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Water Management
and Climate Change

The Jinsha River Basin in China:
on the way to a success story

Learn more about the impacts of climate change and socio-economic development on water resources. And how useful tools and products pave the way to a thorough planning of adaptation measures which will contribute to the sustainable long-term development of a region. Explore the Sino-Swiss Jinsha River Basin project in China.

Tools and Products

Project Background

The Yangtze River Basin is the socio-economic powerhouse of China. The upper reach of the Yangtze River is called Jinsha River. In the last 2-3 decades, the Jinsha River Basin has experienced warmer temperatures and increasing extreme events such as flooding and drought, causing significant economic loss. At the same time, different sectors and stakeholders are very sensitive to water issues and climate change: Industry, residential areas, hydropower, agriculture, ecosystems and tourism.

A Sino-Swiss cooperation project

To build a solid foundation to improve the overall water resource management in the Jinsha River Basin and to adapt successfully to climate change and socio-economic development, Switzerland and China have launched this project. Lijiang, located in the north-western part of Yunnan Province, serves as a pilot region where the current water situation and their trends are analyzed. Switzerland and China have been cooperating for over ten years in the areas of water management and climate change. Both countries are severely affected by the impacts of climate change on water resources.

Use the map and find out more about the Jinsha River Basin and its challenges!

  • Yangtze
  • Jinsha River Basin

Jinsha River

The Jinsha River has its source in the Tibetan Plateau and runs mainly through Qinghai, Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in the south-west of China. The Jinsha River drains 26% of the total catchment area of Yangtze River.

Yangtze River

With its 6,000+ km, the Yangtze River is the longest river in China and the third longest in the world. Its basin covers an area of 1.7 million km2, encompassing about one fifth of China’s total territory.

Jinsha River Basin

In the Jinsha River Basin the local water regime is greatly influenced by glacier and snow melt runoff and climatic variability. In recent years, extreme events like floods and droughts have increased. Climate change has significant impact on water resources and biological diversity.

Lijiang

Lijiang City, pilot region of the project, has experienced increasing water crises in the last 2-3 decades: Spring water ponds and river courses have started to dry up. The degradation of the riverine ecology is increasing. At the same time, the demand for water, especially in agriculture and tourism, is growing.

Objectives

The long-term project objective consists of the improvement of the integrated water resources management for the Jinsha River Basin under conditions of changing climate and social-economic development. Therefore, it will be effective in protecting life and assets, ensuring water security in the region, contributing to the sustainable development of the Chinese economy, and to a source of learning for global water and climate change discussion.

The main purpose of this initial three year project phase is to create a foundation of integrated water management tools and products in this region for the future. Therefore, the main objectives are to:

    • Substantially improve knowledge of water dynamics and aquatic ecosystems in the Jinsha River Basin;
    • Identify impacts of climate change on water resources and extreme events;
    • Develop adaptation strategies and measures for water resources and extreme events considering aquatic ecosystems;
    • Exchange knowledge and expertise on water resources management and climate change adaptation between Chinese and Swiss experts, and disseminate to the international community.

Sectors and Stakeholders

In the Jinsha River Basin different sectors and stakeholders are affected by climate and socio-economic change. Today, all these sectors and stakeholders strongly depend on water. The Jinsha River Basin Project aims at a sustainable balance between water supply and demand in the future for these sectors.

Residential areas

Residential areas

Urbanization and population growth are a strong trend in China and in the Jinsha River Basin. The increasing number of urban dwellers leads to a higher water demand and consumption. Proper and sustainable management of water supply and demand will ease tensions and conflicts in the future.

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Agriculture

Agriculture

The region maintains a strong agricultural focus. Tobacco is the main export product, mainly in Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces. The livelihood of the majority of the rural population is highly dependent on agriculture and thus vulnerable to the effects of droughts and floods. Given the high demand on water for traditional irrigation, this project will indirectly affect their well-being and vulnerability.

