One of the cross-basin exchange and learning tools used by the Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) is ‘Topic Working Groups’ on different issues of interest to all the Basins.

A new Topic Working Group has just been established on Modeling and Spatial Analysis, led by An Notenbaert (ILRI Nairobi) and Charlotte MacAlister (IWMI Addis).

Why the group?

Many modelers and spatial analysts engaged in the Mekong, Ganges, Andes, Volta, Limpopo and Nile basins are grappling with similar issues: how do we get hold of and share quality information, how do we integrate bio-physical and socio-economic data, what are the best methods to fill data gaps and move across scales, how do we link different models and build feed-back loops…?

Informal discussions and ad-hoc data exchange have already added value to the development of conceptual frameworks and the initial implementation of basin level analyses. With a little extra effort and resources, these issues could be taken to the next level. We want to continue to share information, compare methods, examine and critically appraise each other’s work. We therefore propose to establish a Topic Working Group focusing on biophysical and spatial modeling.

The Group will kick-off with a meeting later this year in the Blue Nile. We envision an initial field visit followed by in-depth cross-basin discussions on issues of common interest, possibly with input from invited experts from our wider research and development networks. In this first get together we’ll focus on hydrological models, optimization and spatial analysis. Whilst we don’t intend to streamline approaches across basins, we hope to cross-fertilize and learn from each others’ varied experiences in the different basin contexts.