20.09.2015 - Natural Sciences Sector

Soil & Water: workshops to improve land and water management

The Soil & Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a river basin scale model developed to quantify the impact of land management practices in large, complex watersheds. SWAT is a public domain model actively supported by the USDA Agricultural ResearcService at the Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory in Temple, Texas, USA. It is a hydrology model with the following components: weather, surface runoff, return flow, percolation, evapo-transpiration, transmission losses, pond and reservoir storage, crop growth and irrigation, groundwater flow, reach routing, nutrient and pesticide loading, and water transfer. SWAT can be considered a watershed hydrological transport model. This model is used worldwide and is continuously under development. As of July 2012, more than 1000 peer-reviewed articles have been published that document its various applications.

Two training workshops took place before the OpenWater 2015 symposium, in the framework of the HOPE Initiative. The first one was the QSWAT / QGIS Interface for Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) training on 14-15, September 2015. Twenty-four (5 women and 19 males) participants from nine nationalities attended the Capacity training workshop which was about 1 day of theory (with some hands on).

The course was designed to introduce new users to the model, review necessary and optional inputs, and familiarize the user with the QGIS interfaces. It was assumed that attendees have a working knowledge of QGIS. The workshop did not review basic concepts on QGIS usage prior to covering the SWAT/QGIS interface.

The second workshop, entitled “AquaCrop training”, took place on 15 September, 2015. To disseminate the use of AquaCrop, a workshop on “Capacity Development for Farm Management Strategies to Improve Crop-Water Productivity using AquaCrop” have been planned as a joint initiative of UNESCO-IHE and UNESCO, in collaboration with local partners (e.g. ILRI campus, IWMI in Addis).

The objective of the workshops is to train participants from various regions in Africa in the practical applications of AquaCrop, in order to improve their skills in strategic management toward increasing crop water productivity in rainfed and irrigated production systems.

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