Coastal Vulnerability and Freshwater Security Funded Projects

July, 2013

The Belmont Forum announces funding decisions for recent calls on the themes of Coastal Vulnerability and Freshwater Security.

These awards provide support to transdisciplinary, multinational consortia to engage in global change research through an 11-country joint research initiative supported by the Belmont Forum and G8 Heads of Research Councils. Consortia are comprised of natural scientists, social scientists and end-users, policy makers, and associated stakeholders. The goal of these research programs is to accelerate delivery of knowledge needed for action to mitigate and adapt to detrimental environmental change and extreme hazardous events within the thematic areas of either Coastal Vulnerability or Freshwater Security.

This inaugural call of the International Opportunities Fund provides support for seven Coastal Vulnerability consortia and six Freshwater Security consortia, with an approximate total budget of €20 million. Below are links to pages that provide project summaries.

Coastal Vulnerability

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-018: Adaptation Research, a Trans-disciplinary transnational Community and policy Centred approach

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-037: Catalyzing action towards sustainability of deltaic systems with an integrated modelling framework for risk assessment

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-040: An Integrated Framework to Analyze Local Decision Making and Adaptive Capacity to Large-Scale Environmental Change: Community Case Studies in Brazil, UK and the US

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-075: Transformation and Resilience on Urban Coasts

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-081: Global learning for local solutions: Reducing vulnerability of marine-dependent coastal communities

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-126: Collaborative Research: Bangladesh Delta: Assessment of the Causes of Sea-level Rise Hazards and Integrated Development of Predictive Modeling Towards Mitigation and Adaptation

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-127: Multi-scale adaptations to global change and their impacts on vulnerability in coastal areas

Freshwater Security

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-024: Southern Africa‘s hydro-economy and water security

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-059: Maintaining productivity and incomes in the Tonle Sap fishery in the face of climate change

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-089: Integrated Analysis of Freshwater Resources Sustainability in Jordan

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-108: Drought Impacts: Vulnerability thresholds in monitoring and Early-warning Research

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-139: Enhancing Adaptation and Resilience to Drought in Dry Tropical Social-Ecological Systems: The Guanacaste, Costa Rica Example

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-156: Integrating land use planning and water governance in Amazonia: towards improved freshwater security in the agricultural frontier of Mato Grosso

Coastal Vulnerability Funded Proposals Summaries for on-line publication

* partners bringing their own funding/in-kind support


G8MUREFU3FP-2201-018.  Adaptation Research, a Trans-disciplinary transnational Community and policy Centred approach (ARTISTICC). Lead PI Jean-Paul Vanderlinden, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.  Partners: Kaleekal Thomas Thomson, Cochin University of Science and Technology; Omer Chouinard, Université de Moncton*; Inga Vladimirovna, North-Eastern Federal University; Matthew Berman, University of Alaska Anchorage; Olivier Raguenneau, Université de Bretagne Occidentale; Alioune Kane, Université Cheikh Anta Diop*.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: ANR, MoES, RFBR.  €1.462k.  36 months.
ARTISTICC’s goal is to apply innovative standardized transdisciplinary approaches to develop robust, socially, culturally and scientifically, community centred adaptation strategies as well as a series of associated policy briefs. The approach used in the project is based on the strong understanding that adaptation is:
(a) still "a concept of uncertain form”;
(b) a concept dealing with uncertainty;
(c) a concept that calls for an analysis that goes beyond the traditional disciplinary organization of science, and;
(d) an unconventional process in the realm of science and policy integration.

The project is centered on case studies in France, Greenland, Russia, India, Canada, Alaska, and Senegal. In every site we analyze how natural science can be used in order to better adapt in the future, how society adapt to current changes and how memories of past adaptations frames current and future processes. ARTISTICC is thus a project fundamentally centered on coastal communities.  These analyses allow for a better understanding of adaptation as a scientific, social, economic and cultural practice in coastal settings. In order to share these results with local communities and policy makers, this in a way that respects cultural specificities while empowering stakeholders, ARTISTICC translates these “real life experiments” into stories and artwork that are meaningful to those affected by climate change. ARTISTICC is thus a research project that is profoundly culturally mediated.

