The MedWater project is divided into seven work packages with a total of 13 subprojects.
WP1 is the coordination of the individual work packages among each other. This is important to ensure networking and also temporal coordination between the individual work packages. WP1 also deals with the organization of the regular project meetings and the organization of the workshops and training of the stakeholders.
WP2: System Characterization and Modelling of the hydrological-hydrogeological System
The basis for “real-time” optimization is a model of the “resource demand system”, which also includes the water requirements of the ecosystems. A transient double-continuum model of the mountain aquifer to simulate the behavior of the groundwater storage will be developed. This will allow the simulation of the groundwater discharge with a high temporal resolution. The ground water model (MODFLOW) takes into account the complex water transfer in the unsaturated zone (HYDRUS). With the help of currently available data (ERS SCAT, METOP ASCAT, ENVISAT ASAR and Sentinel-1), long-term soil moisture time series are created on spatially different scales (between 150 and 26 km), which are used to calibrate the hydrological-hydrogeological model. The next step is the coupling of the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) with the hydrological-hydrogeological model. SWAT allows the modeling of nutrient transport, biomass production and agricultural management (e.g. artificial irrigation). In addition to soil moisture, the models also consider the expansion of wetlands, vegetation parameters (e.g. NDVI), as well as land use information generated by means of multi-temporal and multi-spectral remote sensing data. This process-based model approach thus quantifies the influence of hydrological and land-use changes on ecosystem services, as well as the derivation of corresponding interrelationships in the form of causal chains.
WP3: Scenarios and Indicators
The objective of WP 3 is to quantify the possible change in water resources as a function of external factors (land use, climate change, regional water management strategies, trade of virtual water via food) with the help of scenarios. The purpose of this work package is to define the variables for the scenarios. Both climate factors (precipitation and temperature) as well as socioeconomic factors (population growth, consumption per capita, domestic water management, import of virtual water via food) are taken into account.
Scenarios are defined and analyzed in consultation with the stakeholders, and a scenario catalog is generated, which serves as background information for the development of the real-time DSS in WP 7. A distinction is made between provider services (food, quality and quantity of drinking water and irrigation water), regulating services (carbon storage, erosion protection, nutrient retention) and habitat services (habitats for endangered species) and their relevance for the regional development objectives, together with stakeholders, according to the TEEB classification.
Finally, the effects of the influencing factors on the ecosystem services are quantified along the defined causal chains for the scenarios using the regional SWAT-MODFLOW model. The energy consumption of the water supply is also modeled as an indicator. This will be relevant as the physical energy consumptions for the provision of virtual water (via transport of imported food to Israel) can be compared to the energy consumption for the provision of desalinated seawater for irrigation farming. In addition, no further sustainability indicators are included in the analysis, in order not to increase the complexity even further.
WP4: Virtual water flows to Israel and impact on global ecosystem services
WP4 deals with the quantification of virtual water in food which has been imported to Israel. A globally parameterized SWAT model is used to determine the water footprint for the import and export of food to quantify the relation between local water consumption and its large-scale global effects. FAOSTAT data is used for the quantification of the Israeli import and export and supports the determination of all virtual water flows and water footprints. By using the globally parameterized SWAT and InVEST it is possible to identify i) the impact of agricultural production on ecosystem services of exporting countries for the most important export regions and ii) to what extent the movement of agricultural production and water usage would effect the ecosystem services in exporting countries negatively. Thereby, the interaction of research and transfer areas with the global water resources and ecosystem services is etablished.
WP5: Optimization & Development Scenarios
For the multicriteria optimization the verified causal chains (WP 2 and WP 3) will be transferred into transfer functions. The optimization takes into account competing goals such as: ecosystem services and indicators, water trade, biodiversity, water quality, costs, energy consumption and the availability of water resources. A consideration of target functions within a multicriteria optimization allows the identification of pareto-optimal solutions. Synergies and conflicts in the region can be identified and development objectives can be derived on this basis.
Based on the results of multicriteria optimization, ecologically or economically oriented development scenarios are derived, which enable efficient and sustainable water management. Stakeholders place their priorities on target indicators, regional development goals and hydrological-hydrogeological and ecological conditions. The solutions corresponding to the preferences are drawn from the Pareto set using decision-making techniques. The optimization variables associated with the solution will then define the management for the development scenario.
WP6: Transfer to the global scale
The transfer includes (i) the transfer of results to other areas with good infrastructure (Alento and Lez catchment areas) and long-term management experience in a regional context, and (ii) the generalization of the indicators and the optimization process as a method. A rating matrix is created that groups the sites according to the catchment area, soils, rainfall distribution patterns and assigns indicators from WP 4 to the respective combinations. This evaluation matrix is applied to selected, international, large-scale carbonated aquifers with high water-economic relevance and a Mediterranean climate pattern. An important role in the generalization of the results is remote sensing as it provides soil-specific baseline characteristics on a regional scale and transfers regional results to sites with comparable properties worldwide.
For the implementation of event-oriented water resources management, web-based information systems are used as an interface between science and practice, which integrate stakeholders (water utilities, farmers and agricultural authorities, relevant economic enterprises, etc.) at an early stage to achieve the greatest possible acceptance for future use of the systems. The work package includes the development of a “real-time data-based” decision support system (DSS) as well as an extensive database for data exchange and storage. Transfer of knowledge is provided by training and workshops.