IAEA Programs Home | Training Home | All Course Listings

Regional Training Course on the Interdisciplinary Application of Isotope Hydrology and Soil Related Isotopic Techniques for Flood Risk Mitigation and Post-Flood Rehabilitation in Asia

Date: 20 – 24 March 2017
Location: Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, USA
Language: English

Deadline for Nominations: 15 December 2016


The main objective of this workshop is to provide training on nuclear techniques used in isotope hydrology and in soil water and nutrient management for flood management. This training builds on the knowledge gained on earlier courses and workshops completed under IAEA Project RAS-5069 and involves lectures as well as the presentation, analysis and assessment of research being carried out by counterparts in their case studies.

The final outcome of this workshop should be the enhanced capability of the counterparts to implement different disciplines (isotope hydrology, soil and crop science, geography GIS and modelling approach) and particular nuclear and conventional techniques in interactive way and to use the spatial approach enabling the management of the whole landscape water circulation system and especially the management of runoff source–sink cycles controlling the flooding.

This will be achieved primarily through:

  1. identification of major surface runoff generating areas,
  2. investigation of land management impact on soil properties, infiltration and runoff with focus mainly to major runoff generating areas and partially to sink areas,
  3. assessment of suspended sediment transport, and
  4. runoff modelling focused especially to upper and partially to medium part of watersheds with runoff hot spot areas.

The following isotopic techniques will be promoted: neutron probe for soil moisture measurements (standard and cosmic ray probes), 18O and 2H for crop water use efficiency, 13C (total abundance and CSSI) for carbon building agriculture (increasing the soil organic matter content and improving the soil physical status, aggregate stability and porosity), 15N for nitrogen cycle (and role of BNF) and organic matter quality improving, FRN for investigation of spatial distribution of runoff and sediment hot spot areas and spatial extension of the inundation and sedimentation areas, hot spot water and sediment sink areas and transport pathways of insoluble water pollution. Environmental isotope techniques (18O, 2H, 3H, 13C, 14C, etc.) will be introduced to investigate hydrograph separation, groundwater recharge sources, groundwater age, surface water – groundwater interaction.

Expected Outputs

Expected outputs for this course include:

  • Enhanced knowledge on the applications of nuclear techniques in flood risk management and mitigation
  • Capability to use different nuclear techniques in combination with conventional techniques in order to achieve better interaction and more efficient integrated watershed management. This involves several particular capabilities:
    • To assess the available input data for modelling as well as the data serving as background information for modelling and to select the data sets most appropriate for the purpose of the study or management of particular watershed
    • To understand the processes influencing the source-sink and runoff-flood cycles in their whole complexity
    • To choose the most appropriate models and to run the flood possible runoff-flood scenario in selected watershed
    • To understand the principles of the nuclear techniques used in isotope hydrology and soil and crop nutrition science and to select the isotope techniques appropriate for flood management in particular watershed

Scope and Nature

The workshop will last five days and it will consist of three parts. The first part will involve lectures on topics related to interdisciplinary integration of isotopic and conventional techniques used in hydrology and in soil and crop science including the spatial aspect, geographical approach and modelling. The second part will represent the case study presentations of counterparts. The third part will be the discussion on the interactive implementation of hydrological and soil related nuclear and conventional techniques in particular case studies. The major goal of this discussion will be to apply the scheme of water and sediment landscape circulation proposed by Dr. Ch. Renschler to all presented case studies. This approach represents an advanced way of implementation of skills gained during the earlier stages of project lifetime and it will build also on knowledge gained during earlier project activities.

Each case study will be processed as follows:

  1. assessment of input data on runoff and flood related landscape parameters and processes,
  2. assessment of modelling applicable for analysis of runoff–flood mechanism,
  3. interaction of hydrology and soil science,
  4. implementation of isotope hydrology and soil related isotopic techniques,
  5. identification of surface runoff sink areas and sediment deposition areas, and
  6. conclusions drawn for flood prediction and pre- and post-flood integrated watershed management.

The presentation on geographical approach and modelling will cover one-half day, the presentations on nuclear techniques in soil and crop nutrition science one-half day and the presentation on isotope hydrology one day. The presentations of the counterpart results (case studies) will take one day. The assessment of the achieved results and analysing the spatial and nuclear aspects of the presented studies will take 1.5 days. The formulation of recommendation for the land managers and flood management authorities and drawing of the conclusions will take up one-half day.

Background Information

Floods are the most frequent of all natural disasters and the East Asia and Pacific region, along with South Asia, is particularly vulnerable (UNEP, 2015). Climate change is expected to bring increased typhoon activities, rising sea levels and out-of-phase monsoon seasons in South East Asia and other regions. These can bring about devastating floods in Cambodia, Laos, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam, endangering the lives and health of the population and cause serious losses in people’s livelihoods, including food and livestock. In the past 30 years, the number of floods in Asia amounted to about 40 per cent of the total worldwide. More than 90% of the global population exposed to floods live in Asia. The countries in Asia with large populations are particularly prone to recurrent flooding, resulting in countless loss of lives, injuries, diseases and trauma in addition to practically wiping out decades of investments in infrastructure and personal wealth of people. Floods have tremendous socioeconomic impact, reflected mainly through retarded development.

The regional project RAS-5069 entitled: Complementing Conventional Approaches with Nuclear Techniques towards Flood Risk Mitigation and Post-Flood Rehabilitation Efforts in Asia was initiated in 2014 with the aim of developing integrated approaches and best-fit flood mitigation/adaptation strategies. The emphasize in this project is to support the Member States in using nuclear techniques in mutual interaction with conventional approaches in order to create an all-embracing approach applicable for flood risk management. A novel approach in this project as compared to former TC projects is wide interdisciplinarity. Four earth science and agricultural disciplines such as isotope hydrology, soil and water management and crop nutrition, plant breeding and animal production are involved.

The activities completed under RAS-5069 up to now brought a lot of results in developing and promoting the particular nuclear techniques applicable for flood management at all fields involved in this project. Recently the project after its mid-term evaluation meeting entered into second half of its lifetime and the achieved results should start to be incorporated together in order to achieve final synthesis. For this reason it is needed to increase the interactions of particular approaches. Strong interaction is needed especially in the assessment of landscape processes. Such interactions can be developed between isotope hydrology and soil, water and crop nutrition science. The flood is an element of landscape water cycle which starts by precipitation of atmospheric moisture and rainfall. The most important stage is the generation of surface runoff. If large volume of surface runoff is generated abruptly, the further concentration of runoff in water courses will result in flood and it is too late for its prevention. The crucial point of the flood management is the reducing of surface runoff and supporting the infiltration and water storage of soils and rocks bearing the aquifers. The soil and land management is a crucial condition with this respect.

The integrated understanding of water cycle and the role of soil management for landscape water distribution is a goal of prepared workshop. It should provide an opportunity not only to refresh the knowledge learned from former activities and to gain new information through the lectures of the experts, but especially to present, discuss and assess the results and experience learned from case studies and to focus on investigation of interactions between different techniques, data sets, spatial units, etc.


If your browser blocked iframe, please see this link for course materials.
Daily Course Evaluation
Overall and Administration Evaluation