The scientific results and the culturally mediated productions will thereafter be used in order to co-construct, with NGOs and policy makers, policy briefs, i.e. robust and scientifically legitimate policy recommendations regarding coastal adaptation. This co-construction process will be in itself analysed with the goal of increasing science’s performative functions in the universe of evidence-based policy making.
The project involves scientists from natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities, working in France, Senegal, India, Russia, Greenland, Alaska, and Canada.

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-037.  Catalyzing action towards sustainability of deltaic systems with an integrated modelling framework for risk assessment (DELTAS). Lead PI Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Regents of the University of Minnesota.  Partners: Kazi Matin Ahmed, University of Dhaka*; Edward Anthony, Aix-Marseille University; Eduardo Brondizio, Indiana University; Marcel Marchand, Deltares*; Marc Goichot, World Wide Fund for Nature*; Steven Goodbred, Vanderbilt University; Ian James Harrison, International Union for the Conservation of Nature; Jonathan Michael Hutton, United Nations Environment Programme; Zoe Matthews, University of Southampton; Van Lap Nguyen, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology*; Irina Overeem, University of Colorado; Ramesh Ramachandran, Anna University; Fabrice Renaud, United  Nations University; Yoshiki Saito, Geological Survey of Japan, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology; Md. Munsur Rahman, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology*; Alice Newton, Norwegian Institute for Air Research*; Gwyn Lintern, Natural Resources Canada*; Philippe Van Cappellen, University of Waterloo*; Shu Gao, Nanjing University*; Stefan Dech, University of Wuerzburg; Charles Vorosmarty, City College of New York; Sandra Costa, University of Vale do Paraíba; Rob Nicholls, Angela Baschieri and John Dearing, University of Southampton.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: FAPESP, ANR, DFG, MoES, JSPS, NERC & ESRC, NSF.  €2.065K. 36 months.
Deltas are economic and environmental hotspots, food baskets for many nations, and home to a large portion of the world population. They sustain rich, biodiverse ecosystems and related services. Most deltas are also international and regional transportation hubs that support intense economic activity. Yet, deltas are deteriorating at an alarming rate due to climate impacts (e.g., sea level rise and flooding), human-induced catchment changes (e.g., water and sediment flow reduction), and local exploitation (e.g., sand, groundwater, and hydrocarbon extraction). The international science community recognizes the need to develop a solid knowledge base for protecting these vulnerable coastal systems, and this BF initiative leads the way by coordinating and enhancing innovative international work towards the development of a science-based framework for delta sustainability.
The project will develop a versatile modeling framework that may be applied from local to national levels to evaluate the unique functioning, critical stressors, and vulnerability of the world’s deltas. The framework will ingest social, economic, physical and ecosystem data into an open-access repository and will allow planners to model and deliver optimized, viable solutions for their region. In areas for which detailed data are sparse, an infrastructure for critical data gathering will be developed and modeling and prediction tools will be customized. The framework will initially be applied to three case-studies for which local and regional partnerships are already in place, including the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM), Mekong, and Amazon deltas.

The team represents the BF-G8 countries: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Norway, India,
Japan, UK, and USA, and includes partners in the Netherlands, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. It is composed of government and university researchers, and NGO’s, working closely with policymakers.
The training of graduate students and post-docs able to work across disciplinary boundaries and
countries will also be a unique legacy of the project.

