Practice Research & Capacity Building
HCS builds its capacity development solutions on the following identified gaps in academic/capacity building curricula related to hydro-climate service provision: (i) The curricula are not often oriented towards hydro-climate service provisions, (ii) the general teaching courses are often not open to experts and practitioners, (iii) the curricula of few institutions giving training in hydro-climate services provision do not clearly consider the interdisciplinarity component of hydro-climate services dellivery. HCS consequently develops self-learning tools and provide training on demand or on identified need. Our priority target groups are practitioners and professionals including absolute beginners.
Weather & Water Observation Design
Water Management Strategies & tools
The projection of climate change and its impacts over West Africa are highly uncertain affecting decision-making and rendering the design of efficient adaptation measures much more difficult (Salack et al. 2019). These uncertainties are due to a lack of high quality, long term observational data. HCS solutions aim at tackling the root causes ot these uncertainties that are the low infrastructure and observation systems capacities of the national hydrological and meteorological services or agencies as reported by the Climate Risk & Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative. HCS provides services in terms of (i) near-surface observation network diagnosis and design, as well as (ii) development of coherent procedures of hydro-climate services delivery to end users.
Water resources allocation between multiple users remains a tremendous social and environmental challenge in most african countries while this challenge has been significantly toned down by several water management tools and strategies. HCS offers management options that include the increase of water storage capacities (e.g. new reservoir storage), the improvement of land management in the catchment, the development of water saving technics, inovative water structures and allocation tools, etc. HCS offers operational and technical support to develop and evaluate each potential water management strategy and/or option. The proposed solutions also value the benefits and negative effects of different options for an effective and efficient management.
Policy Review & Development
Responding to the hydro-climate challenge implies developping a coherent set of institutional framework and policies documents. Solutions offered by HCS under this thematic include (i) the analysis of local, national and regional hydro-climate services provision policies documents in light of actual and future user needs, (ii) the development of a cross-scale policies coherence framework, and (iii) the technical support in policies development. Our solutions are built on lessons learnt from states of the art hydro-climate services policies like the European Union Water Framework Directive or the European research and innovation roadmap for climate services. Furthermore, these solutions are rooted in our clear understanding of challenges in hydro-cliamte services policies at both the ECOWAS and national levels. HCS shares the EU Commission conviction that reliable and actionable climate services policies, integrated with socioeconomic assessments, will scale-up the cost‑effectiveness of climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions.
Disaster Risks Reduction Concepts & Tools
In West Africa, floods and droughts are the major climate hazards that cause disasters. In fact, often these climate hazards overcome easily local response capacity of the countries and substantially affect the social and economic development (Adegoke et al. 2019). Risk assessment is defined as all activities that aim at maintaining or improving a region’s ability to cope with a hazard. It is typically expressed by the product of three main components: hazard, vulnerability and exposure. HCS proposes solutions that are based among others on (i) Geospatial Information Technologies (GIT), including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Internet GIS to support all phases of disaster risk reduction/management (DRR/M). These solutions encompase various phases of disaster management cycle including preparedness, mitigation and response. Our solutions often combine satellite images with GIS to assess the extent of historical floods and facilitate the development of risk management tools like hazard maps.
Water Structure Design and Dimensioning
Hydraulic/hydrologic design is essential to develop both a plan for a new structure and a better management program of an existing one. HCS offers operational and programming solutions and services for water control (water storage, drainage, sediment control etc.) and water use (domestic, irrigation, industrial, hydropower etc.). Importantly, all our solutions balance effectiveness, cost and safety through systematically an integrated water management approach. Hydrological and hydraulic models application as means for water structure design is also an expertise provided by HCS. This support comes in a variety of form, either fit for use or learning by doing. Among the models applied by HCS are (not limited to): The Soil & Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), The Soil and Water Integrated Model (SWIM), Water Evaluation And Planning (WEAP), Water Flow and Balance Simulation Model WaSiM (WaSiM), Génie Rural à 4 paramètres Journalier (GR4J), Hydrologiska Byråns Vattenbalansavdelning (HBV), etc.
Project monitoring and evaluation (M&E) information is one type of Management information system designed to mitigate poor project performance, demonstrate accountability and promote organisational learning for the benefit of future projects (Crawford and Bryce 2002). HCS provides projects M&E solutions based on several methods: the widely used Logical Framework Approach (LFA), Pre-Post test comparison design, uni-dimensional quantitative indicators, etc. (Bamberger et al. 2010). Beside these methods, HCS flexibility can adapt to many of the specific tools design for sustainable evaluation and monitoring such as (Pediatidi et al. 2010): METT (WWF and WB) for the Evaluation of protected area management effectiveness; RAPPAM (WWF) A tool conducting rapid assessment of management effectiveness in protected areas of a particular region or country; LEAP (Greenspace Scotland) A framework to guide community groups in learning, evaluating and planning in the context of greenspaces; etc.
Concepts for Water and Numerical Governance
Water governance aims at developing and managing water resources, for a sustainable, effective and equitable delivery of water services (GWP). It therefore includes both political and economic aspects of water institutional framework. HCS proposes water governance solutions that are built on the principles of participatory, responsibility, and recognition of traditional rules. These solutions can be tailored to defferent water property rights regimes including: (i) Open access, a form in which the focus of the solutions would be the maintenance of the asset; (ii) Common property, a form in which the solutions would insure that non-members abide by the rules while members respect both rights and duties; (iii) private propertiy, a form in which the solutions would make sure that the owner refrain from socially unacceptable uses; and (iv) state property, a form in which the solutions would focus on the capacity building of the managing state agency. Reliable and readily available information is key to an effective water governance (Rogers and Hall, 2003), this information is provided by our solutions in the form of numerical water management tools and models.
Environmental Impact Studies
Environmental impact study addresses both positive and negative potential environmental impacts of a given action. HCS's Environmental impact study solutions adhere to all FAO's EIA principles. Our solutions therefore aim at ensuring protected areas, natural haitats and critical ecosystems integrities. The solutions are tailored to the environmental category (ranging from significant and irreversible adverse impacts to Minimal and no adverse impacts, FAO, 2012) of the action under investigation. Based on this categorization a Mandatory environmental assessment, an environmental analysis or no further environmental analysis or assessment is prescribed. Consistently with FAO (2012) a classical three steps approach is followed by HCS: (i) a preliminary environmental review; (iii) a screening/scoping; and (iii) a discussion of the environmental analysis of the assessment. Following these three steps HCS prescribes necessary environmental measures to be undertaken as well as a suitable monitoring and reporting on the environmental management plan.
Sustainable soil management tools
HCS works at rendering soils “climate smart” in line with the 4 per mil initiative promoting carbon sequestration in soils, in order to improve soil fertility, resilience and reduction in emission. Addressing the challenges of poor soil quality, food insecurity and climate variability requires an integrated approach. HCS offers both a bottom-up approach with soil-plant modelling with field trials and a top-down approach with the development of adapted technologies accounting for different functional soil properties relevant to farmer decision-making at fine spatial scales. This includes the use of currently available soil information (soil grids, soil types and classes, landscape information and DEM), remote sensing vegetation dynamics, and climate data series along with state-of-the-art approaches to analytics, using techniques such as machine learning, statistical modelling, and model–data fusion. With these approaches, HSC ensures the delivery of practical and sustainable solutions addressing current and emerging challenges related to agricultural productivity and environmental management at field, regional and national scales.