Project 1


WaterRain-Him: Changes in water resources and adaptation options in the Indian-Himalayan basins


Research Partners

SMHI / Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute

Stockholm Environment Institute

India's National Institute of Hydrology

Indian Institute of Technology - New Delhi



The Indian-Himalayan region already faces water stresses due to increase in population growth, urbanization, and increasing demands in the agriculture, industrial and hydropower sectors. In addition, climate change is already a reality in the region, whereas land use changes and water exploitation are present at unprecedented scale.

The sustainability of the Himalayan system is crucial for the socio-economic development of the country and the livelihood of some 600 million people. The range has the third largest deposit of ice and snow in the world storing a significant volume of fresh water. This importance of mountain water resources tends to stretch beyond the local scale, as their runoff provides water supply for adjacent, often drier lowlands. Therefore securing sufficient supplies of freshwater in the Himalayan basins is of primary concern, and may be seriously hindered by the spatial and temporal variability of water demand and supply.

By quantifying the impacts of environmental change on water availability and by providing adaptation strategies to tackle these impacts, the project will promote sustainable development in the region. The project’s results will be useful in deciding water allocation and use, and in planning for proper and efficient water resources management for food security and poverty alleviation.

We focus on the following questions:

Hydrological process understanding and modelling (model inter-comparison)

  • How much is contribution from snow and glaciers to river discharge in the present and future climate?

  • What are the separate and combined effects of different drivers of change to water fluxes and extremes?

RCM bias correction (in high-altitude regions)

  • How should climate model outputs be bias corrected to be useful for hydrological modelling in the Himalayas, and how large are uncertainties of the projections?

Adaptation and end-user communication

  • What are the end-user needs in the region, how are future projections presented to end-users for maximum usefulness, and what are the suggested adaptation strategies?


Project 2

Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Availability in the Indian Subcontinent


Research Partners

SMHI / Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute

CURAJ / Central University of Rajasthan



South Asia is expected to be seriously affected by the impacts of climate change since most economies are relying on agriculture and natural resources like water. The region already faces water stresses due to increase in population growth, urbanization, and increasing demands in the agriculture, industrial and hydropower sectors. Climate change is expected to further aggravate water shortage.

This project aims to represent and quantify (with uncertainty) the major hydrological variables (e.g. streamflow, surface runoff, groundwater level) for the entire Indian region (defined here as the drainage areas with runoff contribution to India).

The methodology is based on a participatory model development process, which combines existing numerical methods with local, regional and national expert knowledge to create an adapted modelling tool. This tool can be used for studying the effects of potential climatic changes (primarily using the CORDEX SA projections) and related adaptation strategies, for water resources management, and for operational hydrological warning services in the country.

The objectives of the project are:

• Calculation of extreme climate indices for the precipitation and temperature;
• Development of the bias-corrected scenarios for the selected general circulation model (using the DBS tool);
• Assessment of the impact of climate change on water resource availability using the HYPE hydrological model;



Pechlivanidis, I. G., J. Olsson, D. Sharma, T. Bosshard, and K. C. Sharma, 2015: Assessment of the climate change impacts on the water resources of the Luni region, India. Global NEST J., 17, 29-40.