Case Studies

Sustainable Management of Shallow Geothermal Energy

Ongoing [ETH Zürich and China Geological Survey]

Xiong’an New Area in Hebei province is being built as a model city for a sustainable lifestyle and a good quality of life in China. Sustainable heating and cooling of buildings through shallow geothermal heat exchangers is one aspect of it. However, the thermal use of groundwater adds stress to an aquifer which is already heavily under pressure from over-exploitation and deterioration of groundwater quality. The sustainability of the planned infrastructure of several hundreds of borehole heat exchangers needs to be carefully managed. We collaborate with ETH Zurich and the China Geological Survey to evaluate the current status of shallow geothermal energy management and to give suggestions as to how shallow geothermal energy can be managed sustainably for Xiong’an New Area. 

Mapping of Crops using Remote Sensing

Ongoing [various clients]

Crop type mapping at the field level is necessary for a variety of applications in agricultural monitoring and water resources management. Remote sensing imagery is a powerful input from which crop type maps can be created. hydrosolutions ltd is currently designing various apps that facilitate users with no or minimal background in remote sensing to access and use such data for their purposes. 

Estimation of River Discharge During Flood Events and Climate Change Impacts

Ongoing [supported by the Changjiang Water Resources Commission and FOEN]

hydrosolutions ltd is participating in a cooperative research project between China and Switzerland to develop mountain torrents disaster prevention and mitigation. The project objective is to conduct common research and to promote the safety of people's lives in the Guanshan watershed, Western Hubei province, which was chosen as the pilot study area for this project. The project is supported by the Changjiang Water Resources Commission (CWRC), as well as by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). hydrosolutions ltd has set up a rainfall-runoff model for the catchment which is used to calculate river flow during extreme events at any sensitive point along the river. As such, the model enables the establishment of flood hazard maps. Based on the model and the flood hazard maps, risk managers will design improved warning strategies and evacuation plans.

High-resolution Mapping of Irrigated Areas and their Changes at Planetary Scale

Ongoing [in collaboration with various stakeholders in Central Asia and Africa]

Precision mapping and monitoring of irrigated areas has gained in importance as irrigated areas are significantly increasing globally and as water resources are getting increasingly stressed. We have developed an unsupervised classification algorithm for planetary scale high-resolution mapping of irrigated land, including the computation of irrigation frequency and irrigation change intensities. 

Groundwater Data Assimilation for Better Water Resources Management

Ongoing [SDC supported]

In Luotuocheng, a former stronghold on the silk road in the Gobi Desert, ground- and surface water resources are unsustainably managed. Extensive agricultural development in the oasis has caused the groundwater level at the borders of the oasis to dwindle by dozens of meters and the terminal lake of the Heihe River to vanish.

Although there is a surface water canal serving the Luotuocheng irrigation district, the supply of surface water for irrigation purposes is inadequate and the farmers mainly rely on groundwater. With several local and Swiss project partners tools are implemented to monitor the groundwater abstraction rates, the groundwater levels, and the surface water delivery rates in real time. hydrosolutions ltd. is responsible for the real-time data assimilation of observed groundwater levels into a numerical groundwater model that can ultimately be used to inform sustainable management strategies on conjunctive water resources use.

Flood Prediction Modeling for Small Mountain River Catchments in China

ongoing [North-west Institute of Eco-environment and Resources, P.R. China]

Rainstorm flash floods are a common and serious phenomenon during the summer months in many hilly and mountainous regions of China. For this Project, hydrosolutions ltd. develops a modelling strategy for simulating flood events in small river basins of four Chinese provinces (Shanxi, Henan, Beijing, Fujian). The presented research is part of preliminary investigations for the development of a national operational model for predicting and forecasting hydrological extremes in basins of size 10 – 2000 square kilometers, whereas most of these basins are ungauged or poorly gauged. The project is supported by the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research within the framework of the national initiative for flood prediction and early warning system for mountainous regions in China (research program SHZH-IWHR-73).

