Enhancing Climate Services for Improved Water Management (CliMWaR)
Engagement with local communities through a participatory approach and citizen science to monitor floods and droughts
In order to ensure the uptake and interaction of the climate services with the final stakeholders, novel communication networks will be evaluated to interact with vulnerable communities in at least two pilot countries. These involve both low tech as well as high-tech solutions, depending on local needs and capacities. In countries where smartphone penetration is low, climate services can be broadcast through existing low-tech community radio communications, to ensure dissemination of this information to the stakeholders. For more general usage, a smart phone application will be developed that provides continuous updates on the monitoring of floods and droughts in the region of interest, as well as updates regarding upcoming hydrometeorological hazards that are forecast by the Monitors, such as extreme discharge levels, extreme precipitation and extreme temperature.
Active involvement of local stakeholders can be promoted through a participatory ‘citizen science’ approach in pilot basins to gather hydrometeorological observations to improve the capacities of climate services to provide locally calibrated information. As a case study, in one watershed local communities will be actively involved to monitor hydrometeorological variables through a participatory approach. Cofunding for this activity will be provided through the Climate Adaptation Fund.
Promote a citizen-science participatory approach in flood and drought risk management, Central Andes, Bolivia, November 2021
In support of the fourth pillar of CliMWaR on engagement of local communities, a technical paper will be developed on participatory monitoring and citizen science approaches, with a view to build awareness about the sustainable water resources management as a pathway to build resilience to climate change in the Central Andes of Bolivia. To this end, up to 5 low-cost water level sensors were built and shipped to Bolivia and several community trainings took place. For this activity, a contract has been established with the Imperial College of London, who has also conducted a series of online workshops to build local capacity on using the Arduino platform for environmental monitoring. Furthermore, workshops with the community of Tiquipaya were organized to build capacity on water resources management and understanding of the impact of environmental change. Events with local authorities of Cochabamba and Tiquipaya were held to make them aware of the monitoring, its purpose, and its relevance to generate locally relevant, actionable knowledge to support policy on catchment management and conservation, as well to strengthen drought and flood risk management strategies.
Integration of local knowledge to bridge the need for integrated water resources management in the South American Andes, Bolivia, October 2021
The acquired knowledge of Andean farmers allows them to deal with hydrological extremes through the observation of hydro-climatic parameters related to atmospheric or other indirect atmosphere-influenced behaviors (mainly from plants and animals). Most of the indicators are related to temperatures, runoff and rainfall, and are actively validated through a feeding-back process which occurs every year looking for the repetition or the changes in the observed indicator and reasons for that behavior. This generated knowledge, although missing the scientific protocol to be collected, has the advantage of having been collected and validated in the long term, because Andean farmers have been making a significant investment in ecosystem monitoring since ancient times. Therefore, it could be of large help to shorten and improve the estimations provided by models which often could be based on inaccurate sources, due to missing or incomplete information. In this sense, a contract was been established with the Faculty of Engineering, Higher University of San Andrés (UMSA), in La Paz, Bolivia, oriented to develop a pilot experience where local knowledge related to climate and land management can provide hydro-climate services necessary for addressing floods and droughts challenges in the Andes. This will be done by collecting and validating data and information used in land-water management models to evaluate the potential impacts of the local climate trends on the ecosystem sustainability. Land-water relationships and the potential outcomes of weather and climate changes could also be assessed as they affect local populations. More than 150 local farmers from 6 communities were consulted, including on participatory meetings of the community farmers and one big inter-community and inter-geographic area meeting for farmers from different parts of the country. The outputs of this activity include a technical report on the validity of indicators and observations performed by farmers to the potentiality to integrate this information within General Evaluation Models and within selected hydrological models, together with a technical report on ecological water use and impact of temperature driven climate change and a handbook related to the collection of indigenous and local knowledge and transformation on quantitative information to be used in models. These documents represent an effort to evaluate local forecast knowledge based on both the perceptions of indigenous producers (local knowledge) and multiple years of meteorological data and imagery. These publications are expected to be edited and published in 2022.