bootstrap theme


Seasonal Water Management for Semiarid Areas

I. Basic Information

SaWaM - Water Resources Management in Arid Regions

SaWaM Project Makes Global Data Usable for Regional Management and Seasonal Forecast

How much water will be available in arid and semi-arid regions of the Earth in the future? How can reservoirs and irrigated agriculture be managed? These are the questions covered by the project “Seasonal water resources management in semi-arid regions: Transfer of regionalized global information to practice” (SaWaM) coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) makes global satellite and model data usable for regional water resources management and seasonal forecast.  

Methods and tools for the application-oriented transfer of regionalized global information to water management in data-sparse semi-arid regions will be developed and their performance analysed. In a cooperation of seven scientific partners and two companies, the regional focus will be on Sudan, Iran, Brazil, Ecuador/Peru, and West Africa. For hydrological design purposes, our temporal scale covers the past up to the present, while for operational management purposes it will address the upcoming 1-12 months. SaWaM employs models addressing seasonal forecasting, water availability, sedimentation processes, and ecosystem states. Model approaches are extended by satellite-borne methods. An online prototype of a globally applicable decision support system for dry-land water management will be developed through an integrative approach in close cooperation with German business partners and local stakeholders.
Abbildung: Karun I dam

II. Concept

The SaWaM project is aimed at analyzing the performance of global hydrometeorological data products and optimizing these data with the help of newly developed methods for decision support. A special focus is on the seasonal forecast of the most important water resources parameters for the next six to twelve months. “SaWaM provides important information about the future development of water availability, above all for the management of reservoirs and irrigated agriculture,” project coordinator Harald Kunstmann says.

To ensure practical applicability of the methods developed, the project consortium cooperates closely with local decision-makers, research institutions, and companies in the five semi-arid target regions. Detailed application is envisaged in three development regions, the Iran, Sudan, and Brazil. In another two regions – Ecuador and West Africa – scientists will evaluate general applicability of the methods and selected aspects.   

For use in the different regions, the methods have to meet different requirements. In close dialog with local decision-makers, the researchers define region-specific target parameters. These parameters serve as a basis for a prototype online portal, on which the results of the projects will be made available and visualized. Among others, SaWaM will provide information on sediment input into the Upper Atbara dam complex / Sudan in the Nile basin as well as improved hydrometeorological data for sustainable water resources management of Lake Urmia in Iran.   

Apart from KIT, the project partners of SaWaM are the University of Potsdam, Stuttgart University, University of Marburg, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research UFZ, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), Technical University of Berlin, Lahmeyer International GmbH (Bad Vilbel), and GAF AG (Munich).  

The collaborative project “Seasonal water resources management in semi-arid regions: Transfer of regionalized global information to practice” (SaWaM) is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the funding program “Globale Ressource Wasser” (GROW, Global resource water).

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