The International Association of Hydrological Sciences focuses on the feedbacks between humans and water on the long term
During the IUGG Assembly held in Berlin in July 2023 the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) decided to implement a new International Commission on Human-Water Feedbacks (ICHWF). The motivation was to create a new IAHS Commission to capitalise on the momentum of the scientific decade Panta Rhei – Change in Hydrology and Society that was closed during the Panta Rhei Symposium in Potsdam at 10-11 July 2023.
Panta Rhei has created a very active, young and diverse community of natural and social scientists. The new commission will provide a home for this community within IAHS after the end of the scientific decade and will attract new people to IAHS in the field of Human-Water Feedbacks.
Objective and Methods
The commission will focus on the feedbacks between humans and water over decadal and centennial time scales. The new commission is therefore mainly concerned with changes that involve a two-way coupling between human actions and water quantity and quality. Methods will mainly comprise long-term monitoring in case study areas, use of new data (e.g. text analysis of social media posts) and social sciences approaches (e.g. behavioural experiments) and modelling that explicitly account for feedbacks between water and social processes.
The ICHWF will have a cross-sectional character and interact with all commissions and working groups of the IAHS. It will complement the International Commission on Water Ressources Systems (ICWRS) by addressing more theoretical, long-term aspects with a stronger emphasis on feedbacks and coupling. Additionally, it will support the new scientific decade ‘HELPING – Hydrology Engaging Local People IN one Global world’ by better theoretical understanding of the long-term feedbacks underpinning sustainable development.
The new commission President Heidi Kreibich reports: “Our first ideas for joint activities are the organisation of biennial summer schools on Human-Water Feedbacks, using the Panta Rhei book as a teaching material as well as a joint community-based study on testing human-water feedback models based on a compilation of socio-hydrological benchmark datasets compiled during the Panta Rhei decade“
This article has first been published by IHAS, which is part of IUGG.