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Hydropower

Hydropower

Massive investments in hydropower are planned and implemented by the Chinese government in this region. 42 cascade hydropower stations are planned and partly constructed in the Jinsha River Basin along the main stream and the Yalong river, which will influence the hydrology of the entire basin. Some trends predict less water in the future, thus electricity production is expected to decrease. The project will contribute to an optimization of the operational management of the hydropower reservoirs that matches the needs of all water pillars.

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Ecosystem

Ecosystem

Humankind benefits in many ways from ecosystems. Ecosystems in the region ensure important services such as flood mitigation, water purification, fish habitats as well as recreational and cultural functions. Changes in temperature and precipitation will largely affect ecosystems which will result in adverse impacts on human beings. Appropriate water resource management will help to prevent that.

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Industry

Industry

The main manufacturing industries are heavy industries such as coal, iron, steel and copper production. These industries are growing fast. Their production depends heavily on water. Appropriate water resource management can secure the water supply for those users, and on the other hand, manage the risk associated with water pollution, which is critical for other water users.

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Tourism

Tourism

Tourism is a growing business sector in the Jinsha River Basin, especially in the Lijiang area where the ancient town has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Higher water demand for tourism is expected in the future. The project aims to achieve a sustainable future balance between water supply and demand in the region.

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Tools and Products

To foster integrated water management, we improved the knowledge of water characteristics, extreme events and aquatic ecosystems in the Jinsha River Basin substantially. With this as a baseline, we identified impacts of climate change and socio-economic development on water resources and extreme events. As a third step, we worked out adaptation strategies and measures. Explore our tools and products!

Know more about Water Characteristics, Extreme Events and Aquatic Ecosystems

Know more about Water Characteristics, Extreme Events and Aquatic Ecosystems

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Predict Runoff, Prevent Flooding: A Forecasting Model

Predict Runoff, Prevent Flooding: A Forecasting Model

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Water Supply and Demand: An Evaluation and Planning Tool

Water Supply and Demand: An Evaluation and Planning Tool

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Glacier and Snow Melt Monitoring Capability Improved

Glacier and Snow Melt Monitoring Capability Improved

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Impacts of Climate Change on Water Supply and Extreme Events

Impacts of Climate Change on Water Supply and Extreme Events

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Adaptation Strategies and Measures for the Future

Adaptation Strategies and Measures for the Future

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Conferences and Publications

Are you interested in knowing more about the Jinsha River Basin Project? Check out the presentations of the conferences about the project or read our publications:

Conferences

  • InterPraevent International Conference,
    June 2016, Lucerne, Switzerland
  • 7th Sino-Swiss High-Level Dialogue on Water Management,
    August 2016, Beijing, China
  • JRB Mid-term Conference,
    November 2016, Lijiang, China
  • 9th International Perspective on Water Resources and the Environment Conference,
    January 2017 Wuhan, China

Publications

  • Hydrology and Earth System Science,
    January 2017; Use of a representative meteorological drought index to detect historical events in the Lower Jinsha River Basin (China); CREALP, e-dric.ch, Geotest, CRSRI
  • Movie about the project

Project partners

Jinsha River Basin project is a Sino-Swiss cooperation involving the public and private sectors of both countries.

Sino-Swiss Steering Committee
Chinese Partners
Swiss Partners

Contacts

Imprint

Concept, Content & Webdesign
EBP Schweiz AG
Cornelia Büttner + Monika Rohner
Zollikerstrasse 65
CH-8702 Zollikon
kommunikation@ebp.ch
www.ebp-kommunikation.ch

Technical implementation
Odoson
Robert Baumgartner
Carrer d’Ali Bei 7, 2-2
ES-08010 Barcelona
hello@odoson.com
www.odoson.com

Copyright
© 2017 EBP

Liability limitations
The content of this website was created with reasonable care. However, EBP Schweiz AG does not guarantee the accuracy of information from third parties. Links to other websites are not under the control of EBP Schweiz AG.

Know more about Water Characteristics, Extreme Events and Aquatic Ecosystems

As a fundamental basis for integrated water management, knowledge about water characteristics, water-related natural extreme events and aquatic ecosystem in the Jinsha River Basin is crucial. We improved this knowledge substantially.