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-040.  An Integrated Framework to Analyze Local Decision Making and Adaptive Capacity to Large-Scale Environmental Change: Community Case Studies in Brazil, UK and the US (METROPOLE).Lead PI Frank Muller Karger, University of South Florida.  Partners: Jose Marengo Orsini, Sin Chin and Luiz Aragao, INPE - National Institute for Space Research; Mark Pelling and Sue Grimmond, King's College London; Sam Merrill, University of Southern Maine Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service; Luci Hidalgo Nunes, Institute of Geosciences – State University of Campinas; Catherine Reynolds and Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, University of South Florida; Jack Kartez and Jonathan Lockman, Catalysis Adaptation Partners.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: FAPESP, NERC & ESRC, NSF.  €0.97K.  36 months.
While researchers have studied the role of visualization tools in decision making, new research is needed to understand how the social, cultural and political context impacts how decision makers and the public perceive and respond to potential local environmental, economic and health risks due to large-scale change. The hypothesis is that risk knowledge is best understood as being co-produced by science and by the social, political and cultural context. The research team will develop downscaled climate models for communities in Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States and engage stakeholders and policymakers in participatory planning meetings to analyze the social and cultural factors that impact decision making and regional adaptive capacity. For each site, we will co-produce scenarios using state-of-the-art visualization tools developed in Brazil and the US. Data include changes in sea level, temperature, storm frequency, precipitation and other variables in the past 100 years and high resolution (10km) projections in 5-10 year increments to 2070 under the IPCC’s 5th AR scenarios.
The tools integrate scientific and economic data for the smallest local area, and illustrate potentialimpacts on infrastructure, health, economic risk, adaptation options, and cost-benefit analyses over time.

The social research will use: 1) surveys to analyze values and beliefs prior to and after meetings, 2)
choice evaluation models to study risk/cost trade-offs, and 3) interviews after the meeting to assess the Adaptive Capacity Index (developed in the UK). Expected results include: a new framework to integrate scientific, economic and cultural factors into adaptation planning; insights on the role of values and beliefs in adaptation decision making; and resources to improve public engagement strategies in any coastal community, including publications.

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-075.  Transformation and Resilience on Urban Coasts (TRUC). Lead PI Mark Pelling, King’s College, London.  Partners: Joern Birkmann, United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security; William Solecki, CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities; Ramesh Ramachandran, Anna University; Masumi Yamamuro, The University of Tokyo; Alice Newton, Norsk institutt for luftforskning*; Sue Grimmond, King’s College London; Julius Agboola, Lagos State University*; Zhongyuan Chen, State Key laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Institute*.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: DFG, MoES, JSPS, NERC & ESRC, NSF.  €1.126K.  33 months.
Transformation opens new opportunities for living with risk where existing systems are generative of
vulnerability and hazard or where preventing systems failure is impossible, it also recognises the cultural specificity of resilience and transformation where change or stability may benefit some actors more than others, now and in the future. The relationship between resilience and transformation is arguably most acute on highly urbanized coasts where interactions between concentrated human activity and environmental dynamics are at their most intensive and transformations can be observed. TRUC is focussed on this relationship in five coastal megacities: Kolkata, Lagos, London, New York and Tokyo (with Shanghai also being studied in a funded sister project).

TRUC will build an original integrated, participatory framework in collaboration with stakeholders to first characterise and then identify interactions between bio-physical, land-use and decision-making processes. The aim is to reveal the pathways and trade-offs through which systems interactions constrain or open opportunities for resilience or transformation how these outcomes themselves interact and influence sustainable development; offering scope for considerable theoretical, methodological and practical advancement.

TRUC combines models developed by consortium members: an integrated urban energy and water
balance model (SUEWS), a global anthropogenic heat flux model (LUCY) and a scenario modelling methodology developed by UNU. Work will be at the city level and drill down to the city region/community level. Flexibility is built into the modelling and analysis process to accommodate divergent data and stakeholder availability. Local teams will head-up data acquisition and liaise with stakeholders to help frame local questions and ensure effective dissemination.

The consortium includes natural and social scientists and each partner will be involved in conceptual or methodological work as well as case study research. Research will feed into international scientific discussion on socio-economic development pathways and scenarios within the IPCC, AR5 (three consortium members are authors in AR5). In addition the project will be a flagship research for the IGBP-IHDP project Land Ocean Interaction on the Coastal Zone with three scientific steering committee members included.

