University. Next he worked as a senior research fellow of the Environment and Sustainable Development programme of United Nations University and later as a research scientist of the International Centre for Water Hazard Risk Management (UNESCO-ICHARM), before joining IHE Delft in year 2006. Currently he works as Associate Professor of Integrated Urban Water Cycle Management in the department of Water Science and Engineering in the core group of Flood Resilience.
'Communicating without words'
Date: 22 November 2018
Did you know that...
Of all land that is irrigated, 20% has become too salinized to farm. This means 1.6 million hectares are lost every year. In just over a decade we lost groundwater equivalent to 40 million Olympic-size swimming pools. Due to human activity, many deltas are sinking 5 times faster than sea levels are rising. There is a need to communicate the global water crises more widely. Not enough is being done in this direction. Water management happens across different regions, different sectors, and involves professionals of different specialization. In order that they all learn from each other’s work, it is important that they capture and communicate their experiences effectively.
Communication tools are now available to all. Everyone can film, record, write, and publish online. Scientists, researchers, project managers--- everyone is potentially a communicator. This is an opportunity for water professionals to use communication tools not just to disseminate, but also to collaborate, and source information. And to learn from peers a process known as horizontal learning. In this webinar, Lenneke Knoop and Abraham Abhishek from TheWaterChannel will present a framework of Communication for collaboration, research, and horizontal learning; and how tools like video and infographics can help implement it in water management.
About the Speakers:
Ms. Lenneke Knoop (TheWaterChannel) has experience is in Natural Resource Management and Communications, with over 12 years’ experience working in the areas of NRM such as spate irrigation, water supply & sanitation and groundwater management. Over that time, she has also designed and delivered communication trainings for water sector professionals, educational institutions, and community-based organisations – in The Netherlands, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Bangladesh.
Mr. Abraham Abhishek (TheWaterChannel) has worked as a broadcast journalist, a researcher, and a communications expert for over 12 years; most recently in the field of water management. Over that time, he has produced several videos; and designed/managed projects applying videos and photography as tools for research and learning.
‘Chasing the mosquitos in the Urban South, Aedes aegypti, water, and households’
Date 4 September 2018
In 2014 and 2015 various outbreaks of dengue were reported in Mozambique. In countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, such as Colombia, there have also been outbreaks of dengue, zika and chikungunya.
High percentages of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that most effectively transmits these diseases, were found in cities such as Pemba, Maputo, Barranquilla, and Buenaventura. Dengue, zika and chikungunya, and their transmission vector, mosquito Aedes aegypti are tied to water as this mosquito lays eggs in stored water in or around households.
This seminar describes the use of an ethnographic approach to study households, water supply availability, intermittence and distribution, and document politics and everyday community strategies to obtain and store water. It focuses on the interdependence between intermittent water supply, deficient solid waste collection, and the Aedes aegypti. It also takes into account the different legacies left by civil wars and rural crises on processes of unequal urbanization.
About the Speaker
Dr. Tatiana Acevedo Guerrero is a geographer with a background in political studies. She holds the position of Lecturer and Researcher in Politics of Sanitation and Wastewater Governance at the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education. The research of Tatiana focuses on the interactions between urban water flows, infrastructure, and communities, in the context of rapid unplanned growth and uneven development in cities of the global South.
She is concerned with the different relationships and histories that are reflected in access to (and exclusion from) water supply, sanitation, and drainage. Her research documents the ways in which residents of different neighbourhoods make water flow – not only to access (or store) drinkable water, but also to make other waters (human excreta, household wastewater and storm water) leave.
Her work also recognizes the entanglements between different infrastructures such as drainage, water supply, sanitation, solid waste collection, and electricity. For in the context of southern cities, where many infrastructures are characterized by long term breakdown and poor maintenance, infrastructures tend to be deeply intertwined because if one breakdowns the others will probably follow.
