Aim and Objectives

The HighNoon approach and objectives
The principal aim of the project is to assess the impact of Himalayan glaciers retreat and possible changes of the Indian summer monsoon on the spatial and temporal distribution of water resources in Northern India and to provide recommendations for appropriate and efficient response strategies that strengthen the cause for adaptation to hydrological extreme events.

Objectives

  • To integrate available climate- and hydrological data, and state-of-the art regional models
  • To study the changes under various climate change scenarios and to analyse consequential impacts on water resources in particular on changes in snow and glacier melting and changed spatio-temporal monsoon patterns
  • To determine socioeconomic scenarios and reliable boundary conditions per physical or administrative unit for planning of adaptation measures
  • To understand the current coping strategies in place  covering both upstream, mid stream and downstream sites and investigate impacts on water quantity, water quality, socio economic aspects, and adaptive capacity
  • To develop a stakeholder driven applicable and cross-sectoral plan of action for adaptation measures in the field of water supply, agriculture, energy and health
  • To estimate the cost effectiveness of the various measures proposed
  • To understand the cross sector interaction of measures and their cross category impact on water quantity, water quality and socio economy, and adaptive capacity.

The project may focus on one of the large northern river basins, such as the Ganges. Within the basin, a set of case study regions are selected to reflect different hydro-geographical, morphological and socio-economical conditions, determining the adaptation potentials in the fields of water supply, hydropower, agriculture, health and ecosystem aspects.

As having the main focus on possible adaptation measures, the central component of the project is to provide the necessary methods and information for a truly stakeholder driven participative measure development. It is clearly understood by the project that adaptation can not be restricted to water quantity aspects alone. The impact of adaptation will be considered related to a multiparametric range of indicators, where the adaptive capacity plays a crucial role to compensate uncertainties.

Moreover the project adopts the understanding that under increased occurrence of droughts and floods, the concept of equity will be difficult to be achieved. Therefore the project will explore new scientific methods to justify the prioritization of measures, the revised allocation of land and water resources.

The proposed investigation of the impacts of various measures will also not be restricted on individual scales, but will spread across different scales. Measure will be related to necessary implementations and implications will be studied at the basin scale, sub-basin scale and field scale in a systematic way.

The proposed research project will build on large pre-existing EU projects such as Watch, ADAM, NeWater and AquaStress, components of bilateral cooperation programmes including the DEFRA Programme on Impacts and efforts towards development of National Communications Process, spcefic projects e.g. SAGARMATHA: Snow and Glacier Aspects of Water Resources Management in the Himalaya: Regional Hydrological Model, and on national research components in India, such as IPCC (chaired by Prof. Pachauri, TERI), Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources in India, IIT Delhi, Awareness generation workshop on Biological Diversity Act, 2002 for government officials of North Eastern states, TERI and the project Bio-diversity measurements using GIS and remote sensing techniques, IIT Kharagpur.

Meeting the objectives of "Environment (including Climate Change)"
The aim of the project HighNoon is the assessment of  the regional impact of climate change by using various climate change scenarios, integrating available climate- and hydrological data, and advanced regional models. The project focuses in particular on the impact of Himalayan glaciers retreat and the related consequences on snow and glacier melting run-off generation, on the possible changes of the Indian summer monsoon as well as on innovative approaches to account for related feedback mechanisms of glacier retreat and evaporation on the climate change dynamics.

Using information of likely changes in run-off generation processes, rainfall patterns and evaporation, the project will also make an effort to estimate future water consumption in order to estimate the net available water resources in the Ganga basin in Northern India at different time and spatial scales.

Adaptation measures will be investigated in depth for the sectors agriculture, water supply and hydropower under the specific consideration of future human health and ecosystem demands. The project will establish in case studies within the Ganga basin open Multi-Stakeholder-fora to consider also the interaction to other related sectors e.g. as transport or education.

The project will contribute in depth to the Specific International Co-operation Actions (SICA) between the EU and India, due to the intensive and balanced cooperation of the European Consortium Members from The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, and Japan, with the notable Indian partner institutes TERI, IIT Delhi and IIT Kharagpur. The project will be integrated to other related activities within the Integrated project Watch and Indian national research projects.