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-081.  Global learning for local solutions: Reducing vulnerability of marine-dependent coastal communities (GULLS). Lead PI Kevern Laurence Cochrane, Rhodes University.  Partners: Alistair Hobday, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research; Gonuguntla Syda Rao, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute; Maria Gasalla, University of São Paulo; Ekaterina Popova, National Oceanography Centre; Adina Paytan, University of California Santa Cruz; Hajanirina Razafindrainibe, Service  D’Appui La Gestion De L’Environnement*; Candida Savage, University of Otago*; Grant Murray, University of Victoria*; Almeida Tomas Guissamulo, Eduardo Mondlane University*; Paul Shaw, Aberystwyth University*; Chris Hill and Craig Hutton, University of Southampton.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: CSIRO, FAPESP, MoES, NRF, NERC & ESRC, NSF.  €1.378K.  36 months.
Many coastal communities rely on marine resources for livelihoods and food security. As populations
increase, so does pressure on coastal resources already under stress from pollution, coastal development, and habitat degradation. Climate change and variability (including extreme events) will also impact coastal systems and the vulnerability of dependent communities, but may also bring
opportunities. This project will contribute to improving community adaptation efforts by characterizing, assessing and predicting the future of coastal-marine food resources through the provision and sharing of knowledge across regional "hotspots", defined here as fast-warming marine areas and areas experiencing social tensions as a result of change. Hotspots are likely to include the priority areas for adaptation and also represent laboratories for observing change and developing adaptation options and management strategies. Comparing hotspot regions will extend existing collaborations and connect local adaptation research and outcomes to improve global learning. Focusing on adaptation options and strategies for enhancing coastal resilience at the local level will contribute to capacity building and local empowerment.

Current weaknesses in marine coastal management include limited integration of natural and social
studies, poor translation of scientific understanding into adaptive management mechanisms, and few guidelines for policy development. A holistic system approach will be piloted within one hotspot region (western Indian Ocean) through an existing Alliance of experts and researchers, prior to application in other hotspot regions (India, Brazil, South Africa, Australia). Integration of natural, social and economic studies will identify a range of options for management and policy reform.

These alternatives will be delivered as briefing materials to managers and decision-makers in coastal communities and society at large. There are existing strong partnerships within and between the focal regions in this project, and strong scientific and political support for the development of effective science-based governance approaches. This project will deliver a comprehensive set of options to reduce coastal vulnerability and position vulnerable coastal communities for an improved future.

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-126.  Collaborative Research: Bangladesh Delta: Assessment of the Causes of Sea-level Rise Hazards and Integrated Development of Predictive Modeling Towards Mitigation and Adaptation (BanD-AID). Lead PI C. K. Shum, The Ohio State University.  Partners: Jurgen Kusche, University of Bonn; Boris Braun, University of Cologne; Fabrice Papa and Stephane Calmant, Observatoire Midi-Pyrenees; J. Craig Jenkins, The Ohio State University; Faisal Hossain, Tennessee Technological University; Zahirul Khan, Institute of  Water Modelling*; Michael Kuhn, Curtin University*; Raquib Ahmed, University of Rajshahi*.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: ANR, DFG, NSF.  €1.620K.  36 months.
Bangladesh, a low-lying, one of the most densely populated countries in the world located at the Bay of Bengal, is prone to transboundary monsoonal flooding, potentially aggravated by more frequent and intensified cyclones resulting from anthropogenic climate change.
Sea-level rise, along with tectonic, sediment load and groundwater extraction induced land uplift/subsidence, have significantly exacerbate these risks and Bangladesh’s coastal vulnerability. We propose to build a robust Belmont Challenge identified Earth System Analysis & Prediction System (ESAPS) for Bangladesh, to adapt/mitigate the detrimental hazards including sea-level rise.