Tatiana’s most recent research has a comparative approach and is ongoing in Maputo and Pemba (Mozambique) and Barranquilla (Colombia). It investigates the connections between intermittent water supply, water storage practices, and Aedes aegypti. Through ethnographic and archival work, the project aims to describe the historical legacies and daily routines that link communities, stored water, and mosquitoes and understand what they might tell us about cities in the South. While her work comes under the sub-disciplines of political ecology and urban studies, it also examines a broad range of questions related to socio-technical networks, state formation, and citizenship.
'Managing flood risk in semi-arid data scarce regions'
Date 7 June 2018
Globally, incidents of flooding have been on the rise over the last century. In semi arid regions such as the North African and Middle Eastern (MENA), the World Bank has predicted an increase in flood vulnerability for the region over the next 20 years. The hydrological characteristics of these areas make them prone to flash floods due to short duration events, small area extent, high flood peaks and rapid flows. Combined with increased urbanisation and exposure these areas are subjected to increased flood risk resulting in loss of life and property. As a consequence there is the need for increased risk knowledge towards the implementation of resilient strategies. This seminar presents a brief introduction to the concepts of flood risk management and an overview of some suitable strategies applicable to coping with flash floods in semi arid regions.
About the Speaker
Adele Young is a recent graduate of IHE Delft having just completed an MSc in Water Science and Engineering with a specialisation in Hydraulic Engineering and River Basin Development. At present, she is a participant in the advanced classes at IHE Delft where she is working towards the publication of her thesis research focused on using hydrological data for the characterisation and early warning of urban flooding in Alexandria, Egypt. Hailing from the island of Trinidad and Tobago, Adele has eight years experience as a civil engineer, most recently working in the area of land and infrastructure development of greenfield and squatter upgrade projects in her home country. Coming from the Caribbean, she has a keen interest in disaster risk reduction, flood risk management and early warning systems especially in regions where data unavailability is seen as a major challenge to understanding and mitigating risk.
'Water Cooperation & Diplomacy'
About the Speakers:
Dr. Aaron T. Wolf is a professor at Oregon State University and visiting professor in Water Diplomacy at IHE Delft. He has an M.S. in water resources management and a Ph.D. in environmental policy analysis. His research focuses on issues relating transboundary water resources to political conflict and cooperation, where his training combining environmental science with dispute resolution theory and practice have been particularly appropriate.
Dr. Wolf has acted as consultant to the US Department of State, the US Agency for International Development, and the World Bank, and several governments on various aspects of international water resources and dispute resolution. He has been involved in developing the strategies for resolving water aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including co-authoring a State Department reference text, and participating in both official and "track II" meetings between co-riparians. He is author of Hydropolitics Along the Jordan River: The Impact of Scarce Water Resources on the Arab-Israeli Conflict (United Nations University Press, 1995); co-author of Core and Periphery: A Comprehensive Approach to Middle Eastern Water (Oxford University Press, 1997), Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Resolution: Theory, Practice and Annotated References (United Nations University Press, 2000), and Managing and Transforming Water Conflicts (Cambridge University Press, 2009); and editor of Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Water Systems (Elgar, 2002). All told, he is (co-) author or (co-) editor of seven books, and close to fifty journal articles, book chapters, and professional reports on various aspects of transboundary waters.
Dr. Wolf, a trained mediator/facilitator, directs the Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation, through which he has offered workshops, facilitations, and mediation in basins throughout the world. He developed and coordinates the Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database, which includes a computer compilation of 400 water-related treaties, negotiating notes and background material on fourteen case-studies of conflict resolution, news files on cases of acute water-related conflict, and assessments of indigenous/traditional methods of water conflict resolution (www.transboundarywaters.orst.edu). He was also a member of UNESCO’s task force for the development of the Sixth Phase of the International Hydrology Program (2002-2007), the UNESCO/ADC Third Millennium Program on International Waters, and IWRA’s Committee for International Collaboration, and is a co-director of the Universities Partnership on Transboundary Waters.
Ms. Zaki Shubber is UNESCO-IHE alumna and lecturer in law and water diplomacy at the IHE Delft. She holds an LLM in Water Governance and Conflict Resolution from the University of Dundee and an LLM in Public International Law from the University of London. Prior to joining IHE Delft, she worked as a lawyer in London. She now focuses on water law at a national and international level as well as on the judicial and non-judicial settlement of water disputes.