Rehabilitation and Management Strategy for Over-Pumped Aquifers under a Changing Climate

ongoing [SDC supported]

The project, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, designs a management strategy to maintain or restore the drought mitigation potential of over-pumped aquifers. It assesses measures to establish a long-term balanced regional water budget by water imports and water saving and applies conjunctive use of precipitation, surface water and groundwater. The system is managed in real-time, based on real time monitoring of groundwater tables and pumping rates and controlling pumping wells via a quota system. Pilot regions are in the North China Plain and in the Heihe River Basin, China. hydrosolutions ltd. is the key Swiss Partner in the ETH Zurich led project.

iMoMo - Innovation Technologies for Monitoring, Modeling and Managing Water Resources

2011 - 2017 [SDC supported, in collaboration with FAO]

Advancements and innovations in low-cost open-innovation sensor and communication technology, in hard- and software integration as well as in modern data synthesis via mathematical modelling and visualisation open up new perspectives for more effective water resources management. This has the potential to benefit societies and the environment alike. Together with an international consortium of partners, hydrosolutions works to further these goals within the global iMoMo initiative where the company has the operational lead. Currently, the iMoMo initiative has several pilots ongoing globally, including in Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia in Eastern Africa and one in the transboundary Chu River Basin that is shared between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia. See also

GAP - Groundwater Assessment Platform

2014 - 2016 [in collaboration with EAWAG]

Roughly a third of the world’s population depends on groundwater for drinking and roughly 10 percent of wells are contaminated with the natural geogenic contaminants arsenic and fluoride that cause severe health effects, particularly in those with poor nutrition. The first step in any mitigation strategy is to determine the extent of the problem. EAWAG is leading an international initiative for developing and deploying GAP - the Groundwater Assessment Platform. It helps to identify regions at risk through state-of-the-art modelling techniques that will be deployed on the web. In this project, hydrosolutions ltd. provides expertise in the development of web business models as well as data input to the modelling task.

Climate Change and Impacts in Central Asia

2014 [in collaboration with World Bank]

Central Asia is an extraordinarily complex region from the hydro-climatological perspective. Large topographical gradients and variations in precipitation and temperature are found between the high mountain regions in the upstream of the Amu and Syr Darya and the steppes in the downstream. Most of the region has an arid climate, with strong seasonal and inter-annual precipitation and temperature variations. These large-amplitude year-to-year variations and associated implications for runoff and water availability in the region were one of the main reasons for the construction of a large number of surface reservoirs to help regulate flows of the Amu and Syr Darya. hydrosolutions ltd. has 10 years of extensive experience in the region and has performed a detailed assessment of 20th and 21st century climate change on behalf of the World Bank.

Implications of Hydro-Political Dependency for International Water Cooperation and Conflict: Insights from New Data

2014 [in collaboration with ETH Zurich]

Hydro-political dependencies between countries are widely regarded as having important implications for international water cooperation and conflict. Quantitative ex-post empirical research on the subject so far uses very simple characterizations of international river geography to proxy for such dependencies, though. Together with the authors of the study, hydrosolutions developed a new geo-spatial dataset for water catchments worldwide. This dataset combines elevation models, flow accumulation approaches, hydrological data, and data on international boundaries to generate more precise and nuanced measures of hydro-political dependencies among riparian countries. 

People’s Republic of China: Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change in Agricultural and Water Sectors

2012 / 2013

The project is an integrated study supported by the World Bank on climate change impacts and household adaptation mechanisms. hydrosolutions took the task from the World Bank to analyze the results of three World Bank studies in climate impacts of extremes, average climate trends and impacts on water and agriculture in China and survey of farm households’ climate adaption and bring them into an integrated report, which highlights the adaptation strategies and the associated economics of the recommended adaptation scenarios.


Modeling Groundwater and Ecological Response to the Ecological Releases to the Lower Tarim River, China

2013 / 2014

hydrosolutions' consulting service included data collection and data analysis of lower Tarim river basin for the SuMaRio project, using MODFLOW to model groundwater response of the lower Tarim River basin to the ecological releases, and using HydroGeoSphere to model two cross-sections of the lower Tarim river to show the reaction of plants to transpiration. Satellite remote sensing images were used for both models to map spatial vegetation information and identify the actual locations of river channel. The models were calibrated and validated with time series monitoring data of groundwater observation wells in the region. An additional task of the consulting service was to coordinate and communicate between Chinese and German scientists for data and information exchange within the SuMaRio project.

Review of Report on Palla Road Groundwater Modelling, Botswana


Water Resources Consultants (Pty) Ltd was commissioned by the Department Water Affairs in Botswana to execute consultancy services for the Post Auditing of the Palla Road and Chepete numerical groundwater model. The aim of this project is to collect, analyze and collate all available datasets as well to review and update the existing numerical model of the aquifer systems of the well field area, in order to assess the viability of long-term groundwater abstraction from aquifers of the project area considering increased demands. In addition, the scope also included the assessment of the available data stored in the Department of Affairs’ water database system.  hydrosolutions was hired to review WRC’s modeling work and to point out the advantages and drawbacks of the proposed groundwater model and for making suggestion to the Department of Water Affairs.

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