We will establish an advanced observation system based on contemporary space geodetic sensors to quantify (1) causes of sea-level rise and land motion and their robust vertical datum link, and (2) human interactions that governs coastal vulnerability in Bangladesh. This knowledge will be used for the integrated development of a natural and social science framework employing robust predictive modelling towards the adaption of sea-level rise and other hazards in coastal Bangladesh. Our international, cross-disciplinary science team, consists of natural and social scientists including local stakeholders, will leverage upon ongoing environmental and social projects in the region. Our approach includes observation/fieldwork based syntheses to discern sea-level rise and land motion and their projections at century timescales, socioeconomic analyses including vulnerable population projection, micro adaptation, land use change, and community adaptive capacity, and integrated assessment including scenario analysis, dissemination, and decision-support service in coastal Bangladesh.

The developed BanD-AID ESAPS prototype system is transportable to other regions of the world. Our work will both leverage and benefit other existing projects (e.g., Fulbright, NASA, NSF, ONR, USAID). The project will train students, technicians and social workers who will be the next-generation local stakeholders.

G8MUREFU3FP-2201-127.  Multi-scale adaptations to global change and their impacts on vulnerability in coastal areas (MAGIC). Lead PI Christo Fabricius, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.  Partners: Olivier Barreteau, IRSTEA; Katrina Brown, University of Exeter; John M. Anderies, Arizona State University; Francois Bousquet, CIRAD; Raphael Mathevet, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: ANR, NRF, NERC & ESRC, NSF.  €0.894K.  36 months.
Adaptation plans have become increasingly popular across the globe. While some adaptations have
beneficial outcomes, many have unintended consequences for vulnerability. This is particularly relevant in coastal zones where both marine and land-based adaptations have an impact and human pressures are greatest.

We believe a better understanding of the underlying social-ecological processes driving adaptation in coastal areas, particularly the feedbacks between risk from biophysical change, cognitive processes, and adaptation, will reduce the incidence of maladaptations while increasing the frequency of win-win adaptations. Findings will directly inform and support adaptation decision making in coastal areas, add to current knowledge on vulnerability and adaptation, and facilitate learning and appreciation of feedbacks in adaptation responses.

We use a model of “private proactive adaptation to climate change” to assess the interactions between:
a) the actual risk posed by climate change
b) cognitive factors such as perceived risk and perceived adaptive capacity
c) adaptations and
d) situated learning when decisions makers participate in modelling processes.

We assess the relationship between these drivers and adaptation plans in coastal areas at three scales: individual decision makers; local communities of practice; and regional planning authorities. Participatory modelling with decision makers will result in lasting impacts for enhanced coastal resilience.

In each of three coastal regions: the Languedoc-Rousillon in France; Cornwall in the UK; and the
Garden Route coast in South Africa, we will identify two to three examples where users, communities of practice, and regional authorities have developed adaptation plans and strategies resulting in the unintended transfer of vulnerability from one sector, scale or place to another. We will use available empirical data and models, participatory agent-based modeling, interpretative methods; and reflexive learning to catalyze and assess changes in the cognitive perceptions of decision makers who design adaptation plans.


