Developing statistical downscaling to improve water quality understanding and management in the Ramganga sub-basin

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Mathematics & Statistics

Abstract

Empowering social inclusion through 'improving access to clean water and sanitation' for all requires a
robust understanding of water-related ecosystems and the benefits that they can provide to society.
However, 'the global data currently collected through the SDG process do not reflect the general state or trends known about freshwater ecosystems'. Novel mathematical sciences research is essential to enable fusion of Earth observation and on-the-ground data sources to fill the knowledge gaps, provide improved understanding of water quality and address the water management challenges faced by developing countries. This proposal will deliver world leading statistical research supporting the development of a water quality monitoring and modelling framework for the Ramganga sub-basin of the Ganges river basin.

Traditional water sampling is based on a small number of sites, and is very labour intensive and expensive, and our proposal brings together data from new in-situ sensors, delivering data at high temporal frequency, coupled with intensive coupling high-end in-situ above and below water characterisation of the biogeo-optical properties of the Ramganga with measurements from calibrated miniaturised hyperspectral imaging radiometers deployed from drones, and data from new satellite missions (Sentinel 2). Together, these provide an efficient and unprecedented means of collecting significant data across a range of environments and pollution discharge scenarios of optical water types in the Ramganga basin. Coupling these data with conventional measures of WQ will provide the much desired framework for extrapolating WQ data at hitherto unachievable spatial and temporal resolutions.

Covering 26% of India's total landmass, water quality and water resources in the Ganges basin are vital
for the wellbeing of one of the largest and densest global populations (43% of India's population).
However, they are being compromised due to activities such as rapid industrialization and
urbanization, and mitigation efforts are hampered by lack of historical and contemporary discharge and quality data. This project will develop and implement new statistical methodology specifically for the Ramganga sub-basin to integrate the new and existing water quality data with remote sensing satellite data (both historical data from multiple sensors and new retrievals from recent Sentinel missions).


To address the water quality challenges in the Ramganga sub-basin and to fully utilise the new data streams, novel statistical downscaling and data fusion methodologies through a varying coefficient, hierarchical Bayesian modelling framework will be developed to incorporate river network structure and model quantiles of flow. These approaches support integration of disparate data sources to enable prediction of water resource condition and associated uncertainties to inform risk-based modelling under a range of socio-economic and climate change scenarios, and provide tools to inform future monitoring design. The output of catchment-wide WQ estimates will be made available to policy makers and future researchers to guide policy and design future sampling sites and temporal frequency.

Planned Impact

The key beneficiaries and direct users of programme outputs are: (1) the research community; (2) government ministries and departments; (3) implementing agencies, such as local government and NGOs; (4) urban and rural communities within the Ganga river basin who will be the ultimate beneficiaries.

Research community: The project will deliver a step-change in data availability and fill a key gap in research capacity in the Ganga river basin bringing together world-leading Earth observation datasets, with previously un-connected in-situ research and data in their social and economic context. This will deliver new, powerful and transformational inter-disciplinary knowledge, relating to freshwater quality, and institutional operations surrounding our freshwater resources. New understandings developed will be disseminated through high impact journals and international fora. Open access to the datasets, to ensure future comparative and longitudinal interdisciplinary research, will be ensured.

Policy community: This project's strategic importance from a UK perspective arises from the 'reach' and 'significance' of the project which if properly realised can make a globally significant contribution to the quality of life and ultimately the economic prosperity of millions of city and rural in the Ramganga river catchment. Impact will come from the contribution our work will make to the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) which agreed the requirement for Urban River Management Plans (URMPs) for all Class I and II 'towns', effectively all urban centres with over 50,000 inhabitants, in the Ganga River Basin. Our research and findings concerning river water quality and its dynamics will allow improved management at a national level.

Basin Authorities and national institutes: A major outcome from this research is to understand better sources, pathways and fate of water pollution in the context of rapidly growing and frequently unplanned urban centres in India. We will engage with multiple national, regional and local basin authorities including CCanga and at the local level through Central and State Pollution Control Boards etc. The new high-quality data sets will be used to develop an informed strategy for future long-term monitoring and the development of a decision support tool to formulate an informed, economical and effective plan.

NGOs: we will work with several international and local NGOs such as WWF-India, Aquawatch and Mahasheer foundation to help local communities to understand the impact of water quality on their livelihood, agricultural products and human health. We will also aim to spread the findings of this project into the local communities to increase their awareness and to support the Clean Ganga drive of the Government of India.

Urban and rural inhabitants: The livelihoods and wellbeing of local communities are directly impacted by clean water. We will undertake targeted stakeholder engagement and detailed mapping of pollution sources and transmission pathways in several locations. Whilst we will create a powerful new high-quality evidence base of water quality, we are fully cognizant that it is only through endeavours in public education, capacity building, socio-economic policy adjustments and legislation in other fields of environmental protection that successful local management of the urban centres can be achieved. We anticipate that the new statistical approaches developed in this project will contribute to improved environmental outcomes and lead to significant health benefits, particularly to more vulnerable communities.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Nonparametric statistical downscaling for multiple data sources 
Description A nonparametric statistical downscaling model has been developed for fusion of data of different spatiotemporal support from three sources. The model has been coded in R and C++. This code will be made freely available as an R package, to be stored on GitHub, after further assessment of model performance using real data obtained as part of the project. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact No impacts yet. 
 
