Building peace in the minds of men and women

Open Water Symposium – 28 - 31 October 2019


Water supply management

Global Hydro-economic Model & Community Water Model

logo iiasaThe Global Hydro-economic Model (ECHO) is a bottom-up system analysis framework which can be used to develop integrated, long-term planning strategies for the water system. It can be used to inform the design of cost-effective and sustainable water policy decisions and to address the impacts of future changing socio-economic and climatic conditions on water system. The Global Hydro-economic Model is a new element of IIASA’s water program which provides a technology rich basis for estimating water system dynamics over a long-term, multiple period time horizon. The model operates at global, regional and basin scales. For more information, click here.

logo iiasaThe Community Water Model allows the assessment of water supply and human and environmental water demands at both global and regional levels. The hydrological model is open source and has been designed to link to other models, enabling the analysis of many different aspects of the water-energy-food-ecosystem nexus. The integrated modeling framework will consider water demand from agriculture, domestic, energy, industry, and the environment. It will also take into account the investment needed to alleviate future water scarcity, and provide a portfolio of economically optimal solutions. In addition, it will be able to track the energy requirements associated with the water supply system; for example, pumping, desalination, and inter-basin transfer. For more information, click here.

Geospatial data management

Remote sensing

A 3-day course on remote sensing will be organized during the Symposium. The course will cover the following aspects (among others): sensor types and the variety of sensors and satellites with freely available data for water resources management, using open source satellite image repositories and exploring band combinations, study of multispectral indices and their application, using open image repositories and data portals, etc.


logo winsThe IHP Water Information Network System (WINS) online platform incorporates GIS data on water resources into a cooperative and open-access participatory database to foster knowledge sharing and access to information. WINS is freely available to Member States, water stakeholders and partners, with the aim of encouraging contributors to share information and knowledge on water. WINS offers different sets of spatial information that can be overlaid to create tailored maps. Transparency and respect of authorship is guaranteed as all information provided benefit from metadata in a standardized format and from a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). This allows for an accurate identification and crediting of any contribution, and easy later sharing. The platform contributes to close the gap between North and South in terms of access and the sharing of knowledge. For more information, click here.


Water management


logo freewatFREEWAT is an open-source software designed as a composite plugin for the famous open-source desktop software QGIS. FREEWAT includes several modules to address water management issues, with a particular focus on groundwater. Simulation codes (mainly from the MODFLOW USGS family) to treat groundwater-related processes (e. g. groundwater flow, transport of solutes in aquifers, etc.) form the basis of the plugin. For more information, click here.

Goals and teaching materials

Participants to this course will have the opportunity, through the completion of practical exercises:

  • to acquire or strengthen skills in using QGIS,
  • to acquire the groundwater flow numerical modelling theoretical concepts, and
  • to become familiar with the modelling tools integrated in FREEWAT for simulating groundwater flow and the interaction with the surface water.

The following training material will be provided for free:

  • the FREEWAT software
  • user manuals;
  • theoretic lectures;
  • tutorials and related data sets.

The theoretical part will include the following subjects: development of a conceptual model (with exercises), theory of groundwater modelling; basics on the MODFLOW code. The practical part will include exercises on: construction of the steady state groundwater models; implementation of the model in transient conditions with specific reference to simulation of drawdown impacts based on pumping rates. Analysis of Managed Aquifer Recharge schemes.

The trainers have long experience in growing competences in professionals having basic to advanced skills in modelling having formed in the course of last ten years more than 1000 individuals. Participants will have to use their computers – FREEWAT is implemented in the QGIS environment, so practical knowledge of QGIS is recommended. Knowledge of hydrogeology is required.


logo swatThe Surface Water Analysis Tool (SWAT) is a time-continuous semi-distributed hydrological model. SWAT+ is a completely restructured version of SWAT and it is usually applied at catchment-scale to simulate surface water and groundwater quality and quantity. SWAT+ is used in different studies across the world to predict the environmental impact of land use, land management practices and climate change. While SWAT+ uses similar equations to SWAT in estimating surface runoff/infiltration, evapotranspiration, plant growth, routing, etc. It offers more flexibility to users in configuring the model. Newly introduced decision tables allow the user to specify conditions for various management activities within the model (Arnold et al., 2018). Connect files improves flexibility in connecting different elements in the model. SWAT+ also introduces a new level of discretisation, landscape units, which allow separation of upland processes from wetlands (Bieger et al., 2017). For more information on SWAT+, click here.