Freshwater Security funded proposal summaries

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-024. Southern Africa‘s hydro-economy and water security (SAHEWS). Lead PI: Declan Conway, Water Security Research Centre, United Kingdon. Partners: Tim Osborn, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom; Claudia Ringler, International Food Policy Research Institute, USA; Willem Landman, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa.
BF/G8HORC sponsors:  NRF, NERC & ESRC, NSF. €679. 24 months.
Water security in southern Africa encapsulates global pressures on water: rapid population growth, chronic and drought-induced episodic food shortage, growing water scarcity and energy security problems coincident with rising demand, trans-boundary and regional allocation issues, and a strongly variable climate that will likely become drier and more variable in the future. These challenges are exacerbated by political, institutional and economic factors, including limited management and regulatory capacity, and highly inequitable access to reliable potable water. This research seeks to improve understanding of the drivers of short to medium term hydro-meteorological variability, its socioeconomic consequences and develop approaches for improved water resources management in the region under uncertainty.
The proposed collaboration addresses important knowledge gaps in water supply, demand and sharing, and in the application of research to the effective management of water security. Hydro-meteorological variability is large and spatially extensive such that prolonged floods and droughts cause macro-scale socioeconomic impacts yet these are poorly understood. Seasonal forecasts show greater skill for southern Africa relative to many other regions but reliability and skill remain important constraints as do scale, legitimacy, cognitive capacity, procedural and institutional barriers and available choices.
This project will assess and refine seasonal forecasts for water supply and demand, model the socioeconomic consequences of hydro-meteorological variability and develop knowledge transfer techniques, such as Info-Gap Decision Theory for supporting water management. Management case studies will apply these techniques and exchange experiences in water allocation with a drought-prone region in the UK (East Anglia). The case studies will focus on the water-energy nexus and catchment and trans-boundary water allocation taking into consideration the application of forecast knowledge at different spatial scales.

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-059. Maintaining productivity and incomes in the Tonle Sap fishery in the face of climate change (TLSCC). Lead PI: Lee Hannah, Conservation International and University of California, Santa Barbara, USA. Partners: Kevin McCann, University of Guelph, Canada; Sovan Lek, Université Paul Sabatier, France; Evan Fraser, University of Guelph, Canada; Robert Pomeroy, University of Connecticut, USA; U. Rashid Sumalia, University of British Columbia, Canada; Christopher Costello, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA; Les Kaufman, Boston University, USA; Kirk Winemiller, Texas A&M University, USA; So Nam, Mekong River Commission, Cambodia; Chhoeuth Khunleap, University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: NSERC, ANR, NSF. €1,543k. 36 months.
Tropical freshwater systems support fisheries that provide food security and incomes for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. These fisheries are more likely to be heavily exploited across all species, size classes and trophic levels, in contrast to temperate target fisheries where capital cost, barriers to entry, and travel distance focus exploitation on high value species. Almost nothing is known about how tropical indiscriminate fisheries respond to change. They may be fragile due to chaotic interactions between complex biology and complex human use, or their foodwebs may be simplified by heavy exploitation in ways that make them robust and resilient in the face of change. Climate change therefore puts these systems at risk in ways that have huge repercussions for poverty alleviation but are very poorly understood.
Here, we propose to (i) construct a general theory for understanding the social and ecological implications of truly indiscriminate fisheries under climate change, and; (ii) develop and test a specific application of this theory for the important case of the Tonle Sap fishery, Cambodia. Our focus on the Tonle Sap—perhaps the largest indiscriminate tropical freshwater fishery—allows us to inform responses to climate change in a fishery of major importance and one in which climate change interacts with other flow modifications (such as upstream development). We bring social science, fisheries, economics and management expertise to bear on this problem from research labs in eight universities and NGOs across three continents. The results of the research will be integrated into management through partners in three ministries, multiple communities and NGOs. Social impact in Cambodia will result by informing implementation of recent major management changes that have converted privately held fishing lots into community fisheries. Our team includes NGOs, local universities and early-career researchers to help effect this change. Internationally, our results will inform similar systems that feed and provide income for millions of people by revealing management tools effective in heavily exploited, dynamic freshwater fisheries as climate changes.

