The Middle East

The FutureDAMS Middle East case study aims to develop new collaborative approaches and tools to explore water-energy-food futures in the Mesopotamia region.

The Tigris and Euphrates river basin in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region is a transboundary system with increasing water, energy and food demands. Increasing pressures in water resources have emerged due to development and climate change. By 2040 river flows could decrease just as population growth and food and energy will have increased. Water-energy linkages are important in the region as much water infrastructure development is driven by hydropower production. Given the water scarce conditions and the existing water dependencies between upstream and downstream countries, it would be beneficial if the countries could enhance their collaboration in assessing resource availability and joint planning to increase regional economic prosperity and security.

FutureDAMS aims to develop and enable new forms of analysis for the assessment of interventions, such as new infrastructure or management policies, in water-energy-food-environment (WEFE) systems and demonstrate their value by applying them with interdisciplinary teams and stakeholders. Core project tools include system-scale simulation of multi-region multi-sector resource systems, multi-criteria design, and accessible interactive web tools. Capability and capacity building is central to the project and is achieved through co-production of case-study models, online training materials, and events.

The Tigris Euphrates river basin case-study currently involves a group of UK-based researchers led by the University of Manchester Water Resources Group and Methods for Irrigation and Agriculture (MIRRA), a water and food management NGO in Jordan. The group is developing a river basin management simulation model of the Tigris Euphrates using the open-source ‘Python water resources’ (Pywr) model (see image below). Pywr can simulate development and water sharing scenarios between riparian countries and optimise inter-sectoral and inter-region benefits according to multiple environmental and socioeconomic criteria. The group is also building a power system model of the region as well, to examine the adoption of renewable energy, trading arrangements and more generally to explore water-energy interconnections. The models can be hosted and run online using new technologies, with the aim of reducing barriers to advanced and collaborative WEFE systems analysis.