About the project
South Asia is expected to be seriously affected by the impacts of climate change since most economies are relying on agriculture and natural resources like water. The region already faces water stresses due to increase in population growth, urbanization, and increasing demands in the agriculture, industrial and hydropower sectors. Climate change is expected to further aggravate water shortage.
The India-HYPE application set-up aims to represent and quantify (with uncertainty) the major hydrological variables (e.g. streamflow, surface runoff, groundwater level) for the entire Indian region (defined here as the drainage areas with runoff contribution to India).
The methodology is based on a participatory model development process, which combines existing numerical methods with local, regional and national expert knowledge to create an adapted modelling tool. This tool can be used for studying the effects of potential climatic changes (primarily using the CORDEX SA projections; see Figure 1) and related adaptation strategies, for water resources management, and for operational hydrological warning services in the country.
India-HYPE is funded by the SIDA project “Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources in the Luni River Basin, Rajasthan, India, using CORDEX results”. The overall objective of this study is to assess the hydrological impact of projected changes in climate with focus on the Luni River Basin of Rajasthan, India. In particular:
• Calculation of extreme climate indices for the precipitation and temperature;
• Development of the bias-corrected scenarios for the selected general circulation model;
• Assessment of the impact of climate change on water resource availability using the HYPE hydrological model;
• Dissemination of the project outputs and results to stakeholders.
About the Indian region and the model
India is a country in South Asia, and is considered the seventh-largest country by area and the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people. India covers an area of about 3.3 million km2 and some of its river basins cover several countries in the area (see Figure 2).
The Indian climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas (north) and the Thar Desert (west), both of which drive the summer and winter monsoons. Four major climatic groupings predominate in India: tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid, and montane.
Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal. Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna and the Kosi; the latter's extremely low gradient often leads to severe floods and course changes.
Major peninsular rivers, whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding, include the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri, and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal; and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea. Coastal features include the marshy Rann of Kutch of western India and the alluvial Sundarbans delta of eastern India; the latter is shared with Bangladesh.
Emphasis is given to the State of Rajasthan, and particularly to the Luni River basin, which is in the western part of India. The area faces severe water scarcity, has little rainfall (200-600 mm/year), and is classified as an arid/semi-arid region; pan evaporation is 2640 mm/year, exceeding precipitation several fold, so that streamflow is near zero for much of the time.
The assessment of water availability under climate change scenarios is based on the HYPE model, which is set-up using freely available databases (see Table 1).
Table 1. Data information and sources for the project.