Panta Rhei News

Panta Rhei Day Photo1

This page reports new activities, conference sessions and papers from the Panta Rhei working groups

This page is maintained by Hilary McMillan - please contact me if you have a Panta Rhei news item

Dear Panta Rhei members,

We are happy to announce that we have now launched a new ICT tool at the IAHS web site for data sharing and collaborative experiments – the SWITCH-ON Virtual Water-Science Laboratory (VWSL)!

Each working group can start thematic discussions in the Forum and also create protocols. The VWSL aims to facilitate collaboration in despite of geographical distances, as well as transparency of computational workflows. Feel free to try the tools offered in the Lab., such as:

-          Open data search, visualization and download.
-          Data upload for visibility and storage.
-          Living protocols for documentation.

We hope that these tools will serve the IAHS community to advance science and comparative hydrology through more efficient collaboration across the globe.

The SWITCH-ON Virtual Water-Science Laboratory will be demonstrated in the Poster Hall every day during coffee breaks and poster sessions at the Scientific Assembly 10 – 14 July 2017 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Panta Rhei is pleased to announce

The Second IAHS Panta Rhei International Workshop on Water System Knowledge Innovation and its Practices in Developing Countries

November 20-22, 2017
Gorgan, Iran

This international workshop aims to bring together scientists from worldwide (in particular from developing countries) and various disciplines that share a common interest in addressing the challenges of understanding and managing the water systems.

A special session on the Caspian Sea water-related management challenges will be held during the workshop to provide a forum for more detailed discussion on an important water system and its dynamics. A one-day filed trip to the southern coastal areas of the Caspian Sea and the nearby Hyrcanian forests will be organised.

The broad aims are to enhance the contribution of strategic scientific and technical research and innovation to the sustainable management of water systems, including rivers, groundwater and wetlands.

See full details here: Workshop Information

request for drought information from panta rhei members

The following request comes from our working group on 'Drought in the Anthropocene'. Please consider giving a few minutes of your time to contribute to their research.

Dear Panta Rhei colleagues and drought experts,

Droughts impact socioeconomic and ecological systems worldwide. Due to the multifaceted characteristics of drought hazards and region- and sector-specific vulnerabilities, the severity of impacts varies according to the specific bio-physical and socioeconomic characteristics of the region. In order to reduce such impacts, implementation of measures to increase resilience to drought are required, ideally within a drought management framework incorporating both short and long term adaptation measures. Despite the lack of locally implemented drought management frameworks, numerous drought responses mechanisms have been carried out.

To systematically assess and evaluate the type and frequency of such drought responses, we have designed this online survey. We expect that based on stakeholder and expert knowledge, the survey will help synthesise region-specific drought and response characteristics. Collecting qualitative information from numerous catchments worldwide will enable us to identify recent trends in drought management, which can be inputted in comparative studies. Furthermore, we can systematically assess weaknesses and inconsistencies in drought management which need to be addressed.

Your expertise and experiences from case studies worldwide will be valuable contributions to this analysis. Considering the lack of time and/ or the wealth of different areas of investigations you do have, this questionnaire can also be used in classes, or might be completed by BSc or MSc students which are actually working with you. Please feel free to promote and distribute this link to any relevant colleague, stakeholder or ‘other drought experts’

The questionnaire will take between 5-15 minutes (depending on input). Please follow this link

As a first round, the questionnaire will be open until the end of August 2017. As an incentive: all contributors will be invited to join resultant publication(s) based on the survey.

Please do not hesitate to contact us regarding any follow-up questions.

Many thanks to all of you.

Veit Blauhut and Alexandra Nauditt.

Panta Rhei Day 2017

Thanks very much to all those who attended and contributed to our Panta Rhei Day this year. We had many interesting and useful discussions, with ideas on how to take part in our various Panta Rhei activities. Below are the reports from our different working group sessions.

Panta Rhei Stories Mapping Project - from Tobi Krueger/Hilary McMillan

During the workshop many people filled in information about their Panta Rhei projects, to contribute to our online map. Thanks to all who contributed! 

Opinion Papers - from Heidi Kreibich

See the attached pdf presentation for all the details

"I appreciated very much your dedicated contributions to our discussion on the opinion paper series. Please see the results of our discussion, i.e. collection of ideas for further opinion papers on the last slide of the attached presentation. If you have ideas for improvement/refinement of topic description, other/more ideas for opinion papers, please let me know at !

