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Seasonal Water Management for Semiarid Areas

Introduction / Overview

SaWaM – Seasonal Water Resources Management

Regionalized Global Data and Transfer to Practise

It is expected that until 2025 approximately 1.8 billion people will suffer from absolute water scarcity. In order to deal with this projected development, scientists and decision makers rely their planning more and more on global hydrometeorological data sets, remote-sensing products or global model systems, as the number of in situ gauges is significantly decreasing.

The major task of SaWaM is therefore the development of methods and tools for the practice transfer of regionalized global data for water resources management. The performance of the developed products will be evaluated over selected semi-arid regions. Special focus is on the seasonal prediction of water availability, the state of the eco-system, and the modelling of sediment flow. This will be achieved through an integrative approach between climate-, hydrological-, and ecosystem sciences together with remote-sensing based methods and data.

The practice application of the developed products will be analysed within a consortium of seven universities and research institutes, two international German business partners as well as a variety of regional decision makers.

The full model- and information chain will be analysed for three dedicated development regions (Sri Lanka, Northeast-Brazil and Iran), while selected features will be further evaluated over three perspective regions (Ecuador, Sudan, West-Africa). In the end, the superordinate product from SaWaM will be an industry mature online prototype, which allows to examine and apply all developed products – from the methods and data to the seasonal predictions for water resources management.

Overview of the development (red) and perspective regions (yellow).

Products / Services


Problemstellung und übergeordnete Zielsetzung 


Die Wasserversorgung ist aufgrund der regional sehr variablen Wasserverfügbarkeit für etwa 80% der Weltbevölkerung (4,8 Mrd. Menschen) potentiell unsicher (Vörösmarty et al., 2010). Bis 2025 werden voraussichtlich 1,8 Mrd. Menschen unter absoluter Wasserknappheit (<500m³/Person/Jahr) leben more...


Development regions 

Sudan - Upper Atbara Dam and Gash River:
For the Sudan Development Region, two projects are investigated within the framework of the research project, 1) the Upper Atbara dam project and 2) the Gash River in Kassala. The multipurpose project Upper Utbara dam project is currently the largest infrastructure project which is under construction in Sudan. more

Iran - Development areas Karun and Lake Urmia:
The highlands of Iran are in the shadow of the Alborz and Zagros mountains. Therefore, about 73% of the area of Iran in arid or semi-arid zones with low humidity, and large fluctuations in annual rainfall is. more 

Brazil - Extended catchment area of São Francisco,
North-eastern and Central Brazil

The study area covers the São Francisco catchment of 641,000 km2 and with 13 million inhabitants it is one of the most important river basins in Brazil (Fig. 7). Much of the area is part of the so called “dry-polygon" of the country. more 


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This project was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the financial assistance agreement No 02WGR1421.


Karlsruhe Institute of
Technology (KIT)

Campus Alpin - Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU)


Prof. Dr. Harald Kunstmann

Kreuzeckbahnstrasse 19
82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen