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Multilateral University Cooperation on the Management of Human Impacted Droughts in Tropical Catchments -TropiSeca 



Seasonal hydrological droughts are becoming more frequent even in usually water abundant tropical regions. Climate extremes and longer dry periods especially during the dry season are expected to increase in Central America and other tropical regions such as South East Asia and Brazil (IPCC, 2013 and 2012). Drought disasters have been severely affecting economies in these regions during the past three years. 

However, this tropical drought phenomenon has not been considered so far in local water management and climate change adaptation measure strategies and stakeholders are not sufficiently familiar with efficient water allocation and management under water scarcity. Thus, there is a strong demand for research, education and knowledge exchange in the field of drought research and management in tropical Central America.

The TropiSeca project aims at filling this gap by developing suitable learning units and establishing a MSc programme at the University of Costa Rica entitled Integrated Water Resources Management for Climate Change Adaptation  (IWRM-CCA) with a special focus on tropical drought management on catchment scale. Besides the decade of IWRM MSc experience of ITT, further partners as the Institute for Ecohydrology at the University of Cuenca, Ecuador and the Javeriana University in Bogotá, Colombia are contributing to the development of learning units and materials, mutual student supervision and curricular development. Embedded in a large regional and international network of water related institutions, the master program will contribute to a more sustainable management of water resources in drought and flood prone tropical catchments. 

The TropiSeca project is a multilateral cooperation between the Institute for Technology and Resources Management (ITT) - TH Köln, Germany, Department of Geography/ Chair of Hydrology - University of Costa Rica, Faculty of Civil Engineering - Javeriana University in Colombia and Department of Water Resources and Environmental Sciences (iDRHICA) - University of Cuenca, Ecuador, International Hydrological Programme, UNESCO IHP. 

Specific Objectives

The project aims at strengthening capacities at universities and public institutions to generate research-based knowledge in the field of hydrological drought assessment and management in tropical regions. The specific objectives of the new curriculum will be:

  • To foster demand driven research through science-policy dialogue and the exchange between the academic, public and private sector in the region to tackle hydrological drought-related impacts through strategic workshops
  • To strengthen market-oriented capacity building in the water sector 
  • To enable exchange between students and lecturers 
  • To establish “research labs” in appropriate catchments in the partner countries and network where research can be carried out in a transparent manner facilitating data and knowledge exchange for the benefit of research and education
  • To build a wider strategic network among humid tropical countries in Latin America that would adopt the IWRM capacities in the water sector



Duration: January 2016 – December 2019

Funding: DAAD (Program: Subject-related Partnerships with Institutions of Higher Education)



TropiSeca Workshop in Costa Rica, July 30 – August 3, 2018 

The TropiSeca project is a DAAD funded academic network focusing on research and education related to tropical drought and hydrology.  Our annual meeting was hosted by the University of Costa Rica (UCR) in San José. UCR is the largest public university in Central America with excellent facilities, attracting students and researchers from all Latin-American countries and worldwide. During the meeting, we presented and discussed our results and publications related to tropical drought risk assessment and drought characterization of our case study basins: the Tempisque Basin, Costa Rica; Magdalena Basin, Colombia and the Paute Basin in Ecuador. In addition, we worked on joint Learning Units and the curriculum of the MSc program on "Integrated Water Resources Management for Latin America and the Caribbean (IWRM-LAC)" to be established at the School of Geography, University of Costa Rica that is expected to be inaugurated in August 2019. In the scope of an open workshop, UCR invited key stakeholders and researchers to have a debate on potential synergies, societal research and educational demand in the context of climate change and droughts in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.


AGU Chapman Conference in Cuenca, Ecuador 

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference on "Tropical Ecohydrology" was held from 5th to 9th June, 2016 in Cuenca, Ecuador. The meeting themes were cross-cutting and were divided in the following sessions: 1) Linking Ecohydrology and Ecophysiology in Tropical Systems, 2) Scaling Up and Spanning Gradients in Tropical Ecohydrology and 3) Transformative Impacts of Climate and Land Use Change on Tropical Ecohydrology. The aim was to address ecohydrological techniques and new concepts to water assessment. More information

Furthermore, this events enabled that the TropiSeca partners came together to discuss about the new curriculum of the planned professional master program at the University of Costa Rica.


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