Modelling of Changing Water Cycle and Climate


India’s water resources are under stress due to population growth and economic development. Water being a prime natural resource, a basic human need and a precious asset, its use needs appropriate planning, development and management. With rapid growing population and improving living standards, the pressure on our water resources is increasing and per capita availability of water resources is reducing day by day. Due to spatial and temporal variability in precipitation, the country faces the problem of flood and drought syndrome. Over-exploitation of groundwater is leading to reduction of low flows in the rivers, declining of groundwater resources and salt water intrusion in aquifers of the coastal regions. The quality of surface and groundwater resources is also deteriorating because of increasing pollutant loads from point and non-point sources. The eleventh Five Year Plan recognized the special challenges of water resources management facing India and the likelihood that these would only intensify over time due to rising population, expected growth in agricultural and industrial demand, the danger of pollution of water bodies and, over the longer term, the effect of climate stress on water availability in many parts of the country.

The present observation network (especially for hydro-meteorological variable such as precipitation, evaporation, snow melt, stream flow, runoff, infiltration) is not adequate for getting a quantified estimate of water balance in most of the river basin of the country. Therefore, existing observation network needs to be augmented with additional observing stations. Though the NCMRWF provides real-time weather and climate information in variety of spatial and temporal scales, these are not customized for user needs. Recently, there have been requests from few reservoirs management boards (such as Bhakra Beas Management Board) for customized predictions which can be input to hydrological models for efficient management of water in the reservoir. Therefore, the existing hydrological, weather and climate models have to be integrated, evaluated and calibrated for each catchment area and river basin. The calibrated models are required to run with different future climate scenarios to predict the likely impact on hydrological response at basin scale.

a) Objectives

  1. To augment the present hydro-meteorological observing  systems especially in the Himalayan glacier region (interfaced with Himalayan Meteorology phase-I Program).
  2. To develop  high-resolution modeling systems to enhance predictions of hydro-meteorological variables at basin scale.
  3. To develop integrated basin-scale  hydrological modeling system by incorporation of conventional and satellite data..
  4. To investigate the impact of climate change scenarios on hydrological response  at basin level.

    (v)To assess the impact of sea level changes on saline ingress in coastal zones.

  5. Monitoring and quantification of fresh river water discharge into Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea (to study salinity and density stratification of sea water).
  6. To undertake coordinated research to study the changing water cycle under the following themes (under MOU with NERC,UK):
    • Land, Ocean and Atmosphere interaction
    • Regional scale precipitation characterization
    • Detection and Attribution of Water Cycle Changes
    • Consequences of Changing Water Cycle
    • Research inputs for Adaptation Strategy

b) Participating Institutions:

  1. National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast, Noida
  2. India Meteorological Department, New Delhi
  3. Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune
  4. Academic and other research groups in the country

c) Implementation Plan:

  1. Review and strengthening of hydro-meteorological observational network for the chosen river basins shall be carried out.
  2. Development of modeling systems for water cycle and for prediction of hydro-meteorological variables shall be done.
  3. Appropriate hydrological models to simulate hydrological systems at basin scale shall be customized for the chosen river basin.
  4. Appropriate statistical and dynamic downscaling methods shall be developed for predicting the future climate scenarios at river basin scale.
  5. Impact of climate change scenarios on hydrological response at basin level shall be investigated.
  6. Impact of sea level changes on saline ingress in coastal zones shall be assessed.
  7. Fresh river water discharge into Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea shall be monitored and quantified to study salinity and density stratification of sea water.
  8. Program shall be implemented jointly involving NCMRWF, IMD, IITM, CCCR-IITM, academic and other research groups in the country along with MoWR agencies to meet the requirements of National Water Mission under NAPCC.
  9. A review panel of experts from MoES and NERC will be constituted which will guide the project implementation on yearly basis.

d) Deliverables:

Development of hydrological resource assessment and management tools to quantify possible response to climate change and variability.

e) Budget Requirement : 120 crores

(Rs. In crores)

Budget Requirement
Name of the Scheme 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Total
Modelling of Changing Water Cycle and Climate 19.0 24. 0 29.0 29.0 19.0 120.0


Last Updated On 04/07/2015 - 12:57
Back to Top