Better knowledge of hydro-meteorological characteristics

We collected and analyzed the hydro-meteorological data for the region from the last 50 years in order to gain a better understanding of the water characteristics under different climate conditions in the past. In particular, we compiled and analyzed daily meteorological data (precipitation, minimum, average and maximum temperature) of 45 stations (31 of which were within the basin) and data from 5 hydrological stations (daily discharges).

The legendary first bend of Yangtze River near Shigu in Yunnan Province.

An important aspect of this work has been the elaboration of the HydroAnalysis package, a structured R-tool developed specifically for the project to apply different data analyses: basic statistics calculation, frequency, trends and drought analyses.

In general, we identified no trends in the duration, magnitude or intensity of short, medium and long term drought events. However, a certain increasing trend in the number of rainy days per year has been detected for some of the stations in the upper part of the Jinsha River Basin, and a reducing trend in stations in the lower part.

Overview of historical extreme events

Water-related natural extreme events can strongly influence water resource management. The occurrence, magnitude and consequences of such events have to be analyzed and understood in order to create a foundation for a thorough planning of adaptation measures and the long-term development of the region. For this, we developed a web-based natural hazard event registration platform for the Jinsha River Region. It can be used for both event data registration or browsing registered events. Collected data and information for about 60 events of different natural disaster types (floods, droughts, debris flows and landslides) have so far been registered in this platform, including information sources, affected areas, duration, spatial and temporal distribution, damage and financial loss.

We have set up a database for extreme events to record severe floodings like the ones in China in July 2016

Check out the results of the study: Factsheet Understanding the Characteristics of Historical Extreme Events

Analysis of aquatic ecosystems

In recent years, the aquatic ecosystem of the Jinsha River has experienced significant changes due to the construction of hydropower stations. Furthermore, coldwater fish species which are widely distributed in the Jinsha River will be increasingly under pressure due to climate change. Therefore, research has been carried out with a special focus on the fish communities and habitats. The results provide detailed information on the diversity of aquatic organisms, current ecosystem health levels and the vulnerability of the aquatic ecosystem, indicating needs for ecosystem protection and restoration.

The current condition of the aquatic ecosystem in the Jinsha River has been analyzed in order to provide information about the phytoplankton, zooplankton, zoobenthos and – with a special focus – the fish. The quality of fish habitats in different river sections was assessed by using a Fish Index of Biological Integrity (IBI).

The results show that today’s aquatic ecosystems in the area manifest high biodiversity. However, coldwater fish species are very sensitive to climate change and impacts of hydropower. Thus, sustainable adaptation and protection measures in the Jinsha River Basin need to be implemented.

In the Jinsha River Basin, coldwater fish species are very sensitive to climate change and the impacts of hydropower.

Check out the results of the study: Factsheet Overview of Aquatic Ecosystem in Jinsha River

Predict Runoff, Prevent Flooding: A Forecasting Model

In the past and future decades, numerous hydropower reservoirs have been and will be built in the Jinsha River Basin. As part of the analysis of the water characteristics of the region, we elaborated a hydro-meteorological forecasting model in which the large reservoirs are integrated.

With respect to the runoff prediction and flood prevention requirements, we established a hydro-meteorological forecasting model. The model has been incorporated into the existing forecasting system of the Changjiang Water Resources Commission (CWRC). The results can provide data reference and a decision-making basis for CWRC to command flood prevention, and hence enhance the commission’s capability in terms of runoff prediction and flood prevention management.

We included data from almost 400 rainfall gauging stations, over 70 discharge gauging stations and a dozen large reservoirs in the model. Real-time transfer of weather forecasting data from the Weather Research and Forecasting Model and the Bureau of Hydrology at CWRC to the database has been programmed. The so-called Routing System model is used for the entire Jinsha River, covering more than fifty forecasting points.

Runoff forecasts in different regions of the Jinsha River Basin are therefore possible, and operation of the reservoirs included can be optimized. Results from model runs will also be used to estimate impacts of climate change on the future water resource and hydropower production in the region.

