Workshop and Focus Group Discussion “Climate Extremes and Societal Resiliency in Krishna River Basin”

As part of a research collaboration funded by the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research under the Grant Number CRRP2018-06MY-Yanto, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH), India supported by Jenderal Soedirman University (JSU), Indonesia and the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA organized a workshop and focus group discussion. The theme of this event is “Climate Extremes and Societal Resiliency in Krishna River Basin”. In this project, this is the first activity to collect information from and share it among stakeholders of Krishna River Basin. The second workshop and focus group discussion will be held in Purwokerto to discuss climate extremes and societal resiliency of Serayu River Basin.

The two-day workshop and focus group discussion was held in the IITH main campus, Kandi, Telangana state on 7th and 8th January 2020. The primary motivation of this workshop is to bring academicians, engineers, policymakers and stakeholders of the basin from different organizations together and enhance scientific knowledge via sharing the work and experiences from their expertise. In this process, we contacted government and non-government organizations, industries and academic institutes[1]. A formal invitation was sent to all the attendees before a month detailing goals of the projects, explaining the goal of the workshop and the logistics; see the attached sample invitation letter.

“The project has two main objectives, i.e., 1. Scientific understanding of hydroclimate extremes; 2. Translation of scientific understanding into decision making to increase societal resiliency. In the context of the second objective, we are conducting a focus group discussion and workshop with relevant stakeholders and decision makers. We hope that the workshop will enhance all of our scientific understanding of the physical mechanism of the basin as well as its various aspects including key sectors, stakeholders, current operational practices, policies, tools and systems. In the end, the outcome of this may assist in developing future multi-investigator national/international collaborative 

proposals across various stakeholders that, together, will (a) evaluate existing vulnerability and resiliency in flood management and water sectors (b) develop resilience-enhancing strategies under changing climate extremes in accordance with the stakeholder situation and needs. And, most importantly the whole activity increases the involvement of stakeholders and decision makers”

The two-day workshop had academicians, engineers and policy makers as speakers and more as the entire audience. Also, the workshop had participation from multiple institutes and agencies from starting career level to senior level. The format of the workshop as follows, i.e., on both days, we had talks in the morning and discussions in the afternoon, and a poster session in the evening of the first day.  

Day 1 of the workshop

The workshop started on a welcome note by the project investigators Dr. Satish Regonda, Prof. Balaji Rajagopalan, and followed by the principal investigator Dr. Yanto where he discussed the project motivation, goals, purpose of the workshop. In the following talk, Prof. Balaji discussed his research on hydroclimate extremes in India. The key findings of his research include decreasing trends in monsoon rainfall despite an increasing trend in intensity of rainfall. He concluded his talk with the importance of the need for strict policies in land use and land cover changes where he explained the example of the construction of a runway in an airport across a river in Chennai which in time led to severe flooding in the city. Later, Shri. Ranga Reddy, CWC, gave a talk on River Basin Approach in Water Management which is being used by KGBO. He highlighted a few problems that they deal on a ground level such as

disputes over the release of water in drought periods in the Krishna-Godavari River basins. The first session was ended by a talk from Shri. A. Paramesham, CWC, where he gave an overview of the water resources of India.

After a 15-minute break, Shri. S. Narasimha Rao, Chief Engineering, Govt. Telangana, gave a lecture on the Interstate River Krishna Disputes. Some salient discussion points from his talk include the amount of water to be used by each state, how this equitable apportionment is decided, and different water policies from other countries. Later on, the session concentrated on the talks on forecasting systems used by CWC and IMD. Dr. Naga Ratna Kopparthi gave a lecture on the IMD weather forecasting system and provided some statistics on their accuracy. Dr. Naga Ratna also

pointed out the necessity of enhancing these models for better forecasts in the future. Shri. Raghuram’s talk focused on the CWC flood forecasting system in India. His talk included the flood problems in India, mitigation measures, types of forecasts, dissemination of forecasts. He concluded his talk by mentioning a few challenges and the need for close coordination among different agencies. This session finished with a talk from Dr. Shantala Devi B S on flood forecasting system in Krishna River Basin where she pointed out flood forecasting methodology, formulation, and accuracy in the forecast.

The post-lunch had an exhaustive session to discuss the existing vulnerability and resiliency of the system as well as

drawing new mitigation measures and strategies to increase resiliency to deal with climate extremes in the river basin. The participants were divided into three groups to discuss the aforementioned topic. Day 1 ended with a poster session in the evening where researchers from different organizations showcased their work related and can be applied to Krishna River Basin.

Day 2 of the workshop

Day 2 presentations begun by Prof. Mujumdar, IISc Bangalore with a talk on Hydrologic Extremes under changing climate. Some outline points were on the rise in temperature, projections from different climate models. Also, he pointed out the necessity of quantifying and reducing the uncertainties in the context of climate change. Dr. Yanto’s talk on the hydrological problems in Indonesia, the need for appropriate mitigation measures in order to withstand the serious threat of extreme events. Indonesia and India being the only members of the top five world’s most populated countries where the poverty levels are above 10%. Therefore, he mentioned that it is essential to understand the Spatio-temporal variability of hydroclimate extreme events in these countries. Later on, Dr. Durga Rao, NRSC, delivered a talk on Water Resources Assessment at a basin scale in the Godavari. After this, Dr. Satish showed a few results on preliminary hydroclimate analysis in the Krishna River Basin. A basic version of the GUI visualization tool that can potentially aid stakeholders and policymakers in decision making is presented.

The forenoon session of the second day focused on the socio-economic aspects of climate change. The session started with a talk on policy options to combat climate change effects by Dr. Murali, SaciWATERs. He discussed the need for adaptation in various departments that are vulnerable to climate change. This talk was followed by Dr. P. S. Rao, ACIWRM, who gave a talk on water governance in Karnataka. He mentioned the challenges for future governance. Later on, Dr. Manasi, ISEC, discussed the strategy for improved integrated water resources management in Tungabhadra Basin. The session concluded with a talk by Dr. Channamma, ISEC, on the Impact of climate change extremes on women.

The post-lunch session commenced with two quick presentations by Shri. Ranga Reddy on telemetry measuring system for canals (on behalf of Shri. K. V. Ramana, SE, Tungabhadra Board and followed by Shri. Jai Singh Hire, Asst. SE, on equitable water distribution in the upper Godavari basin. After this, an conversation session was held with Prof. Mujumdar, Dr. P. S. Rao  and Shri Ranga Reddy, and the session was moderated by Prof. Balaji. Audience asked various scientific questions and were answered as well as discussed among the participants in the context of this project. A brief workshop report could be download here.

In this way, the workshop acted as a platform to share the expertise, knowledge and ideas so that gaps across different spectrums filled to an extent and enhanced our knowledge on various aspects including real-time operational systems and potential climate change impacts on various aspects in the Krishna River Basin.

[1] CWC, KRMB, KGBO, IMD, NRSC; DHI, SaciWATERS, Vassar Labs; ISEC, ACIWRM, ICRISAT, ATREE; NITW, OU, IISc