G-WADI aims to strengthen the global capacity to manage the water resources of arid and semi-arid areas. Its primary goal is to build an effective global ommunity through integration of selected existing materials from networks, centers, organizations, and individuals who become members of G-WADI. The network promotes international and regional cooperation in the arid and semi-arid areas.
Specific objectives include:
- improved understanding of the special characteristics of hydrological systems and water management needs in arid areas
- capacity building of individuals and institutions, matching supply with need
- broad dissemination of understanding of water in arid zones to the user community and the public
- sharing data and exchanging experience to support research and sound water management
- raising awareness of advanced technologies for data provision, data assimilation, and system analysis
- promoting integrated basin management and the use of appropriate decision support tools.
Objective 1: Knowledge of hydrological systems
Significant data and information gaps exist in arid areas due to extreme difficulties of data collection; new and existing knowledge will be shared through the network. Priorities are to:
- Develop linkages with existing international water-related programmes
- Promote targeted studies related to spatial and temporal variability of rainfall, flash floods, drought, water harvesting and groundwater recharge, and ecohydrology, salinisation and other geochemical processes
- Facilitate data exchange and development and testing of new and existing models using common data sets
- Promote a series of G-WADI basin studies to compare semi-arid zone hydrology and hydrogeology at different scales, linking as appropriate to ecology and socio-economic aspects. Use these as a basis for integrated studies and capacity building.
Objective 2: Capacity building
The G-WADI network acts as a focal point for information exchange and training initiatives in three specific areas:
- Information exchange between UNESCO and other expert centres. Sharing of teaching material, with some translation to other languages
- Integration of capacity building activities of individuals and institutions; facilitation of partnerships
- Organisation of network workshops in priority areas
Objective 3: Dissemination to end-users
G-WADI acts as a demand-driven filter of scientific and management information, aiming to improve understanding of water in arid regions for non-specialists in four areas:
- Provision of a range of relevant web-based information, including CDs and newsletters
- Linkage with existing centres such as SAHRA, CHRS, relevant UNESCO centres, UNESCO Water Portal and similar relevant international initiatives, centres, and IHP national committees
- Development of news items and educational opportunities on water such as extreme/unusual hydrologic events
- Provision of popular publications linked to the network activities and web-site
Objective 4: Exchange of experience
Many problems may be resolved through the experience of others.
- Facilitation of exchange of information on both the application of advanced technologies and adaptation of traditional knowledge (eg rain-water harvesting, groundwater management coping with extreme events and with water scarcity
- Development and exchange of case studies of successes and failures in arid zone water protection
- Identification and analysis of emerging global trends in water management issues (e.g., through news watch), including issues of rapid, often unplanned, growth in urban areas, and associated questions of demand management
- Provision of easy Web access to near-real-time data and data projects (e.g., global datasets such as the PERSIANN), with emphasis on areas where gauges and other ground-based instruments are sparse
- Promotion of web-based discussion to identify the potential and limitations of modelling systems and advanced technology such as remote sensing, GIS and isotopes.
Objective 5: Integrated basin management
Based on the improved understanding of the hydrological system, G-WADI promotes initiatives for holistic water management - for human consumption, food production, socio-economic development, and ecosystem services through two specific activities:
- Development of IWRM and linkages with international programmes (such as HELP and FRIEND, ICIWaRM) and the promotion of pilot projects (eg G-WADI basins) for integrated studies.
- Promotion of dialogue between the scientific community, the user community and policy makers in studies related to arid zones and the management of water.