Human participation in the hydrological cycle – case study of Northern India

To achieve sustainable development requires an integrated approach to water management, which accounts explicitly for trade-offs between human and environmental needs and services. This creates intricate links between three systems – human, technical and environmental – coupled in a dynamic system-of-systems with component interactions and feedbacks. However, addressing this complexity, which is exacerbated by rising demand, growing infrastructure inter-dependencies, environmental challenges, continued urbanisation, climate variability, and natural disasters still poses a scientific challenge – the need to take a holistic approach to water environment management, while accounting for the benefits within the system. Using examples from the CHANSE project focused on the water management in the Ganges basin in India, this talk will introduce a systems water management framework that takes into account technical components (infrastructure) that interact with each other and the environment (water and land), as well as stakeholders that act in the system across different management scales. The framework can be used to define the components of the system, relationships between them, and a socio-hydrological model that integrates these components. This enables improved quantification of the role of human activities in the hydrological cycle, and provides information that can be used for better planning and water management decisions.

About the speaker

Dr Ana Mijic is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at Imperial College London in Systems Water Management, with expertise in advanced modelling and analysis of processes, planning, resilience and economics of water systems. She is currently on a NERC Innovation Fellowship working with the UK Environment Agency and their wide range of stakeholders to apply systems thinking and systemic approaches to understanding, structuring and measuring the catchment water system complexity of the Cumbria Pioneer.

This seminar is part of the Oxford Water Network’s “Urban Water and the SDGs” series.