Project goals

According to the BMBF guidelines the GLOWA projects provide “simulation tools and instruments to develop and realize strategies for sustainable water management” under global change. Apart from that, GLOWA Jordan River provides scientific support for improved water and land management in the highly water stressed Jordan River region. Its central question is: How can the benefits from the region’s water be maximized for humans and ecosystems, under global and climate change?

Phase I of GLOWA JR mainly focused on experiments, data collection and therefore provided new process understanding and a wealth of new water and land related data and information for specific locations.

Phase II relied more strongly on modeling for improving scenarios of global change impacts on social and natural systems, for upscaling results from field measurements to basin scale. It built a framework for analyzing region-wide questions about global change and water resources. This framework consisted of two main components/integration tools:

  • A scenario building process in which experts from the region and Germany interacted with stakeholders from the region. This interaction produced four “regional development” scenarios describing how global change could affect development in the Jordan River region up to 2050.
  • Regional and sub-regional versions of the WEAP (Water evaluation and planning tool) model were developed which describe the current water resource situation in the region. These model versions were co-developed with experts in the region and are now being used for further analyses.

In addition, several other subprojects in Phase II elaborated the green-blue water concept which integrates land and water management. In contrast to phase I, these studies relied more heavily on modeling than on site-specific data collection and mostly applied a region-wide approach. They addressed different aspects of land use and water use in the region in a manner compatible with the integration tools. Information from these subprojects contributed directly and indirectly to the scenario-building exercise and the development of the regional and sub-regional WEAP models.

Phase III was devoted to further developing and applying the two integration tools and to filling gaps in the scientific knowledge. Its main goal was to develop new, science-based strategies and adaptation options for coping with the impact of global and regional change on regional water and land resources, and to communicate these to the key stakeholders in the region. The main product of Phase III is an integrated assessment of global change effects on the regional water resources and, based on this assessment, recommendations for adaptation options and strategies for sustainable water management under change, as well as decision-support tools.

Phase III was steered by the overarching question: Under expected global change - to what extent can conjunctive blue and green water resources contribute to future water needs in the region?

To make the overarching question tractable we divided it into three guiding sub-questions:

  • The “New Water” Question – Under expected global change – How can various “new” (blue) water sources contribute to future water resource needs of the region?
  • The “Land Use” Question – Under expected global change – To what extent can land use planning, i.e. green water management, contribute to sustainable water management under different scenarios?
  • The “Climate Extreme” Question. – What will be the effect of climatic extremes on the regional water balance and sustainable management of water resources in the region?

Project structure

GLOWA JR phase III consisted of different subprojects which were explicitly designed to interact with the scenario building integration tool and to deliver data to WEAP and/or produce data in GIS format. Several subprojects were merged under four thematic projects, each addressing a different aspect of water management under global change or integrating these aspects to answer three central questions.

The four themes are as follows:

  • Integration, application and dissemination, dealing with the integration of scientific results of all phases, with developing integrated strategies for sustainable water and land management under global change, and with dissemination of the results to stakeholders and the scientific community.
  • "New" (blue) water sources, where existing information on the most important sources of blue water have been collected to be systematically analyzed within the other themes to alleviate water scarcity and their side effects and attain sustainability, e.g. in WEAP or SAS. The data was obtained from phase II results and from existing results of other water-related scientific and applied projects in the region.
  • Green water management, where we have continued our successful focus on the role of land management in sustainable water management under global change. As pointed out above, this theme is unique within the regional IWRM context in that the explicit role of open space (‘nature’) and other land uses in water management is addressed systematically, and services produced by water in ecosystems and agriculture are traded-off against each other.
  • Regional water balance, where we have finalized our regional climate scenarios and subsequent effects on the regional water balance by means of existing models. Consistent with the needs of the stakeholders, refinement of models was done with a focus on extreme climatic events, in particular, series of drought years.
GLOWA JR phase III project structure (only main links shown) with the four themes feeding into three central tasks: The New Water Question, the Land Use Question and the Climate Extreme Question. The three core questions are addressed by the main integration tools.