'Climate Change and Water Scarcity'
Date 14 February 2018
The latest global risk report of the World Economic Forum again shows extreme weather events, natural disasters and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation in the top of the global crises as far as impact and likelihood are concerned. This demonstrates the urgent need for action. Effective action requires a thorough understanding of the both the bio-physical as well as of the socio economic system.
This seminar presents an overview on the present knowledge of climate change and related sectors. What is our present situation as far as our mitigation efforts are concerned? What is the impact of climate change on water? On the impact side special focus will be on dry extremes. Research gaps and possible ways forward will be discussed.
About the Speaker:
Prof. Dr. Eddy J. Moors is Rector of IHE Delft Institute for Water Education. He also holds the position of professor “Water and Climate” at VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Moors started his career at the World Meteorological Organization working in the Africa and the Caribbean. Before coming to Delft, he worked at Wageningen Environmental Research – Alterra of Wageningen UR in the research programmes Climate Adaptive Society and Sustainable Water. Keywords in his work are: water, drought, climate change, adaptation, primary production, green-house gas emissions, stakeholder interaction.
His background in hydrology and climate change research on mitigation and on adaptation topics makes him a key player in the field of integration of mitigation and adaptation challenges. The present focus of his research is on the occurrence of trends and extremes as well as on measures to mitigate these extremes using a systems approach.
He has been coordinator of numerous national and international projects ranging from Europe, Africa, India, Bangladesh, East-Siberia to USA and Brazil. The last ten years his work has concentrated on Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal) as well as North America.
Moors is among others chair of the IGRAC foundation, member of the board of trustees of the Just Digit Foundation, member of the SENSE research school. He is associated editor of the Elsevier journal “Environmental Science and Policy” as well as member of the editorial board of “Climate Services” also of Elsevier.
'Engaging with the Politics of Water Governance'
Date 05 December 2017
In the last decades the term water governance has increasingly appeared in academic publications, from basically zero in 1980 to more than forty-five thousand articles published on water governance by the year 2016. Since the start of this millennium, water governance also has gained momentum within global policy networks and the narrative of understanding the global water crisis as mainly ‘a crisis of governance’ has become predominant. Water governance seems to have replaced the 1980s-1990s paradigm of integrated water resources management, with ‘good’ water governance’ embraced as a panacea to solve the world’s water shortages and conflicts. This proliferation and popularity of the concept water governance has led to numerous initiatives and even sparked new organizations into being. The Water Governance Chair Group at IHE Delft, which was established in 2012, is one of them.
The widespread use of the term water governance suggests that there is agreement on its definition. This is erroneous: there exist many different interpretations on what the concept entails, depending on the perspective and context in which it is used. Its predominant use to date, however, has been to normatively prescribe or help design particular institutional, organizational and financial arrangements for making water decisions and regulating water. The scientific foundations for such prescriptive governance recipes often come from ideologically informed speculations about what society or development should be, rather than from in-depth empirical understandings of how water governance actually occurs.
About the Speaker
Margreet Zwarteveen is an irrigation engineer and social scientist, who joined IHE Delft in 2014 to become its professor of Water Governance, within the Integrated Water Systems and Water Governance Department. Her professorial affiliation is with the Governance and Inclusive Development Group at the UvA, see http://www.uva.nl/en/news-events/news/uva-news/content/professor-appointments/2014/03/margreet-zwarteveen-professor-by-special-appointment-of-water-governance.html
Zwarteveen studies water allocation policies and practices, focusing on questions of equity and justice. Her research includes the study of different institutional and technical modalities for allocating water and regulating water flows, and of different ways to understand or legitimize these. Zwarteveen uses an interdisciplinary approach, seeing water allocation as the outcome of interactions between nature, technologies and society.