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-089. Integrated Analysis of Freshwater Resources Sustainability in Jordan (JWP). Lead PI: Steven Gorelick, Stanford University, USA. Partners: Erik Gawel, Leipzip University, Germany; Bernd Klauer, Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Germany; Julien Harou, University College London, United Kingdom; Amaury Tilmant, Université Laval, Canada; Daanish Mustafa, King’s College, London, United Kingdom; Amer Salman, University of Jordan, Jordan; Emad Al-Karablieh, University of Jordan, Jordan.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: NSERC, DFG, NERC & ESRC, NSF. €1,262k. 36 months.
This proposed effort will focus on development of an integrated framework to evaluate water policy interventions in water-stressed countries using Jordan as a model system. Jordan is representative of many arid regions where future natural and social changes set the stage for nationwide water supply failures. Existing water resources models ignore critical interactions between hydrologic and socioeconomic components, resulting in a lack of holistic analysis needed to make long-term policy decisions. Our interdisciplinary team will develop a quantitative policy-evaluation tool to explore ways to enhance the sustainability of freshwater systems through such innovations as optimized allocation procedures, institutional re-structuring, subsidies/tariffs, water-lease markets, and trans-boundary institutions. We will construct a modular, agent-based hydro-economic model in which each module captures scientific and local knowledge from a unique discipline synthesizing hydrologic, agronomic, and socioeconomic analysis into a coherent analytical framework. The modules will be linked through feedbacks among system components. The policy-evaluation model will combine simulation of natural phenomena (groundwater-surface water flow, crop yield, and soil / water salinity) with human decision-making at the institutional and user levels (water usage, regulation, allocation, trans-boundary water, and trade). We will evaluate a wide range of policy interventions based on a set of quantitative economic and environmental metrics. In addition to developing a new tool for water policy analysis, the project aims to identify innovative policy solutions for a water system that has exhausted traditional supply sources and is operating at the vulnerable edge. Our analysis of risks and benefits associated with policy solutions will be assessed, and management options communicated to stakeholders who will be actively solicited for input. The project will further set the groundwork for deploying the integrated framework to other water-stressed regions throughout the globe.

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-108. Drought Impacts: Vulnerability thresholds in monitoring and Early-warning Research (DrIVER). Lead PI: Kerstin Stahl, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany. Partners: Cody Knutson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA; Mark Svoboda, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA; Jamie Hannaford, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, United Kingdom; Kevin Collins, The Open University, United Kingdom; Ian Clifford Overton, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia; Neville David Crossman, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia; Matthew John Colloff, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: CSIRO, DFG, NERC & ESRC, NSF.  €1,629k. 36 months.
Drought events pose a threat to water security in virtually every climate zone and to every water use sector. Although little can be done in the short term to prevent a drought, actions can be taken to reduce the vulnerability of society to the event, including the development of drought monitoring and early warning (M&EW) systems. There have been few attempts to assess how relevant widely-used physical indicators are for capturing drought severity in a way that reflects the complexity of inter-related human and environmental causes, effects and impacts, and such impacts have not been adequately incorporated into existing drought M&EW systems. This project seeks to fill this gap by improving the conceptual and methodological link between natural (hydrometeorological) drought characterisation and environmental and socio-economic impacts, in order to inform the development of enhanced drought M&EW systems and other risk management strategies.
An innovative methodological approach will combine the use of hydro-meteorological and socio-economic data, including impact reports, alongside social learning approaches designed to incorporate stakeholders’ views and experiences of drought. The team will use existing datasets of drought indices typically incorporated in monitoring systems, but also extensive, yet under-utilized, databases on drought impacts (US Drought Reporter, EU project DROUGHT R&SPI database). In a series of workshops with water suppliers and other stakeholders, the applicability of M&EW systems will be explored in strategy games and the results will feed back into analysis and design. This approach will support the iterative development of novel approaches for targeted M&EW for the case study sector of public water supply. The direct involvement of some partners in operational drought monitoring and robust assessment of the potentials and opportunities under different prerequisites will guarantee the project’s impact and thus help move towards the goal of developing new practices enabling communities to build capacity for resilience to drought.

