Water resources (WR) are in constant stress due to human activities and changing climatic conditions. As a consequence, extreme hydrological events (such as floods and droughts) are becoming more frequent. The increasing frequency of these events requires an adaptation of current approaches in WR management to a newly emerged situation. Detailed modelling of the hydrological cycle and its components represents a useful tool for the precise description of upcoming changes, for their forecasting, and for the proposal of practical measures used to mitigate their impacts. Concerning this effort, the spatial distribution of WR is a significant field of study, which enables the identification of most vulnerable areas. The accurate determination of the actual retention capacity together with selected input conditions (land use, water consumption and climate) represents the fundamental factor controlling the volume and time-distribution of runoff.
Elaboration of the simulation of rainfall-runoff processes by means of semi-distributed (such as ecohydrological model SWIM) or distributed hydrological models. These models enable simulation of river basins in hydrologically homogenous units created using the GIS applications. Results of hydrological modelling within basins are used to interconnect rainfall-runoff models with hydraulic models. Further, there is an effort to:
- Identify anthropogenic and climatic impacts on the river basin hydrological regime;
- Determine model parameters from generally available parameters of soil layers, from mapped vegetation cover, and from rates of evapotranspiration;
- Identify the possible impact of land cover changes on flow regime in the long time-scale;
- Examine the connection between land cover change and increase of flow extremality, as well as to construct alternative land cover scenarios with the possible improvement of flow conditions;
- Analyze various simulation approaches and to contrast the results of these simulations with field surveys and measurements of discharges, evapotranspiration, soil water content and ground water level;
- Estimate possible impacts of climate change using both global (ECHAM4 a HadCM3) and regional climate (REMO) models;
- Develop and assess a seasonal probabilistic hydrological forecasting system.