The relation between power and water is central in the work of Zwarteveen, with explicit attention to gender. Her current research looks at re-allocations of water from agriculture and rural areas to cities and industries: how do these re-allocations happen, with what effects, and how are they legitimized in policies and knowledge? She for instance studies how the introduction of supposedly water efficient technologies (drip irrigation) goes accompanied with, and causes, changes in water tenure relations that favour some people more than others. Zwarteveen is also interested in questions emerging at the interface between science and policy when governing water, especially in relation to the challenges of dealing with complexities and uncertainties.
Zwarteveen coordinates a CGIAR Water, Land and Ecosystem project called Inclusive Water Accounting, and is the Dutch coordinator of an Open Research Area project, called Delta's dealings with uncertainties (DOUBT) (see http://aissr.uva.nl/research/externally-funded-projects/content4/recent/deltas-dealings-with-uncertainty-in-global-knowledge-travel.html or http://delta.hus.osaka-u.ac.jp/)
'Open Source Software and Open Data for Integrated Water Resources Management'
Date 20 September 2017
Geo-information is of essential importance for water management. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), Delta planning and asset management for water utilities need knowledge on GIS and management of spatial data. In the education at IHE Delft and in our capacity development and research projects open source software and open data are increasingly used.
This seminar presents different activities of IHE Delft related to open source software and open data. Important open data resources (remote sensing and GIS data) that exist for IWRM will be discussed. During the seminar it will be demonstrated how water sector organisations and knowledge institutes can share data using spatial data infrastructures (SDIs). Challenges and opportunities related to sharing of GIS data will be discussed.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Johannes van der Kwast is Senior Lecturer in Ecohydrological Modelling, Water Science and Engineering Department at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education.He finished a Master in Physical Geography at Utrecht University in the Netherlands in 2002 with a specialization in GIS and Remote Sensing. In 2002 he was appointed at the Faculty of Geosciences of Utrecht University as an junior lecturer in GIS, lecturing theory and concepts of GIS and Remote Sensing to MSc students. Furthermore, he developed and supervised computer-assisted courses on image processing and GIS. In 2009 he finished his PhD at Utrecht University on the integration of remote sensing in spatial dynamic modelling of soil moisture using data-assimilation techniques implemented in the PCRaster Python framework.
From 2007 to 2012 he worked at the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) where he was appointed as a researcher in spatial dynamical environmental modelling. He participated in projects related to water quality modelling, land-use change modelling and the use of remote sensing data for urban applications. Since April 2012 he is appointed as lecturer in ecohydrological modelling at IHE Delft. He teaches in Open Source GIS and modelling and is involved capacity development and research projects.
'Panama Canal Expansion: Building the future, honoring the past'
Date 23 May 2017
The expanded Panama Canal was opened to maritime traffic on 26 June 2016. There are many documentaries and presentations available featuring both the global impact on seaborne trade and the engineering challenges inherent to the construction of this brand new mega-structure.
Nevertheless, this presentation “Panama Canal Expansion: Building the future, honouring the past seeks to share knowledge and add value by showing also: the paramount importance of Chagres River basin development; the engineering solutions for the original Panama Canal; insights from the actual construction of the new set of locks and an illustrative, yet brief and concise comparison between the main technical features of both the original and the new Panama Canal.
About the Speaker
Mr. Oscar Soto Reyes is a civil engineer graduated from the Technological University of Panama who holds an MSc degree in Management of Logistics and Transportation from Chalmers University of Technology, in Gothenburg Sweden. Has very recently obtained his second MSc degree, in Coastal Engineering and Port Development, from UNESCO-IHE Delft, now IHE Delft. Oscar has 15 years of experience in both the governmental and private sectors, as well as in the fields of inspection, consultancy and management of construction contracts.Oscar has worked for the Panama Canal Authority since year 2009, firstly as Resident Civil Engineer, Quality Assurance Engineer and Site Coordinator for the construction of the 'Third Set of Locks of the Panama Canal' and later as Supervisor Civil Engineer for the construction of the 'Third Bridge over the Panama Canal', both projects on the Atlantic side of the Canal.
’Water Accounting+, democratizing data for better decision making´
Date 21 March 2017
Water Accounting + aims to provide water managers with accurate and timely data about water availability and accessibility. By democratizing the information, this approach institutes transparent and accountable decision making, and so further empowers all stakeholders.
