Delivering statistical forecasting in Mexico

12 December 2011

Water security is a major issue in both Mexico and Australia and strongly linked to future food security and development. A/Prof Willem Vervoort and Dr. Floris van Ogtrop from the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources with their colleague Dr Seth Westra from the University of Adelaide secured a grant through the AUSAid PLSP program to give workshops which will empower water managers in Mexico with novel statistical tools to analyse climate influences and anticipate droughts and wet periods. This will ultimately increase water security in Mexico due to more responsive management.

The aim of this project is to train Water Managers at IMTA (Mexican Institute for Water Technology) and its parent CONAGUA (Mexican National Water Commission) to use novel statistical hydrological and forecasting methods to better manage water resources now and in the future. This involves a train the trainer program for knowledge transfer from Australian Universities to the Mexican government institutions.

Attendees to the workshop at IMTA in Mexico
Attendees to the workshop at IMTA in Mexico

In the last week of November, A/Prof Vervoort, Dr. van Ogtrop and Westra travelled to Mexico to deliver the first of a series of workshops at Instituto Mexicano de TecnologĂ­a del Agua (IMTA, which is large research institute that falls under the Mexican Federal Office of Water, CONAGUA). More than 30 researchers from different organisations and universities across Mexico attended the first workshop in a series of workshops over the next year.

The workshop was opened by the Coordinator of the Hydrology program from IMTA Dr Javier Aparicio and the Australian trade commissioner to Mexico Mr Radek Davis.

The first workshop introduced the participants to advanced statistical tools through hands-on manipulation of relevant data.

A/Prof Vervoort commented: "This was my third visit to Mexico and I remain impressed with the quality of the researchers and the strong backgrounds."

"The group was enthusiastic and participated fully in all the activities".

During the 10 virtual follow-up meetings supported by an eCommunity on the University's eLearning system, the workshop staff will work with the participants to apply the new tools to case studies to obtain forecasting or downscaling results that are relevant for their individual organisation or research project.

Finally, during the final face to face workshop in Mexico in November 2012, the participants will present the case studies, discuss problems with "real data" and solutions, and highlight new innovations and advanced applications.

Contact: Associate Prof Willem Vervoort

Phone: 02 8627 1054

Email: 410a2e5f275f5d180f054f0d171c3e0c071137292330542455177c3642