Madrid, 4 June 2020.- Fundación Canal joins the commemoration of World Environment Day tomorrow on 5 June 2020, by holding a virtual event today. In a webinar format, the meeting started with the presentation of a research study on good practices related to extreme hydrological events, followed by a round table discussion with the participation of professionals from the sector.
Marta Soriano, Deputy Director of Water Resources and Supply Planning. Canal de Isabel II, the first to speak, has highlighted "the importance of the study to understand the interannual irregularities at hydrological level, both in dry and humid cycles, to be able to optimally manage the resources and the supply".
She also discussed how Canal de Isabel II has worked on a strategic plan until 2030, “the main goal of which is to guarantee water supply in view of the possible effects of climate change, as well as anticipating these extreme events that jeopardize it". Ms. Soriano concluded by commenting that, through the good practices presented in the study, the most appropriate methodology for these effects can be applied.
Fundación Canal's study, entitled "Extreme Hydrological Events and Climate Change: Best Modelling Practices", presents a selection of good practices in drought and flood modelling, and has been designed to support hydrology and water resource specialists who provide information to decision-makers at different levels of government or the private sector: Hydrographic Confederations, water operators, electricity companies, regional and local government, technology service providers, technical assistance providers and other groups. These practices are shared to bridge the gap that usually exists between the world of research and professional practice, in terms of hydrological planning, water resources management, research and technological development.
The study was carried out by Luis Garrote and Álvaro Sordo-Ward, researchers at the Civil Engineering School of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, with the participation of the Planning, Water Resources and Supply Sub-directorate of Canal de Isabel II.
The researchers have presented a collection of good practices in the analysis of the effects of climate change, with special emphasis on the modelling of hydrological extremes. This analysis has been motivated by the need to incorporate the effects of climate change into the management of water resource systems, in its dual aspect of drought and flood risk management.
Luis Garrote highlighted the difficulty of detecting extreme events and for this "the analysis methodologies included in the study and the calculation tools are fundamental, as well as specific techniques and data sources".
He commented that "the methodology used in the study was based on bibliographic sources, a total of the 150 most notable, classified into categories, from which the following 12 good practices were identified and selected".
Garrote concluded his speech, and reviewed the study, recalling that studies on extreme and harmful events to society are few, and they are extremely important for making decisions. "We are not taking advantage of the great analytical potential that exists so that society can benefit from all this scientific activity".
For his part, Álvaro Sordo, co-author of the study, answered some questions from the audience who were following the webinar live. He also pointed out the importance of this study as it is published in Spanish, because less than 2 % of scientific publications in this field are in Spanish. Sordo passed on a series of questions to Garrote, who stated that "the long-time frames of climate models, and their corresponding uncertainties, must not paralyse the planner. Society changes much faster than the climate does. It is essential to manage this climate uncertainty and take appropriate action across a wide range of climate identification".
Then, and in line with the theme of World Environment Day 2020 (“Time for Nature”), a roundtable discussion “Water, biodiversity and climate change” took place. Climate change and increased extreme weather cause habitat loss and degradation. Therefore, the warming of the seas is melting sea ice and the acidification of the oceans is bleaching the coral reefs. One estimate suggests that one in six species could be at risk of extinction by 2050 if the global temperature continues to rise. For this reason, it is essential to keep these in mind if emissions mitigation is to continue in earnest.
The round table was made up by Jaime Sánchez, Director General of Sustainability and Climate Change of the Regional Ministry for the Environment, Regional Planning and Sustainability of the Autonomous Community of Madrid; Fernando Magdaleno, Area Coordinator in the General Directorate of Water of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITERD, for its Spanish acronym); Jesús Serrada, Head of the Conservation, Monitoring and Network Programs Area of MITERD; and Carlos Montes, Senior Professor of Ecology at the Autonomous University of Madrid, who moderated the discussion. As the most relevant topics presented, it is worth highlighting the importance of water and natural ecosystems such as coastal wetlands for climate protection; the restoration of ecosystems as contemplated in the European Biodiversity Strategy; the "sponge cities" or restoration of gravel pits as a reference for adaptation to climate change; the use of European funding; the union of knowledge areas for decision making; the multiple initiatives in Madrid linked to air quality.
Jesús Serrada: "In the face of extreme events our natural environment is offering us basic services on a daily basis, while at the same time providing us with regulation services". "Biodiversity is diminishing due to climate change and other added effects that have a particular impact on the survival of species.
Fernando Magdaleno: "The key is how we manage the land, which is a dynamic element. Action without excuses is needed because we have the capacity and knowledge to do so, from governments, organisations and citizens themselves".
Jaime Sanchez: "Today we are much better prepared to detect both threats and opportunities and to make decisions than we were a few years ago”. "We must be clear about the difference between expert knowledge and information; from knowledge we must gather the best information to be able to make the right decisions". "To have medium and long term planning it is essential that science, technology, planning and management are coordinated in the best possible way to obtain the revenues that society needs for today and tomorrow".
The entire event, followed by over 550 people, was hosted by Jacob Petrus, climatologist, environmentalist and well-known TV presenter ("Aquí la Tierra" on La 2).