water production

Intensive land use has caused soil erosion, reduced evapotranspiration, and as a result decreased local rainfall – leading to freshwater scarcity. Our focus within the Natural Water Production theme is on restoring water cycles through rainfall enhancement. Globally, forests significantly impact rainfall by releasing water vapor into the atmosphere. In semi-arid regions, increasing vegetation can boost rainfall, given there is sufficient moisture available. The restoration of vegetation on degraded lands also enhances rainwater infiltration and storage, benefiting plant growth and allowing for this water to transpire again and fall locally as rain. In arid regions, technology may be necessary to support the lack of water available for plant growth, which is the challenge addressed by our interdisciplinary team at Wetsus. Achieving a balance between local evaporation and rainfall is essential to ensure the increase in freshwater availability, and this will differ globally depending on where locally evaporated water rains out. We employ land-atmosphere interaction models to understand the factors required for inducing rainfall and we study whether and how technology can play a role using developments obtained in the Wetsus laboratory.

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