Water connects people. According to the United Nations, there are 263 transboundary lake and river basins covering almost half of the earth's land surface, which amounts to 40% of its population. 145 countries have some territory within international basins. While most of these are shared between two countries, for many the number is much higher. Given the degree to which water sources are shared, it has acted as a catalyst for both cooperation and conflict, within and across borders.
Transboundary water challenges are ever-present. Perhaps the biggest flashpoint is water scarcity, where demand exceeds supply, often because of allocation decisions upstream. It can equally be due to political and institutional dynamics, such as poor governance. Increasingly, regions around the world are at risk from water security. On current population growth trends, the United Nations estimates that by 2025, around 1.8 billion people will live in countries or regions facing water scarcity. Additionally, climate change is also making its mark on the water cycle, with increased variability of flooding, rainfall and droughts. The social and economic consequences are profound. Livelihoods are affected when industries and agriculture which rely on water for production, are deprived access to a supply.
At times of water challenges, diagnosing the root cause of the problem, and so being able to implement an effective solution is problematic. Water Accounting was an approach developed more than 20 years ago, which set out to aid decision making by measuring how much water goes into and out of a basin, monitoring how the water is used during that journey. It sought to standardize terminology and introduce accurate data. As well as looking at the hydrological aspects of the water cycle, it also takes into account more broadly the resulting benefits and services. However, it has faced a number of hurdles.
Examples abound of Ministries of water and agriculture not collaborating; agencies maintaining their own databases fed by their own network of field sensors; and national governmental data not being shared with provincial entities responsible for operational water management such as irrigation districts, and vice versa. Across national borders this secrecy can be even more pronounced with data often jealously guarded, as water is viewed as a vulnerable asset. Two important consequences of this state of affairs for Water Accounting have been that data was often, by necessity, based on ‘best estimates’ and decisions about water allocation were often taken in isolation from stakeholders, behind closed doors.
Remote sensing technologies are offering powerful tools to address shortfalls in the WA methodology. Professor Wim Bastiaanssen will explain the advantages of Water Accounting + and how it provides a solid basis for unbiased information which does not require widespread collaboration across organizations, with agreed means of collection, and to known quality standards. The data is crucially also often already in the public domain through dedicated centres. You will have the opportunity of asking him questions by Twitter - read instructions below.
About the Speaker
Wim G.M. Bastiaanssen (Ph.D) is a senior remote sensing expert with a specialization in agricultural water management. He has a background in agro-hydrology from Wageningen University. Wim Bastiaanssen holds the UNESCO Chair for Global Water Accounting and is a Senior Fellow to the Robert Daugherty Water for Food Institute of the University of Nebraska (Lincoln). Wim Bastiaanssen is a Professor at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at the Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) in the topic Water Resources Management and Remote Sensing and is a professor of global water accounting at IHE Delft. With Ph.D. students, he conducts research on determining earth surface hydrological and water management processes from satellite measurements including rainfall, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, biomass production, crop water productivity, surface runoff, withdrawals for irrigation and wetlands and groundwater interactions. This forms the basis for regional scale water accounting studies. Wim Bastiaanssen is the lead developer of Water Accounting Plus (WA+). Through the repository www.wateraccounting.org, Wim produces open access water accounts for river basins, that can be used by all stakeholders involved in the strategic planning of scarce water resources.
'Sharing our Water: Water justice issues in the Anthropocene'
Date 26 November 2016
In the context of the Anthropocene, the newest geological era in the history of the Earth, there is limited water for human use and human use must stay within ecosystemic limits. Such water use needs to be equitably shared between uses and users.
However, past to present patterns of water ownership, water pricing and financialization, water pollution and the impacts of climate change are such that they exacerbate water related injustices at local through to global level. If these patterns continue into the future, water will have become completely privatized and/or securitized and water pricing will reach monopoly levels; while the impacts of water pollution and climate change will be externalized.
This presentation illustrates this story through examples of water conflicts from local through to global level (e.g. from transboundary water disputes on the Nile vs Mekong to the role of Coca Cola in India and Nestle in the US).