Hydro-meteorological gauging station at Er Lake near Dali, as part of the forecasting system.

Check out the results of the study: Factsheet Hydro-meteorological Forecasting Model

Water Supply and Demand: An Evaluation and Planning Tool

Lijiang municipality is a fast-developing region in the Jinsha River Basin. A case study has addressed the challenges of water resources management in each town of Lijiang. Based on a water allocation model, the analysis and results give a detailed picture of the current and future water supply and demand situation of Lijiang, and indicate the needs for integrated water management measures.

The water allocation model reproduces the water supply and consumption status in Lijiang. This provides a fundamental basis for the future water resources planning for Lijiang.

In the model, we included more than sixty water supply infrastructures such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and about 270 water demand sites including agriculture, industry and drinking water.

With help of the model, future socio-economic and demographic trends can be assessed. Thus, a solid basis is given to the local authorities for sustainable decision-making regarding water resources management in the future.

The model could be duplicated to be used for other regions or cities in China.

A sequence of the water supply channel and irrigation system in Lijiang. Our work and studies will help to improve the water management system.

Check out the results of the study: Factsheet Water Resources Management in Lijiang

Glacier and Snow Melt Monitoring Capability Improved

Glaciers and seasonal snow cover in the Jinsha River Basin are important components of the water cycle. Therefore, the investigation of their current situation and changes is of high relevance.

Terrestrial glacier monitoring and satellite-based snow cover monitoring will improve the understanding of the status and dynamics of different factors such as snow melt, glacier melt, droughts, floods, and their impacts on the water resources in the region.

To increase climate change detection capability, we designed enhanced monitoring equipment for Yulong Snow Mountain. By using this equipment, the glacier monitoring capability will be significantly improved. Operation of the automatic glacier monitoring station can greatly reduce the manual measurement workload and improve monitoring efficiency.

Furthermore, we created a Snowmelt Runoff Model to analyze changes in snow cover of different altitudinal zones.

The two monitoring systems are important tools for the research team to record changes in glacier and snow melt, and to deliver true evidence for the public to understand climate change.

We designed and installed enhanced glacier monitoring equipment for Yulong Snow Mountain, to increase detection capability of climate change.

Check out the results of the study: Factsheet Snow and Glacier Monitoring System

Impacts of Climate Change on Water Supply and Extreme Events

What are the impacts of climate change on water supply and extreme events in the Jinsha River Basin? We analyzed these impacts based on climate change scenarios for temperature and precipitation. Water characteristics which we elaborated earlier served as a baseline.

Climate change scenarios

Scenarios describing expected climate change in the Jinsha River Basin are of critical importance to understand how climate change affects the sustainable use of water resources and extreme events such as floods and droughts. Based on a multiple general circulation model (GCM) and two statistical downscaling methods, we elaborated a set of climate change scenarios for temperature and precipitation covering the near and far future, and two greenhouse gas emission scenarios.

For the southern part of the region a temperature rise of 1 – 2°C in the near future and 1.5 – 5°C in the far future is expected. Whereas the trend towards higher temperatures is unambiguous, the precipitation trend is more uncertain. Most climate change scenarios show an increase in precipitation for the northern and middle part of the Jinsha River Basin, whereas the change for the southern part of the region is uncertain.

Check out the results of the study: Factsheet Climate Change Scenarios

Impacts on different sectors and stakeholders

For the entire Jinsha River Basin, we analyzed impacts of each climate change scenario on sectors like hydropower (e.g. electricity production), agriculture (e.g. crop suitability) and aquatic ecosystems (e.g. fish habitat quality). The impact assessment included extreme events (e.g. flood frequency, flood intensity, flash floods, agricultural and hydrological drought). Additionally, we have studied the impacts on industry, residential areas/tourism and agriculture for the Lijiang area, by analyzing water balance, identifying water deficits and considering future socio-economic trends.

Opportunities and challenges due to climate change have been identified and form the basis for adaptation strategies and measures.

