Brussels, 14 Sep 2005
A new EU research project aimed at monitoring and predicting water availability and distribution in drainage basins has just begun its activities. One of the main goals of the AWARE project is to bridge the current gap between available data on the state of water resources and the information requested by different stakeholders involved in the management of local water resources.
The AWARE project, which stands for 'a tool for monitoring and forecasting Available WAter REsource in mountain environment' is partly funded by European Commission's Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, under the Sixth Framework Programme's Aerospace priority. The objective of the project is to provide innovative tools for monitoring and predicting water availability and distribution in those drainage basins where snowmelt is a major component of the annual water balance, such as the Alpine catchments.
The three-year initiative (2005-2008), coordinated by the Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment (IREA) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), will involve research institutes, universities and private companies from five European countries - Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland.
Snowmelt is one of the most important water sources in Europe, and not only in mountain environments. Filling rivers and recharging aquifers, mountains provide water to millions of people to fulfil various needs (drinking, energy, production in agriculture and industry). However, climate change and other factors make water resources from snowmelt very fragile and inconstant, as the recent droughts and floods seen in Alpine catchments has dramatically confirmed. Consequently AWARE has been motivated by the urgent need to predict medium-term flows for an effective and sustainable water resources management.
The project will develop appropriate models to represent snow-pack dynamics and snowmelt runoff based on the combined use of satellite Earth Observation data and in-situ hydrological and meteorological measurements. Model calibration, validation and demonstration will be performed, taking into account geographic conditions (climate, geology, geomorphology, hydrography) of relevant catchments areas in the European Alps. In particular, case study basins will be distributed among Alpine areas in Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Slovenia.
All models developed within the project will be implemented in a geo-service - an online interactive system allowing users (such as hydropower companies, irrigation consortia, municipal water supply) to exploit local and global data and to apply models developed in the project to local catchments. To this end, a representative sample of end-users, such as local stakeholders, environmental agencies, irrigation consortia and energy supply companies, has already been engaged in the project, and other potential users will be integrated into the project in the second phase.
For further information, please consult the following web address:
still under construction
Anna Rampini, Project Coordinator
Istituto per il Rilevamento Elettromagnetico dell'Ambiente(IREA)
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) Tel.: +39 2 236995
Fax: + 39 2 23699300