Water towers for food production

Runoff from mountain areas have high significance for lowland hydrology and water resources. Therefore, mountains are also called “water towers”.  Mountain runoff is especially important for irrigated agriculture downstream, which is the biggest user of water resources worldwide. For this reason, the project aims to quantify contribution of mountain runoff to lowland irrigation and food production under global change.

First, a framework to quantify the contribution of mountain runoff to low land irrigation and food production will be developed on the basis of a global hydrological model, a global glacier model and a crop growth model. Then, a few study basins will be used to conduct an in-depth analysis using the developed framework. This involves assessing the importance of mountain runoff for irrigated agriculture and food production under present conditions as well as selected future scenarios of socio-economic development and greenhouse gas emissions.

Contact: Sarah Hanus

Supervisors: PD Dr. Daniel Viviroli (daniel.viviroli@geo.uzh.ch)

Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jan Seibert (jan.seibert@geo.uzh.ch)