UPSCAPE: Upscaling Catchment Processes in Peninsular India

Kaveri River

Lead PIs:

Dr Gwyn Rees (CEH), Prof. P.P. Mujumdar (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore)

Work Package Leaders:

Dr Virginie Keller (CEH), Dr D Lapworth (BGS), A McKenzie (BGS), Prof John Rowan (University of Dundee), Prof M Sekhar (IISc), Dr V Srinivasan (University of Dundee), Dr S Wani (ICRISAT) 


Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK; Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India; British Geological Survey, UK; University of Dundee, UK; Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore; ICRISAT Development Center, ICRISAT, Patancheru, India.



Research programme/Funding Scheme: 

Sustaining Water Resources for Food, Energy & Ecosystem Services (SWR) Programme

Start date:

01 April 2016

End Date:

31 March 2019


Rapid economic development and population growth have resulted in modifications to land-use and land-management and are seriously affecting the availability of water resources throughout India. Urbanization, deforestation, agricultural intensification, shifts between irrigated agriculture and rain-fed crops, and the proliferation of small-scale surface water storage interventions, such as farm-level bunds and check-dams all have contributed to significant changes in the hydrology of catchments and effected the flow regimes of the region’s rivers. The impact of such changes and interventions on local hydrological processes - on streamflow, groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration - have yet to be fully explored, and our understanding of how these changes cumulatively affect water availability at the broader basin-scale, is very limited. The project seeks to address the key scientific challenge of representing local, small-scale influences at larger scales. Focussing on the large inter-state Cauvery River basin, and using observations from established experimental catchments in both rural and urban settings, the project will explore how changes in land-use, land-cover, irrigation practices and small-scale water management interventions locally affect hydrological processes. It will then develop novel upscaling methods to represent the improved process-understanding in models at the larger sub-basin (Kabini, ~10,000km2) and basin (Cauvery, ~80,000km2) scales. In so doing, the project will seek to demonstrate the capability to generically represent the cumulative impact of abundant small-scale changes in basin-wide integrated water resources management models. The impact of local-scale interventions will further be modelled alongside projections of population growth, climate- and land-use-change and water demand to assess future impacts on water availability across the basin. 


Gwyn Rees (