Project Profile

Project Title HighNoon: adaptation to changing water resources availability in northern India with Himalayan glacier retreat and changing monsoon pattern
Project Code 2009GW03
Project Status Completed
End Date June 2013
Sponsor(s) European Commission
Division Earth Science & Climate Change

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.


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 Dr R K 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.

The HighNoon Project

In order to anticipate the potential negative effects of changes in water resources availability and demand, implementation of adaptation measures is necessary. Therefore, integrated measures that enhance adaptive capacities of systems need to be identified and strengthened. Read more →

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