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Water resources management and water security

Keywords: water resources; land-use change; hydrological change; environmental restoration; water for food
Fig.1 Interaction between human activity and water systems (Author: A. Montanari).
Fig.2 Effect of natural variability and human influence on the status of water resources (Author A. Montanari).
Fig.3. Water balance for the Po River watershed (Author: A. Montanari).

Water resources management and water security are topical issues today in many countries in Europe and other areas. In fact, environmental change, and in particular hydrological change, is inducing relevant perturbations in water resources availability and water demands. This problem is recognized at the international level, as the numerous scientific and governmental initiatives developed in the last decade and dedicated to water security and society clearly testify. It is an extremely complex scientific and technical problem, because the increase of the water demands and the overexploitation of water resources is superimposed to environmental changes that may themselves imply a reduction of water availability. Finding a solution to such a problem requires gaining an improved interpretation of the connections and feedbacks between water dynamics and society. Traditional scientific and technical approaches for water engineering design are based on the assumption that environmental conditions are marginally affected by human influence and therefore the environment is often assumed to be stationary.

The research and consulting activities set up innovative approaches for studying and modeling the mutual interaction between water and humans (socio-hydrology), hence developing new methods for estimating design variables to support engineering design. The ongoing research activities deal with the following subjects:

- identification of optimal techniques for water resources management in a changing environment;

- impact of climate and hydrological change in water resources;

- integrated methods for flood risk mitigation and flood management through an improved mathematical representation of the connections and feedbacks between society and water processes;

- design of hydro-power plants under environmental change;

- environmental impact analysis for human activities;

- large scale analysis of human influence, environmental impact and socio-hydrological feedbacks.

Main publications

Andrés-Doménech, I. Montanari, A., Marco, J.B., Efficiency of Storm Detention Tanks for Urban Drainage Systems under Climate Variability, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, ASCE, 138, 36-46, 2012.

Bloeschl, G., Montanari, A., Climate change impacts— throwing the dice?, Hydrological Processes, 24, 374 – 381, 2010.

Brandimarte, L., Di Baldassarre, G., Bruni, G., D’Odorico, P., Montanari, A., Relation Between the North-Atlantic Oscillation and Hydroclimatic Conditions in Mediterranean Areas, Water Resources Management, 25, 1269– 1279, 2011.

Castellarin, A., Pistocchi, A., An analysis of change in alpine annual maximum discharges: implications for the selection of design discharges. Hydrological Processes, 26(10), 1517-1526, 2012.

Ceola, S., F. Laio, and A. Montanari, Humanimpacted waters: New perspectives from global high-resolution monitoring, Water Resour. Res., 51, 7064–7079, doi:10.1002/2015WR017482, 2015.

Ceola, S., Montanari, A., Koutsoyiannis, D., Toward a theoretical framework for integrated modeling of hydrological change. WIREs Water, doi:10.1002/wat2.1038 , 2014.

Ceola, S., F. Laio, and A. Montanari, Satellite nighttime lights revealing increased human exposure to floods worldwide, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 7184–7190, doi:10.1002/2014GL061859, 2014.

Di Baldassarre, G., Laio, F., Montanari, A., Effect of observation errors on the uncertainty of design floods, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 42-44, 85-90, 2012.

Domeneghetti, A., Carisi, F., Castellarin, A., Brath, A., Evolution of flood risk over large areas: quantitative assessment for the Po River. Journal of Hydrology 527, 809–823; doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.05.043, 2015.

McMillan H. et al., Panta Rhei 2013-2015: Global perspectives on hydrology, society and change. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 61, 7, 1174— 1191, doi:10.1080/02626667.2016.1159308, 2016.

Montanari A. et al., Panta Rhei-Everything Flows": Change in hydrology and society-The IAHS Scientific Decade 2013-2022, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 58(6), 1256-1275, doi:10.1080/02626667.2013.809088, 2013.

Montanari, A., Koutsoyiannis, D., A blueprint for process-based modelling of uncertain hydrological systems, Water Resources Research, 48, W09555, doi:10.1029/2011WR011412, 2012.

Wagener, T., Montanari, A., Convergence of approaches toward reducing uncertainty in predictions in ungauged basins, Water Resources Research, 47, doi:10.1029/2010WR009469, 2011.

Research projects

Panta Rhei, Everything flows, IAHS Scientific Decade 2013-2022. Alberto Montanari is Chairing the research initiative in the biennium 2013- 2015.

Project PRIN 2008 "Uncertainty Analysis for Rainfall and River Flow Data and Effects on Water Resources Management", financed by the Italian Government.

Project "Transitions to the urban water services of tomorrow" (TRUST), financed by the European Union – 7th Framework Programme, 2010-2013.

Project Sharing Water Information to Tackle Changes in the Hydrosphere - for Operational Needs” (SWITCH-ON, Call ID "FP7-ENV-2013- Two-stage"), financed by the European Union (2013-2017).