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AWARE - New European research project on water resource monitoring and predicting


A new European Project named AWARE (A tool for monitoring and forecasting Available WAter REsource in mountain environment) has just started its activities.

AWARE is funded with the contribution of the European Commission - Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry - under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6 Aerospace).

The Project involves research institutes, universities and private companies from 5 European countries (Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland) who will be cooperating for 3 years (2005-2008).

The main joint goal 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.

Snowmelt is one of the most important water sources not only in the mountain environment. Filling the rivers and recharging the aquifers mountains offer water to million people for their needs (drinking, energy, production in agriculture and industry). However, climate change and other factors make water resources balance from snowmelt very fragile and inconstant, as recent episodes of droughts and floods observed in Alpine catchments dramatically confirmed.

Consequently AWARE has been motivated by the urgent need to predict medium-term flows for an effective 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 considering relevant catchments representative of various geographic conditions (climate, geology, geomorphology, hydrography) in the European Alps. In particular, case study basins will be distributed inside the Alpine area, therein including Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Slovenia.

One of the main goals of the AWARE project is to bridge the gap between available data about the state of water resources and information requested by different stakeholders involved in the local water resources management.

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 purpose 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. Through adequate instruments also other users will be involved in a second phase.

More information is available on request or on (website under construction).

Anna Rampini | alfa
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