It became clear in summer 2018 at the latest that drought can also cause widespread problems in Germany. In the research project TASK2 “Operational use of seasonal hydro-meteorological forecasts with water balance and soil water balance modeling for adaptation to drought due to climate change” a tool is to be developed that provides seasonal forecasts of dry periods and thus opens up scope for action at an early stage.
In the predecessor project TASK (Dams Adaptation Strategy due to Climate Change), adaptation and management strategies for dams were developed together with dam operators and supervisory authorities that take climate-related changes in the precipitation regime into account and focus on their effects on dam operations. The focus was on early detection of dry periods, using hydro-meteorological indices and seasonal weather forecasts.
Opportunities for extending the TASK approach were recognized during the course of the project. In addition to the possibility of correlating indices with runoff, the possibility of running a rainfall-runoff model with forecast data is seen as a particularly promising approach. Through an rainfall-runoff model, among other things, a projection into the area becomes possible, which, in addition to runoff, also provides information about, for example, soil moisture or water storage in the area, from which further indices can be formed. This results in a spatial state picture instead of point information. Also, by means of aggregation of areas that are sensitive with respect to water storage, further insights can be derived. These augmentation capabilities allow water shortage situations to be predicted in a spatially differentiated manner, which is helpful for others affected by climate change, such as agriculture.
On this basis, TASK2 will develop an operational tool to provide a basis for decision-making for contingency planning to identify water shortage situations early in the future and to address them effectively.
In addition, it is planned to establish a web portal at SYDRO to communicate and present the results in graphic and map form to contribute to public relations and awareness creation.
Target groups for the project are dam operators, municipalities, navigation, hydropower, agriculture and nature conservation, as well as the general public. Based on the promising results of TASK, high demand from the practice side, and the complex assessment for water allocation in times of shortage, the project is seen as making a significant contribution to climate change adaptation.