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Monitoring impacts of deforestation on hydrology of Magdalena basin for EartH2Observe project

EartH2Observe “Global Earth Observation for Integrated Water Resource Assessment” is a collaborative project funded under the European Union DG Research FP7 programme. The project began in January 2014 and will run for 4 years, until the end of 2017. The overall objective is to contribute to the assessment of global water resources through the use of new Earth Observation datasets and techniques. For this purpose, the project will integrate available earth observations, in-situ datasets and models, to construct a consistent global water resources reanalysis dataset of at least 30 years. 

The datasets will be downscaled for application in case-studies at regional and local levels, and optimized based on identified national and local needs supporting water management and decision making.  WaterWorld will be applied to two of the EartH2Observe Case Studies: (1) Colombia and (2) Estonia.  

(1) In Colombia, the case study is dealing with variability the water resources in the Magdalena river basin as part of the strategy for supporting and evaluating the implementation of the National Water Policy (ENA) and Regional Water Evaluations (ERA). Almost 80% of the Colombian total population (46 million people) is settled in the Magdalena River basin, making it the main source for all the water demands including human consumption, agriculture, hydropower generation, industrial activities and ecosystems support. During recent decades the Magdalena river basin has witnessed changes in land-cover and  deforestation. The Magdalena basin provides 70% of Colombia’s hydropower, there is a plan to significantly expand the hydropower in the basin. Recent  increases in soil erosion have been attributed to a decrease in forest and an increase in agriculture and pasture, poor soil conservation and mining practices, and increasing rates of urbanization.  

This training material shows the use of WaterWorld the Magdalena catchment, Colombia and is part of the EartH2Observe E-Learning Programme. More information can be found here: www.earth2observe.eu 

(2) The main focus of the EartH2Observe Estonian case study is water quality. This case study investigates the impact of environmental change and economic activities on water quality in the whole of Estonia using the WaterWorld PSS. It will focus on the impacts on water quality of  (1) developing the oil shale mining areas in the northeast, (2) changes in activities within and around the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) (3) population change.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 603608.