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-139. Enhancing Adaptation and Resilience to Drought in Dry Tropical Social-Ecological Systems: The Guanacaste, Costa Rica Example (FuturAgua). Lead PI: Tim McDaniels, University of British Columbia, Canada. Partners: Faffaele Vignola, Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), Costa Rica; Grégoire Leclerc, Agriculture Research and Development (CIRAD), France; Douw Gerbrand Steyn, University of British Columbia, Canada; Mitchell Small, Carnegie Mellon University, USA; Mark Johnson, University of British Columbia, Canada; Kai Chan, University of British Columbia, Canada; Hadi Dowlatabadi, University of British Columbia, Canada; Iris Grossman, Carnegie Mellon University, USA; Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, Carnegie Mellon University, USA.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: NSERC, ANR, NSF. €1,389k. 36 months.
Three teams of diverse natural and social scientist will engage in a collaborative regional case study set in the arid region of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The partners will work closely with the civil society organizations in the region as well as the entities that manage water, giving particular focus to the community values and economic circumstance that influence water related decisions. Interviews with the leaders and managers of these entities will assist the partners in translating mental models to graphically portray the impacts of drought on social-economical systems. The partners will characterize the water balances, flows, and allocation in key sub-watersheds of the region by identifying current and historical influences on the system’s network. This research will be coupled with GCM based rainfall pattern research to develop new analytical perspectives that ascribe additional value to forecasts that build system intelligence. The partners, in collaboration with local leaders and managers, will ultimately create sets of alternative actions that could build specific kinds of resilience in water-oriented SES.
The proposed project would provide a fuller characterization of relevant SES dynamics, including effects of external drivers and multiple scales of governance. It would create a deeper understanding of the biophysical and social processes affecting these systems, of the benefits affected by these processes, and how these processes are addressed in regulatory and water allocation. It would produce a more appropriate representation of the complexity and uncertainty within SES in conceptual and methodological terms, which will contribute to improved decision processes that generate better alternatives and greater insight for decision-making at multiple scales.
Civil society organizations will play an important role in project design. The research teams will be managed by the leading PI and will meet regularly to discuss progress, and will have close contact with civil society organizations throughout the project.

G8MUREFU3FP-2200-156. Integrating land use planning and water governance in Amazonia: towards improved freshwater security in the agricultural frontier of Mato Grosso (XINGU). Lead PI: Alex Krusche, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Partners: Christopher Neill, Marine Biological Laboratory, USA; Michael Coe, Woods Hole Research Center, USA; Maria Victoria Ballester, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Silvia Guerra Molina, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Antônio Ribeiro Almeida Júnior, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Vanessa Empinotti, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Mark Stephen Johnson, University of British Columbia, Canada; Leila Harris, University of British Columbia, Canada; Helmut Elsenbeer, University of Potsdam, Germany; Fernanda Reichardt, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Maria Elisa de Paula Eduardo Garavello, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
BF/G8HORC sponsors: FAPESP, NSERC, DFG, NSF. €1,909k. 36 months.
The expansion of intensive crop agriculture in tropical forests is a global phenomenon driven by land availability, shifts in diet to more meat consumption and growth of human populations and incomes. These land-use changes have not been accompanied by significant improvements in water governance. This will become increasingly important as changes to climate impact the amount, timing and variability of precipitation upon which this agricultural system depends. Moreover, we will examine the critical issue of Freshwater Security associated with expanding soybean agriculture in the agricultural frontier of Amazonia (upper Xingu River Basin, Brazil). We will identify: 1) how impacts from land conversion, cropland expansion and agricultural intensification interact to affect regional evapotranspiration, rainfall generation, river flooding, water quality and stream habitats and the thresholds of change that will endanger agricultural production, traditional regional livelihoods and downstream water-related infrastructure, and 2) what mechanisms of water governance and distribution of environmental information services are best suited to facilitate integrated water management by decision makers, resource uses and other stakeholders. We will engage soybean farmers and cattle ranchers through existing collaborations. We will also involve municipal officials, small producers, fishers and river-based businesses to determine to what extent virtual water and hydrological modeling tools can influence stakeholder understanding of water security and will seek to identify potential institutional mechanisms to manage inevitable water management tradeoffs. To provide support for an informed decision making process, we will analyze regional population movements, social and cultural integration of migrants, relations between indigenous and non-indigenous local population regarding livelihood, water resources and the role of media in relation to environmental policy and decision making regarding freshwater security.