Description Strengthening collaboration with Indian Institute of technlogy, Kanpur India 
Organisation Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Though researcher from IIT Kanpur (IITK) was included as Co-I in the grant our collaboration with IITK has matured over the course of last few months.
Collaborator Contribution We have connected with other researchers at IITK (who are not co-I) and they contribute regularly to the discussions and joint field trips
Impact NA
Start Year 2020
 
Description Data Science of the Natural Environment Seminar, October 2021 (Prof. Claire Miller) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof. Claire Miller (Team member) gave the Data Science of the Natural Environment (DSNE) Seminar, hosted virtually by the University of Lancaster, on 7th October 2021. Approximately 30 people attended, comprising academic and postdoctoral staff, and postgraduate students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/data-science-of-the-natural-environment/seminars/claire-miller-statistic...
 
Description Invited speaker at JSM 2020 (Dr. Surajit Ray) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr. Surajit Ray (PI) was invited to present work on the project at the session titled "Solving Environmental Problems Through Data Assimilation" at the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://ww2.amstat.org/meetings/jsm/2020/onlineprogram/AbstractDetails.cfm?abstractid=309219
 
Description Invited speaker at TIES 2020 (Dr. Craig Wilkie) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr. Craig Wilkie (Team member; Research Associate) was invited to present work on the project at the session titled "Fresh Water Quality Monitoring and Analysis" at the International Environmetrics Society Conference (TIES) 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://environmetrics.org/vc2020_program.html
 
Description Invited talk at the London Mathematical Society Women in Mathematics Day event (Prof. Claire Miller) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof. Claire Miller gave an invited talk on "Data fusion for environmental applications" at the London Mathematical Society (LMS) Women in Mathematics Day Opportunities and Success Stories virtual event, hosted virtually by the University of Strathclyde in June 2021. This talk included work on this project and was attended by approximately 50 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.strath.ac.uk/science/mathematicsstatistics/womeninmathsday/
 
Description Organiser and presenter in Future directions: Mathematical Sciences for GCRF Initiatives -- Surajit Ray 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact UK-wide initiate to develop synergies among the Mathematical sciences community working on research and capacity building in LMIC countries to compete for large-scale challenge-led interdisciplinary GCRF research calls. I have secured funds for two and organised the first EPSRC/ICMS funded workshop titled "Future directions: Mathematical Science Community and GCRF initiatives" and preparing a white paper for EPSRC for shaping future GCRF calls.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.icms.org.uk/
 
Description Presentation at 8th Channel Network Conference (Dr. Craig Wilkie) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr. Craig Wilkie (Team member; Research Associate) presented a talk on work on the project at the session titled "Spatial and environmental modelling" at the 8th Channel Network Conference (CNC 2021) hosted virtually by the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM), of Paris, France.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://cnc21.sciencesconf.org/
 
Description Presentation at European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2021 (Dr. Craig Wilkie) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr. Craig Wilkie (Team member; Research Associate) presented a talk on work on the project at the session titled "Bayesian spatiotemporal statistical modelling of water quality within rivers" at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2021 (EGU 21).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-10843
 
Description Presentation at SIAM Conference on Mathematical & Computational Issues in the Geosciences (Prof. Claire Miller) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof. Claire Miller (Team member) presented work on the project as part of a talk at the SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) Conference on Mathematical & Computational Issues in the Geosciences (GS21), held virtually in June 2021. Approximately 40 people attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://meetings.siam.org/sess/dsp_programsess.cfm?SESSIONCODE=70753
 
Description Presentation by Rajiv Sinha in the Lecture Series organised by VIgyan Prasar NETwork of Science Clubs (VIPNET) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Wetlands are one of the most crucial sources of freshwater and one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. The Gangetic wetlands are the largest riverine wetland system in India. To know how protection of these wetlands contribute in improving river health, listen to our upcoming Tuesday Lecture
Join us for the 36th session in the lecture series on Tuesday, 02 March 2021, at 4:00 PM. Our 36th Lecture is on "Protecting floodplains and riverine wetlands in the Ganga basin for fostering river health" The talk will be delivered Prof. Rajiv Sinha, Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. The talk will be of 30-40 minutes, followed by an interaction session. Don't miss the chance to interact with our expert to clear your doubts.

You all can listen to the talk on the YouTube channel of VIPNET India and ask your queries there by typing it in the comment section. Encourage your fellow members to join in large numbers and reap the maximum benefit of this lecture series.

https://vigyanprasar.gov.in/vipnet/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Uz5tVF0dxg