Assessing Climate Impacts on the Quantity and quality of Water (ACQWA)

Assessing Climate Impacts on the Quantity and quality of Water (ACQWA)ACQWA is a large scale interdisciplinary project funded under the EU seventh Framework Programme, and led by Prof. Martin Beniston of the University of Geneva. Andrew Allan is the lead researcher from the IHP-HELP Centre.

The project is primarily focused on the upper Rhone (France) and Po (Italy) catchments, with additional research being conducted on the Aconcagua (Chile), and Syr Darya (Kyrgyzstan) rivers, and in Argentina and the Pyrenees.

The goal of the ACQWA project is to use advanced modelling techniques to quantify the influence of climate change on the major determinants of river discharge at various time and spatial scales, and to analyse the resulting societal and economic consequences, taking account of feedback mechanisms.

The project will downscale global and regional climate models to the principal case study areas, and create a nested hydrological model that takes inputs from glacial melting (including new research on the modelling of debris-covered glaciers by Dr. Ben Brock and Dr. Tim Reid of the Department of Geography at the University of Dundee), snow melt modelling, soil moisture and vegetation cover, among others.

Impacts on key water use sectors will be analysed in addition (e.g. freshwater ecology, hydropower, agriculture and tourism), with scientific findings being translated by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies into governance and policy recommendations that will be more broadly applicable to upper glacial catchments.

The IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science is contributing governance assessments of the catchment States, and Andrew Allan is both joint coordinator of Work Package 4 (with Nacho Lopez Moreno of the Spanish National Research Council) and a member of the project Management Board. The project began in 2008 and is due to finish in 2013.