Integrated river basin modeling framework to support payments for watershed services by Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)

Integrated Modelling This report by NIVA and CISED has been prepared as part of the India-PES initiative, which was a collaborative effort undertaken on a pilot basis, by CISED and NIVA, for the development of integrated tools and consulting services for Watershed Management and 'Payments for Environmental Services' (PES) in India. Tools and methodologies developed as part of this initiative were tested in the Malaprabha river basin in the state of Karnataka, and the PES implementation was focussed on Participatory Irrigation Management.

The report presents a review of the hydrological and water allocation models and an evaluation of their ability to support PES-analysis (payment for environmental services) in Malaprabha River Basin, India. An assessment has been made, of the state-of-the-art in river basin management, drawing inferences from extensive literature review on water services modeling approaches, inclusive of surface and subsurface hydrology, water budgeting and allocation, so as to provide the necessary data and information to support testing of payments for ecosystem services in the India-PES project.

Important aspects that were considered during the evaluation were; (1) the models’ ability to use of remotely sensed land-use and land cover information; (2) ability to use spatially distributed hydro-meteorological data; (3) reasonably comprehensive representation of surface and sub-surface interaction; (4) the user-friendliness to set up and implement the model, and (5) it should not be too demanding in terms of input data. In addition, the model should be affordable for similar implementations in developing country context or available as a public domain package.

From the model inventory, there is no single model that can alone carry out the analysis. Based on this fact, a multi-tier modeling approach is recommended. It is proposed to use SWAT and SLURP as the hydrological models in the first tier, and MIKE BASIN and WEAP as the water allocation (water accounting) models in the second tier when implementing the PES-concept in Malaprabha River Basin.

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