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High-Level Panel: "Digital Twins" of River Basins

Thursday, 24 August 2023

As water shortages emerge in many parts of the globe, providing sufficient water resources for human consumption, agriculture and industry is becoming an increasingly difficult challenge. At the same time flood intensities, frequencies and related risks are likely to continuously increase due to climate-change and land use development. Not surprisingly, water managers are facing increasing pressure to make fast and precise, data-based decisions with growing stakes expressed as direct impacts on national economies and public safety. This calls for a change in the water management paradigm, shifting from a frequently slow, bureaucratic, and politically driven process to a fast, responsive and proactive, data driven process.

“Digital Twins” could play a central role in this shift providing state of the art tools which, at the fingertips of the stakeholders, allow analysis of past events, solid understanding of the current situation, as well as insights to future and tradeoffs.

Fast technological advances in the areas of monitoring, earth observation, data processing, modelling, cloud computing, etc. make it increasingly feasible to create desktop and operational “digital twins” of river basin systems which include all the elements of the hydrological cycle and allow precise hindcasting, nowcasting and forecasting to support collaborative water management decision-making.