Since SWAT+ is relatively new, there are not many tools that are available for calibration and checking for potential errors. The Integrated Parameter Estimation and Uncertainty Analysis Tool Plus (IPEAT+) program is introduced to conduct watershed calibration and uncertainty analysis (undergoing) tasks. IPEAT+ is using the same framework of IPEAT (Yen et al., 2014) and linked with the latest version of the Soil and Water Assessment Tool Plus (SWAT+). Specifically, watershed calibration subjects can also be defined as optimization or parameter estimation processes. Users can take advantage of the developed mathematical algorithms to solve nonlinear, high-dimensional problems with relatively minor efforts (Yen et al., 2015; 2016). Details of the IPEAT framework and theories can be found in (i) IPEAT framework (Yen et al., 2014); (ii) selection and theories of optimization algorithms (Yen et al., 2015; Yen et al., 2016)


Participants should have basic knowledge of QGIS usage and a basic understanding of hydrological processes. Note that Users will work on personal laptops.

Course content

  • Day 1: Introduction to SWAT+.
  • Day 2 : Hands-on training using QSWAT+ to set up a SWAT+ model.
  • Day 3 : SWAT+ Editor and Model input and output analysis.
  • Day 4 : Hands-on training on model calibration: Manual Calibration and Automatic Calibration Using IPEAT+.

Course organisers

  • Mrs. Ann van Griensven (VUB/IHE-Delft) and Mr. Celray James Chawanda (VUB)


Crop management


logo aquacrop AquaCrop focuses on simulating the attainable crop biomass and harvestable yield in response to water and environmental stresses. AquaCrop uses a relatively small number of parameters (explicit and mostly intuitive) and attempts to balance simplicity, accuracy and robustness. The mechanisms of crop response to cope with water shortage, soil salinity and soil fertility stresses are described by only a few parameters, making the underlying processes transparent to the user.


AquaCrop is a menu-driven program. With the help of graphs which are updated every time step (day) during the simulation run, the user keep track of changes in the soil water balance and the corresponding changes in biomass production and yield development.

Course content

aquacropThe workshop consists of a 4 days practical training programme. The participants are to be familiarized during the first 2 days with climate, crop and soil aspects describing the environment in which simulations are run. In the corresponding practical exercises on the computer the participants will learn step by step how to define and adjust climate, crop and soil characteristics in AquaCrop. After understanding the software, the focus of the workshop shifts in the remaining 2 days to its practical applications. The main goal is to derive from the simulation results practical guidelines to improve the crop water productivity. Cropping systems, field management and irrigation scheduling become then the key aspects covered in the workshop.

The main objective of the workshop is to train participants in the practical applications of AquaCrop in order to improve their skills in strategic management toward increasing crop water productivity in rainfed and irrigated production systems.

Course organiser

  • Mr. Dirk RAES - KU Leuven University


Wastewater treatment


logo dynamita Dynamita, in the framework of the UNESCO Open Water Symposium, will provide a one-day hands-on process modelling short course using the open process source Sumo simulator, developed by Dynamita France.


Participants should bring their own laptops (with Windows 7 to 10) to be able to install Sumo and follow the examples. Familiarity with wastewater treatment processes is required, modelling background is not necessary for this engineering course given in English.

Course content

logo dynamitaThe course will be based on the Sumo wastewater process modelling package. Sumo is a full-featured process simulation package for all process units available in typical wastewater treatment plants that contains activated sludge, digestion, side-stream and phase separation units. Participants will get a one-month license to be able to spend some time with Sumo after the course.


Topics covered during the course, including short introductions to specific treatment processes and hands-on simulation exercises, will be as follows:

  • Basics of dynamic modelling, mass balancing, process performance.
  • Introduction to the Sumo simulator – practical exercises.
  • Typical activated sludge model – BOD removal, nitrification, denitrification, bio-P, chemical P removal – practical exercises.
  • Importance of influent fractions, data required, calibration – practical exercises.
  • Considerations for hot climates, model extensions – practical exercises.
  • Advanced topics as time allows: aeration, biofilms, clarifiers, digesters – practical exercises.

Participants will obtain a deep understanding of the methods used and capabilities of dynamic wastewater process simulators.

Course organiser

  • Dr Imre Takacs - CEO of Dynamita