Lijiang has experienced increasing water crises in the last 2-3 decades. River courses and ponds such as Black Dragon Pond have started to dry up.

Check out the results of the study:

Adaptation Strategies and Measures for the Future

Based on our analysis of the impacts of climate change and socio-economic development on water supply and extreme events in Jinsha River Basin, we will develop and assess adaptation strategies and measures to water resources management, flood control and drought relief.

了解更多关于水资源特征、极端气候事件和水生态系统的信息

了解金沙江流域的水资源特征、与水资源相关的自然极端气候事件和水生态系统是至关重要的,这是进行水资源综合管理的基础。我们充分增进了对这方面的了解。

更好地了解水文气象特征

我们收集分析了该地区过去50年内的水文气象资料,通过整理分析了45个国家气象站(其中31个位于流域)的气象要素(降水,最高、最低和平均温度)以及5个水文站的流量资料(日均流量),可以更好地了解过去不同气候状况下的水资源特征。

传说的长江第一道弯,位于云南省石鼓镇附近。

这项工作的一个重要方面就是编制HydroAnalysis软件包,这是一个结构化的R-tool,专为该项目进行不同气象水文资料分析而研发:基本统计特征、频率、趋势和干旱分析。

总体而言,短期、中期和长期干旱事件的持续时间、强度大小没有明显的变化趋势。但是,我们发现位于金沙江流域上游一些站点的有雨日天数呈增加趋势,而位于下游流域的站点呈现减少趋势。

历史极端气候事件概述

与水资源相关的自然极端气候事件会对水资源管理造成强烈影响。为了给该地区的适应性措施和长期发展规划奠定基础,必须分析、了解此类事件的发生、严重程度和后果。因此,我们在金沙江流域建立一个自然灾害事件登记的网络平台。该平台可以用来录入极端事件信息或浏览已录入的事件。目前为止,该平台已录入了大约60个不同的自然灾害事件(洪水、干旱、泥石流和山体滑坡)的资料和信息,包括信息源、受灾地区、持续时间、空间与时间分布、损害和经济损失。

我们已建立了一个极端气候事件数据库,以记录严重的洪水泛滥事件,如20167月中国所发生的洪灾。

查看研究结果:宣传页 了解历史极端气候事件的特征

水生态系统分析

近年来,由于水电站的建设,金沙江水生态系统已发生了重大变化。此外,由于气候变化,广泛生长于金沙江的冷水鱼类将会面临很大的生存压力。因此,项目开展了针对鱼类种群和栖息地的研究。

研究结果提供了关于水生生物的多样性、生态系统的健康水平现状和水生态系统的脆弱性的详细信息,结果表明生态系统需要保护和恢复。

为了获取关于浮游植物、浮游动物和底栖动物(尤其是鱼类)的信息,项目组对金沙江水生态系统的现状进行了分析。利用鱼的生物完整性指数(IBI)来评估不同河段的鱼类栖息地质量。

结果表明,该地区现状水生态系统有很高的生物多样性。然而,冷水鱼类对气候变化和水电站的影响十分敏感。因此,在金沙江流域需要实施可持续的适应及保护措施。

在金沙江流域,冷水鱼类对气候变化和水电站的影响十分敏感。

查看研究结果:宣传页 金沙江水生态系统概况

预测径流,预防洪水:预测模型

在过去及未来的数十年内,金沙江流域已建且规划建设多座水电站和水库。作为流域水文情势特征分析内容的一部分,我们建立水文气象预报模型,模型中考虑了大型水库的建设。

考虑径流预报和防洪需求,我们建立了一个水文气象预测模型。该模型已接入了长江水利委员会已有的水文预报系统。其结果可为长江水利委员会指挥防洪提供参考和决策依据,从而提高长江委在径流预测和防洪管理方面的能力。

本模型中的数据来自于近400个雨量站、70多个流量站和12个大型水库的实测数据。模型可以通过从已有气象预报模型和水文局实时传送气象预报数据。水文预报模型可以用于整个金沙江,覆盖了五十多个预测点。