About the Speaker
Joyeeta Gupta is Professor of Environment and Development in the Global South at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research of the University of Amsterdam and Professor of Law and Policy in Water Resources and Environment at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft. She is also a member of the Amsterdam Global Change Institute.
She is editor-in-chief of International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics (IF 2.0) and is on the editorial board of journals like Carbon and Law Review, International Journal on Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Policy, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Catalan Environmental Law Journal, Review of European Community and International Environmental Law and the new International Journal of Water Governance.
She was, and continues to be, lead author in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which recently shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore and of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment which won the Zaved Second Prize. She has published extensively. She is on the scientific steering committees of many different international programmes including the Global Water Systems Project and Earth System Governance.
Please visit Joyeeta Gupta's profile pages on the websites of:
‘Water and the SDGs - A Vision on Water for Healthy People and a Healthy Environment’
Date 24 October 2016
In September last year, the United Nations adopted the new post-2015 development agenda “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. Agenda 2030, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, is a historic plan to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and move towards a sustainable development path over the next 15 years. SDG 6, which aims to ‘ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’, is central to the success of this transformative agenda. SDG 6 not only addresses the issues relating to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, but also the quality and sustainability of water resources worldwide. Water is also key in ensuring success for all other SDGs.
Many regions all over the world are facing tremendous challenges in managing water. With rapid urbanization, cities leave a considerable ‘footprint’ on their catchments, not only due to unbalanced water abstractions and wastewater discharges, but also due to disturbances in the local hydrological cycle. Many regions are therefore experiencing serious limitations related to water quality (water pollution, increased treatment costs) and quantity (droughts/floods, over-abstraction of ground and surface water), and are vulnerable to extreme weather events.
With rapidly growing water consumption and increasing frequency of extreme weather events, we need to change current ad-hoc water management practices (problem/incident driven) towards coherent, integrated and consolidated approaches (sustainability driven). To achieve that, transformational changes in water management and infrastructure approaches are needed. Besides, it requires revisiting current water use practices, in particular our food production systems, which account for about 70% of fresh water use globally.
This presentation will review the role of water in Agenda 2030, and focus in particular on the water-energy-food nexus. These three sectors are at the heart of sustainable development and present the key building blocks for sustainable cities and a green economy. The presentation therefore will argue that transformational shifts will be needed in these three sectors to be able to balance people and planet. The transformation towards ‘New Water’, ‘New Food’, and ‘New Energy’, will lead the way towards a sustainable future.
About the Speaker
Prof. Hubert Gijzen holds a PhD in Environmental Biotechnology, and has an established career of over 34 years in both academics and in international cooperation. He has worked in academic institutions and universities, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Institutes, and the United Nations. Throughout his career, he has lived and worked in various countries and regions in Africa, South America and Caribbean, South Asia, South-East Asia and Europe, in a range of senior functions as Full Professor and Chair in Universities, as a diplomat, Regional Representative, Team leader, and currently as UNESCO Regional Director and Representative. He has implemented short missions to over 100 countries, and has developed and managed large capacity building, research and cooperation programmes and projects, including the EU funded R&D project SWITCH on “Water in the City of the Future”, for which he served as Project Director, and which earned the IWA Sustainability Award.
Besides his current work as UNESCO Regional Director and Representative, he continues to hold positions as full Professor at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (since 1995) and at Wageningen University. Hubert has published over 400 articles and books, and presented numerous keynotes in the fields of water management, microbiology, environmental sciences, biotechnology, and sanitary and environmental engineering. He also covered topics on international cooperation, sustainable development, the MDGs, SDGs and climate change. He serves in various international advisory functions and on Boards of prestigious Institutes and programmes.
Hubert Gijzen joined UNESCO in 2006 as Director of the UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, based in Jakarta. In addition, he was the UNESCO Representative for Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Timor Leste. Since 1 January 2015, Hubert was appointed as the Regional Director of the newly established UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa in Harare and UNESCO Representative to Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and to SADC. He also serves on the UN Regional Directors team in Africa (UNDG-ESA).