Removing Barriers to Effective Integrated Water Resources Management
With over 4000 users in 150 countries, WEAP is already one of SEI’s most visible and successful tools in terms of bringing about change for sustainable development in the realm of managing environmental systems. However, significant obstacles remain that limit the positive impact that WEAP and tools like it could have.
Although the majority of WEAP users are based in developing countries, their success in applying WEAP as a decision support tool has been limited by insufficient capacity and access to data. This project aims to help remove these barriers. It has three key goals:
• To remedy poor access to data, which include insufficient knowledge about which types of data are necessary or available for an analysis, where to find data, and how to download, format and process the data for use in a model, a new wizard will be built inside WEAP that will contain information about dozens of global datasets (including historical and projected time series for climate, land use, demographic, economic, technical, hydrological, environmental, and infrastructure data in river basins around the world, with a particular focus on developing countries).
This will allow WEAP to present the user with a list of available data by river basin, and then download and format this data and insert it directly into a WEAP model. Other enhancements to WEAP will allow it to process GIS and other remote sensing data for its use by WEAP, such as streamflow delineation from digital elevation maps or land use categorization.
• To build capacity for researchers and policy makers in developing countries, a series of 20 interactive online training workshops will be held, whereby participants can see and hear the trainers’ screen and voice as they lead participants through an introduction to integrated water resources management and modelling using WEAP, including how to find and utilize online data sources (see above). Completing the translation of WEAP into major languages of the world will further enable its use by non-English speakers in developing countries.
• To help foster a community of practice among water resources professionals, the existing WEAP Forum will be improved with new collaboration technologies that will encourage participants to interact and share their experiences and analyses, including models and data.