IWRM Plan for Uttarakhand, India

Development of a Glacio-Hydrological Model and Integrated Water Resources Management Plan
for the Uttarakhand subbasin in India

Our new project on integrated water resources management addresses challenges linked to future climate change, increasing water demand linked to socio-economic development and water security in areas depending on mountain water. More precisely, the activities focus on the development and application of climate responsive models and approaches for integrated water resources management (IWRM) for a selected glacier-fed sub-basin system in Uttarakhand, India. The project is expected to improve integrated water resources management planning and to provide relevant inputs for policy frameworks, paving way for replication across the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) and other mountainous regions.

This new project has been funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s (SDCs) Global Programme Climate Change and Environment (GP CCE) India which is supporting the operationalization of climate change adaptation actions in the mountain states of Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh. Within this framework, SDC has granted a project to our group at the University of Geneva, together with FutureWater (coordinator), Utrecht University, The Energy and Resources Institute,  and some individual experts.

To fulfil the mandate outlined by SDC a framework is developed for IWRM and decision support systems (DSS) tailored to glacier- and snow-fed subbasins. The framework consists of three integrated platforms : (i) A modelling and decision support platform built around a multi-scale modelling framework for glacier and snow fed subbasins, based on state-of-the art and “easy to use” modelling technology; (ii) A stakeholder engagement platform to consult key stakeholders, identify key IWRM issues and co-design a new IWRM plan for Bhagirathi subbasin; (iii) A capacity building platform with on-site training and e-learning modules for the key project components: glacio-hydrological modelling, IWRM and DSS, to ensure the long term sustainability of the approach.

The three platforms align with the outcomes of the project, thus contributing to: develop and validate an integrated climate resilient water resource management approach; increase technical and institutional capacity in the fields of hydrological modelling, IWRM and DSS; and provide generic outputs and guidelines to support upscaling to other subbasins in the Indian Himalayan Region.