Category Archives: News

Taking a tour of resilient infrastructure in New Orleans

Submitted by Katherine Schlef, PhD student in the Hydrosystems Research Group

This year, after being held for nearly 50 years in San Francisco, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting was held New Orleans. This change gave me the unique opportunity to participate in a field trip, organized by AGU and led by Nathan Lott of the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans, to look at new infrastructure that is part of the city’s goal to increase resilience to hurricanes after the devastation of Katrina in 2005. Continue reading

Hydrosystems Group attends 2017 AGU Fall Meeting

Ten members of the Hydrosystems Research Group attended the 2017 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting held December 11-15 in New Orleans.

HRG at AGU 2017

Hydrosystems Research Group members at AGU 2017 (from L to R: Hassaan Khan, Baptiste Francois, M. Umit Taner, David Rheinheimer, Katherine Schlef, Mariam Allam, Sungwook Wi, Sarah Freeman, Faranak Bedhazi (U. of Cincinnati), Chinedum Eluwa, and Casey Brown).

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HRG presents at Hydrologic Risk in Hydropower Dominated Energy Systems Workshop in London

Alec Bernstein attended a workshop convened by the International Hydropower Conference, the World Bank, and the Nordic Development Bank on Hydrologic Risk in Hydropower Dominated Energy Systems in London, UK on November 30th  through December 1st.  The workshop’s geographic focus was Africa and the main objectives of this training were: (i) to present and discuss the best practices and the new trends internationally adopted in the management of the hydrologic risk in hydropower generation and (ii) inform the representatives from the African countries, potentially exposed, about the suitable mitigation measures and the available hedging mechanisms. Continue reading

Implementing Freshwater Resilience by Design in Tanzanian River Basins – Scoping Mission

The Hydrosystems Research Group has entered a partnership with the World Bank (WB) and the Government of Tanzania to demonstrate freshwater resilience principles in multiple river basins in Tanzania.  Group members Casey Brown and Alec Bernstein participated in a World Bank scoping mission from 19 September, 2017 through 27 September, 2017 to lay the framework and connect with partners in country. Continue reading

Hydrosystems Group conducts IJC Climate Change workshop

Hydrosystems Research Group members Casey Brown and Alec Bernstein held a workshop during the International Joint Commissions’ Annual Board Meeting in Washington D.C. on May 3rd.  The goal of the meeting was to present the Climate Change Guidance Framework developed by the HRG and to conduct a Global Cafe with Board members to solicit feedback on implementing the Guidance Framework. Continue reading

Katherine Schlef presents at Columbia IRI

The week of June 19th, Ph.D. candidate Katherine Schlef visited the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and the Water Center at Columbia University in New York. While there, Schlef presented to researchers, postdocs, graduate students, and interns and had valuable collaborative meetings. Schlef’s current research is developing long-term projections of the 100 year flood given the uncertainty associated with future climate. Her focus is on two case studies: the Ohio River basin in the American Midwest, and the Sahelian region of West Africa. She benefited greatly from the climate and statistical expertise at IRI and the Water Center, and looks forward to continuing collaborations.

Hydrosystems Research Group led World Bank Decision Tree Training at UMass was a Success

The trainers and attendees of the World Bank Decision Tree Framework workshop at UMass Amherst

The UMass Hydrosystems Group completed a week long World Bank Decision Tree Training on April 24th-28th for water managers and decision makers from around the globe.  The workshop featured participants from Kenya, Nepal, South Korea, Mexico, Ethiopia, as well as World Bank staff.  The Decision Tree Framework is a four-phase assessment methodology developed to understand risk associated with climate change and their potential impacts on water infrastructure.

Luis Garcia of the World Bank introducing the training during the opening day.

It is common for major hydroelectric facilities, irrigation schemes, dams, and water supply systems to have 50 to 100 year lifespans.  This, coupled with emerging knowledge about long term behavior of the global climate system and changes in other non-climate factors, may affect water system performance in the future.  The goal of the workshop was to provide hands on practice utilizing the Decision Tree Framework for evaluating risks associated with climate change.

Participants listening to a presentation during the workshop

Participants were led through the steps of the Decision Tree Framework and spent many sessions throughout the week working collaboratively with other participants and trainers.  Using Microsoft Excel, R, OpenAgua, and other modeling tools, the workshop trainers led exercises in generating modeling tools for weather generation, hydrologic processes, systems analysis, and stress testing a system for an uncertain future.  Participants were eager to learn about the methods used for these different modeling tools, and many are bringing this new knowlege with th to assess climate risk in their home countries.

Participants working collaboratively during a training session on weather generation.

Earlier this week, the group took a field trip to the U.S. Geological Survey’s S. O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center in Turners Falls and the Cabot Station hydroelectric facility and fishway. Fish passage over hydraulic structures is a critical component in the design to ensure species connectivity along a river above and below a facility. This experience allowed the training participants to see a working full-scale fish passage research facility.

The Hydrosystems Group members who were trainers during the week:  Casey Brown, Patrick Ray, Katherine Schlef, David Rheinheimer, and Alec Bernstein.