• Towards Operational Water Resources Management in South Asia Exploiting Satellite Geodetic and Remote Sensing Technologies
Program Water Resources Program
PI / Institution Faisal Hossain / University of Washington
Start Date January 1, 2015
End Date December 31, 2018
  • Summary

    Objectives of this project are to achieve operational sustainability (> Application Readiness Level 7) for government water management agencies in South Asia (Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh) for the following:

    1) Satellite (GPM/TRMM) Precipitation and Model-based seasonal forecasting of water availability (for all nations of South Asia).
    2) Satellite-based Mountain glacier and snow pack monitoring (Nepal and Bhutan).
    3) Multi-Satellite Altimetry based monthly-to-three-monthly monitoring and projection of reservoir storage changes and outflow (Pakistan and Bangladesh).
    4) Monthly-to-seasonal GRACE-based monitoring and projection of ground water storage anomalies (Pakistan and Nepal).

    Broader Impacts of the project are:

    A) To empower 8 (Govt.) water management agencies of South Asia to improve and independently manage water resources for decision making at 30-180 day timescales using the vantage of space, NASA data and models.

    B) Improve access to information on water fluxes (hindcast, nowcast and forecast) for inhabitants of Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins in a manner that improves current decision making.

    C) Provide synergy to other NASA AS programs (SERVIR) in the region and scale up beneficial impact of NASA data and models for water management to Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar)

    Geographic Focus

    South Asia

    Principal Investigator

    Faisal Hossain, University of Washington

    Project Team

    Hyongki Lee, University of Houston

    C K Shum, Ohio State University

    Jason Roberts, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL

    Collaborators & Stakeholders

    Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources, Bhutan Department of Hydromet Services, Nepal Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Bangladesh Water Development Board, Flood Forecasting and Warning Center; Several Southeast Asian agencies (as part of scaling up plans during post-project years)

    Technical Summary and Current Progress

    All countries as stated in the project deliverable, with the exception of Bhutan, have been positively impacted by this project.

    Pakistan Government water agency is now able to independently process GRACE data to make seasonal projections (at 30-180 days) of groundwater storage change in Upper Indus plain for inter-annual management decisions. The first projection is expected based on GRACE June 2016 data. Pakistan agency, as part of voluntary work from the PI, is also able to provide services to 700 farmers on irrigation advisory via cellphone SMS messaging that will be expanded to 14,000 farmers in 2017. Note that this is a non-NASA supported project where the PI provided service gratis using NASA data (GPM) and models (GFS) and rendered the decision support tool at http://depts.washington.edu/saswe. This DSS will soon be independently replicated and housed in Pakistan after PI provides training gratis to the agency on ways to build and maintain web portals using non-proprietory software. See http://www.pcrwr.gov.pk and project highlights for more details.

    To achieve the current state of ARL, the PI engaged in backward-forward staff training (developed at UW) for 4 Pakistan government staff agencies in 2015.

    Nepal Government Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) is now able to independently process GRACE and MODIS snow covered data to make projections on water availability downstream of 3 critical river basins (western, middle and eastern Nepal). The DSS is being rendered on DHM website (see http://www.dhm.gov.np/snow.php). The current challenges on maintaining the IT system is being addressed by the PI (gratis) by training DHM IT system administrator on web portal building (see algorithm and 'Build it yourself' web portal)

    Bangladesh Water Development Board and Flood forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC) are already active users of South Asian Water Availability portal at http://depts.washington.edu/saswe FFWC has used it extensively during 2016 Monsoon to double check and do ensemble based decision making for flood water recession projection. For seasonal projection of water availability (also to be used by all other South Asian nations), the skill o GCMs based on North American Multi-Model Ensemble was found inadequate. Currently, in order to improve the skill, a non-downscaled monthly scale forecasting system for river flows is being explored using the SWAT model for South Asia. It is expected that a forecast functionality with adequate skill can soon be added to http://depts.washington.edu/saswe based on NMME seasonal precipitation forecast (not downscaled) and converted to flow via SWAT model.

    For Bhutan, the PI has engaged the Department of Hydromet Services (DHMS) staff to receive training at UW from April 1- April 30, 2017. During this training, DHMS will learn the processing of GRACE and MODIS snow covered data as well as VIC hydrologic modeling in Bhutan basins for reaching ARL 7 in their agency environment.

    Additional Information

    For more information please refer to PI's Research Group website called Sustainability, Satellites, Water and Environment (SASWE) at http://www.saswe.net 

    Related Research Areas                                           

    Climate impacts on water resources, Evapotranspiration and irrigation, Streamflow and flood forecasting