Twinning European and South Asian River basins to enhance capacity and implement adaptive integrated water resources management approaches


BRAHMATWINN addresses likely climate change impacts triggered by rising temperatures and the alteration of precipitation regimes, on the snow and glacier melt driven hydrology and water balance of river basins with headwaters in alpine mountain massifs. The project elaborates on the consequential vulnerability of present IWRM and river basin management that have been persistent in these basins during the past decades and develops tested approaches and technologies for adaptive IWRM and resilience. Such snow melt driven river basins and their respective mountain massifs have a global distribution and consequently the objectives and findings of BRAHMATWINN have a global dimension as well. It furthermore contributes to conflict disputes by providing scientifically based, reproducible IWRM information and analysis toolsets to the negotiating parties.

BRAHMATWINN has many innovative scientific, methodical, technological and managerial aspects studied and developed in the twinning European and Asian basins. They are explored by interdisciplinary collaboration that combines scientists from systems analyses, socio-economy, water law and policy, natural sciences, engineering and computer sciences and comprises the innovative potential of the project.

Overall objective

The overall objective of BRAHMATWINN is to enhance and improve capacity to carry out a harmonised integrated water resources management (IWRM) approach as addressed by the European Water Initiative (EUWI) in headwater river systems of alpine mountain massifs in respect to impacts from likely climate change, and to transfer professional IWRM expertise, approaches and tools based on case studies carried out in twinning European and Asian river basins. The overall objective will be achieved by (i) addressing such impacts for water-soil resources management in macro-scale trans-boundary basins having significant water storage in snow and glacier covered alpine mountain headwaters, (ii) develop and apply integrated assessment approaches and establish an Integrated Water Resources Management System (IWRMS) toolset by compiling tested European approaches and tools to water resources management as well as regional expertise and experience, and (iii) thereby disseminate and contribute to the capacity building and implementation of harmonised IWRM plans within the twinning basins. The IWRMS toolset will by applied as a means to develop, evaluate and implement adaptive IWRM/river basin management options for mitigation of likely impacts climate change on a national and trans-boundary river basin level.

In realizing the overall objective holistic case studies are carried out in two twinning macro-scale basins: (1) Upper Danube River Basin (UDRB) in Europe, and (2) Upper Brahmaputra River Basin (UBRB) in Southeast Asia. By means of innovative technologies applying integrated approaches, techniques, and experiences gained from former and ongoing EU-projects, and by cooperation within the DANUBE-IHP initiative, the GLOWA-Danube project, the GWP and FRIEND initiatives social and natural scientists, engineers, and stakeholders (GO, NGO, SME) from Europe and Asia will jointly elaborate on the following IWRM related general objectives (GOB) in the twinning basins:

[1] Comprehensive assessment of the present basin systems and change detection of their natural environments (NE) and its human dimensions (HD) by a set of recognized IWRM indicators.

[2] Analyses of driving forces, pressures, state, impact, and response1 of system components

assessed in GOB_1 regarding the vulnerability to impact by climate change in adherent “what-if?” scenarios.

[3] Transfer and adaptation of professional expertise of integrated and tested holistic approaches and technologies (DANUBIA macro-scale hydrological model; RBIS; NETSYMOD ) developed in the UDRB or in EU funded research projects and transferred to the monsoonal climate of the transboundary UBRB.

[4] Development and implementation of adaptive IWRM options for mitigation of climate change and anthropogenic impacts in alpine macro-scale river basins by means of a IWRM system (IWRMS) toolset, taking into account the uncertainty of future climate change related “what–if?” scenarios.

For more information see the project webpages at