German Research Foundation (DFG)
September 2016 - August 2021
Water resources play a vital role for societies and ecosystems. High mountain regions with glaciers, snow, permafrost and lakes are particularly sensitive to climatic changes, which can have a major impact on water drainage and circulation. A large number of studies has already assessed the impact of climate change on glaciers, snow and run-off. In parallel, adaptation strategies to deal with changing and decreasing water resources have been developed. Nevertheless, the systematic analysis of risks associated with various influences on water supply and demand is complex and has received little attention. One particular challenge is presented by heavily affected mountain regions, for which data is scarce.
This research project addresses this challenge by collaborating with various interdisciplinary research groups in Switzerland, Germany and Peru to combine data on water supply and demand in an integrated water balance model. The work focuses on various glaciated catchment areas in the Peruvian Andes. The project will develop methods for spatial and temporal interpolation and scaling of hydro-climatic data from a range of ground- and satellite-based sources. At the same time, Cross-Impact Balance analysis (CIB) will be used to create scenarios with local stakeholders. Risks for various economic sectors and social groups will be explicitly analysed, taking into account limits to the adaptability of natural and human systems. Risk evaluation and development and the evaluation of adaptation strategies will be undertaken using a participatory approach involving local stakeholders.
The research project addresses several key scientific gaps in the analysis of current and future water risks in remote mountain regions with limited data. Although methods and concepts will be developed and tested for the Peruvian Andes, these will also be transferable for other regions in the world with similar framework conditions. The engagement of local stakeholders and institutions enables better consideration of the social and political context on the one hand, and increases the social relevance and potential for further use of the research results on the other.