因此,在金沙江流域不同地区进行径流预报是可行的,水库的运行方式也可以得到优化。模型模拟结果也将被用来估计气候变化对该地区水资源和水力发电的影响。

大理附近的洱海气象水文测量站,是预报系统的一部分。

查看研究结果:宣传页 水文气象预测模型

水资源供需平衡:评估和规划工具

丽江市是金沙江流域一个飞速发展的城市。项目以丽江为试点进行水资源供需研究,以应对丽江在水资源管理方面所面临的挑战。基于水量配置模型,分析丽江现状和未来的水资源供需平衡情况,结果表明采取水资源综合管理措施是十分必要的。

水量配置模型再现了丽江的水资源供需状况,从而为丽江未来的水资源规划提供了基本依据。

该模型考虑了六十多座供水工程,如河流、湖泊、水库,以及约270个用水需求点,涉及农业、工业和生活用水。

使用该模型可对未来的社会经济发展和人口变化趋势进行评估,从而为当地水管理部门在未来的水资源管理中实施可持续决策奠定坚实的基础。

该模型亦可用于中国其他地区或城市。

丽江的一系列供水渠道和灌溉系统。我们的工作及研究有助于改善水资源管理系统。

查看研究结果:宣传页 丽江水资源管理

提高冰川融雪监测能力

金沙江流域的冰川和积雪层是水循环的重要组成部分。因此,对其现状和变化情况进行调研十分重要。

地面监测和通过监测积雪覆盖情况的遥感监测,可以增进我们对不同因素的状况和动态的了解,如积雪融化、冰川融化、干旱、洪涝,及其对该地区水资源的影响。

为了提高气候变化监测能力,我们为玉龙雪山设计了自动监测设备,该设备的使用将能显著提高玉龙雪山冰川监测能力。自动冰川监测设备能极大地减少人工测量的工作量,提高监测效率。

此外,我们还建立了融雪径流模型,以分析不同海拔区域的积雪层变化。

这两个监测系统是项目组记录冰川和积雪融化变化情况的重要工具,同时也为公众了解气候变化提供确凿的证据。

我们为玉龙雪山设计并安装了自动监测设备,以提高对气候变化的监测能力。

查看研究结果:宣传页 积雪与冰川监测系统

气候变化对供水与极端水文事件的影响

气候变化对金沙江流域供水与极端水文事件造成了什么影响?基于气候变化情景的气温和降水进行影响分析,并以先前所阐述的水资源特征作为基准。

气候变化情景

分析金沙江流域未来可能的气候变化情况,对了解气候变化如何影响水资源的可持续利用及极端水文事件(如洪水和干旱)至关重要。根据多个大气环流模型(GCM)和两种降尺度统计方法,生成近期和远期涵盖气温和降水的一系列气候变化情景以及2组温室气体排放情景。

经预测,金沙江流域南部的气温在近期会上升1-2℃,在远期会上升1.5-5℃。虽然升温趋势明显,但是降水趋势不明显。大多数气候情景显示,金沙江流域的北部和中部降水会增加,但该地区南部的变化尚不明确。

查看研究结果:宣传页 气候变化情景

对不同行业及利益相关者的影响

我们分析了气候变化对整个金沙江流域不同行业如水电(例如发电)、农业(例如作物生长适宜性)和水生态系统(例如鱼类栖息地质量)的影响。该影响评估还包括极端气候事件(例如洪水频率、强度、山洪、农业和水文干旱等)。此外,我们通过考虑未来的社会经济趋势分析水量平衡、确定缺水量,从而研究气候变化对丽江地区工业、生活/旅游业和农业的影响。

目前已识别气候变化所带来的机遇与挑战,为提出适应策略和措施奠定基础。

丽江在过去的二三十年内面临着日益严峻的水危机。河道和水潭,如黑龙潭,已经开始干涸。

查看研究结果:

未来的适应性策略和措施

根据气候变化和社会经济发展对金沙江水资源供给和极端气候事件影响的分析,我们将会制定并评估适应策略,以及水资源管理、防洪抗旱措施。