Tool for integrated Water Management; Herramienta para el Manejo Integral del Agua – HERMANA

Valle del Cauca in Colombia

To support a sustainable and equitable management of increasingly pressurised water resources, water authorities need to have access to up-to-date information on the availability, demand and use of these resources. However, up-to-date information on the availability and use of water resources is often scarce in Colombia. Moreover, this information is often dispersed, as it is contained in various reports, databases, private computers, and other locations that are not necessarily accessible to the professionals that need to take daily or periodic decisions.

This is also the case in the Department of the Cauca Valley, where the Corporación Autónoma Regional del Valle del Cauca (CVC) is responsible for the integrated management of water resources. CVC has a number of independent data feeds, models, and tools at their disposal; however, this information is often only available as static data in reports. Decisions are thus taken primarily based on such static (and often outdated) information, rather than on current data that are representative of the actual situation. CVC lacks a way to support water management decisions during periods of water scarcity and surplus, which may lead to poorly informed decision-making. CVC also needs tools to better assess and develop strategies for conjunctive water use, justify decisions made to water users, and improve stakeholder communication.

Incorporate information and  instruments in decision making process

In recent years, much more data, information, and many more tools have been made available for water resources management in the Cauca Valley. However, this information and these instruments are not yet incorporated in the decision-making process due to the difficulty to access these quite technical and often poorly integrated systems. To resolve these challenges, a tool for integrated water management (Herramienta para el Manejo Integral del Agua – HERMANA) is under development that integrates different types of data, information, models and tools. This includes:

·         Information from CVC’s institutional database, GeoCVC, including over 250 hydroclimatological stations and over 2,500 groundwater monitoring wells;

·         Real-time meteorological, hydrological, and water quality data and forecasts from FEWS-IDEAM (using Delft-FEWS, see Werner et al., 2013);

·         Surface water models (HBV, SOBEK), which are included in FEWS-IDEAM; and

Drought indicators based on satellite data from InfoSequía

HERMANA is a web-based water information tool to support integrated water management. HERMANA displays weather and water data, generates user-defined overviews, forecasts, and warnings tailored to the needs of water authorities and their stakeholders. The HERMANA dashboards are configured via the HydroNET Water Control Room applications in which different types of data, information, models and hydro-climatological tools are combined in order to support both tactical and strategic decision-making related to water resources in Colombia. At the time of publication, the system is also being expanded to incorporate results from a numerical groundwater flow model, iMOD, which has been incorporated into a Delft-FEWS system, called FEWS-ESCACES.


Data sources and technical components of HERMANA