Arkavathy study wins 2015 Jim Dooge Award for best paper from European Geophysical Union

A team of researchers from the ATREE's IDRC funded Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanizing Watersheds (ACCUWa) Project, along with collaborators from University of California at Berkeley, attempted to systematically explain the causes of the decline of inflows into the Thippagondanahalli (TG Halli) reservoir. Their article titled ‘Why is the Arkavathy drying? A multiple hypothesis approach in a data scarce region’ was published in the scientific journal “Hydrology and Earth System Science” in 2015. The paper has been awarded the 2015 Jim Dooge Award for the best paper in the European Geophysical Union's flagship journal Hydrology and Earth System Science (HESS).

The study team, led by Dr. Veena Srinivasan, investigated five possible reasons that could explain the decline, viz., 1) changes in rainfall amount, seasonality and intensity, 2) increases in temperature, 3) groundwater extraction, 4) increase in eucalyptus plantations, and 5) blockages in the river channel. The paper asked how, in situations where there is limited environmental data and a lot of environmental change taking place, we can employ a "multiple working hypothesis" approach to narrow the scope of future research and to avoid generating policy conflict.

The Arkavathy used to supply drinking water to Bangalore, but in the last 40 years its flow rate has dropped by 80%. The cause of the drop is not agreed upon, leading to policy confusion. The team was able to use the sparse data record to rule out some of the more popular theories, and focus the debate, going forward, on the roles of in-stream obstructions and groundwater over-exploitation.

Srinivasan, V., Thompson S.E., Madhyastha K., Penny, G., Jeremiah K. and Lele S. Why is the Arkavathy River drying? A multiple hypothesis approach in a data-scarce region, Hydrology and Earth System Science, Vol. 19, pp. 1905-1917, doi: 10.5194/hess-19-1905-2015, 2015.