I would also appreciate, if some of you would be interested and willing to write a comment on one of the opinion papers to foster our Panta Rhei discussion. Of course, you do not need to inform me in this case, however, I would appreciate if you would let me know."

Revitalizing your Working Group - from Anne Van Loon

See the attached pdf document for all the details

“Tips for activating your working group: organise a starting workshop for people to get to know each other and define collaborative research projects / papers, make use of early-career scientists who have more time and enthusiasm to organise working group projects and benefit a lot, keep everyone up to date by emails, meetings at international conferences, Skype, and social media, write papers together, apply for funding together, supervise student projects together. And most of all: be positive and encouraging!”

Education Initiatives - from Hilary McMillan

During our discussion on Panta Rhei contributions to hydrology education, we came up with several ideas that we hope to implement during the next couple of years.

Mentoring within Panta Rhei: When new students or postdocs join a working group, they would be assigned an additional mentor, to extend their network and encourage collaboration.

Multi-media website material: We plan to create a new area on the Panta Rhei website to share educational material such as short videos, webinars and case studies. In particular, we'll encourage working groups to submit short (1 page) student-friendly descriptions of their case study projects, which others can incorporate into their teaching. We'll provide information on how to tailor these case study descriptions.

"Lecture matchmaking". We can help Panta Rhei members to exchange lectures or become invited speakers for each other. This would help to share specialist knowledge.

Upcoming conference sessions related to Panta rhei

Please consider submitting to these sessions!

Seventh International Conference on Flood Management – ICFM7 in Leeds, UK on 5 -7 September 2017

Session: A Panta Rhei perspective on changes in flood risk
Due to expected further increases of flood damage, many countries reconsider their policies and strategies for flood risk management. This requires more knowledge and detailed analyses of changing flood risk, projections of future flood losses and assessments of risk management alternatives. To support such assessments, the IAHS Panta Rhei working group “Changes in flood risk” aims at understanding, quantifying and modelling the linkages between physical or socio-economic drivers and changes in flood risk as well as analyzing risk management strategies. The main aim of this session is to present and discuss results from various countries and disciplines on changing flood risk and risk management. Abstracts are invited for contributions that cover research as well as practical implementation of risk assessment and management.
Deadline for abstract submission: 31 January 2017

European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2017 in Vienna, Austria, 23–28 April 2017

Session: HS2.4.2 Flood dynamics: processes, controls, consequences
The recurrence of decadal periods of enhanced/reduced floods in many regions in the world has gained increasing interest of the hydrologic research community. The natural oscillatory behaviour overlaps with human interventions in river morphology and land use changes. In parallel, continuous changes in exposure and susceptibility further shape flood risk. While changes in flood hazard and risk are becoming more often studied, it remains unclear why these changes occur, i.e., what the causes of these changes are. The scope of this session is to report when, where, how (detection) and, more importantly, why (attribution) changes in flood hazard and risk occur; particularly what drivers are responsible for that. Presentations on the impact of climate variability and change, land use changes, morphologic changes in streams, as well as on the role of pre-flood catchment conditions in shaping flood hazard and risk are welcome. Furthermore, contributions on the impact of socio-economic and structural factors on past and future risk changes are invited. This session is jointly organised by the Panta Rhei Working Groups “Understanding Flood Changes” and “Changes in Flood Risk” and will further stimulate scientific discussion on flood change detection and attribution. Specifically, the following topics are of interest for this session:
- Decadal oscillations in rainfall and floods
- Process-informed extreme value statistics
- Detection and attribution of flood hazard changes: climatic drivers, land use controls and river training, among others
- Changes in flood risk: urbanisation of flood prone areas, implementation of risk mitigation measures, changes of economic, societal and technological drivers
- Future flood risk changes and adaptation strategies.
Deadline for abstract submission: 11 January 2017, 13:00 CET

the working group "Water scarcity assessment: Method and application" held an academic conference of CNC-IAHS 

Added 19 October 2016 by Hilary McMillan

On September 23, 2016, the academic conference of CNC-IAHS was held in Nanjing, China. More than 200 experts, scholars and graduate students from different universities or institutes participated in this conference.

The IAHS subsequently conducted a series of symposiums on water system tracing and dating, hydrological forecasting in changing environments, hydrology and social systems and their interactions in changing environments, urban hydrology and uncertainty analysis. During this conference, IAHS arranged a total number of more than 100 academic reports, providing an excellent platform for communication, which effectively promote the integration of the research exchange of hydrological science.

See the conference report here

new paper published by working group "Water scarcity assessment: Method and application"

Added 19 October 2016 by Hilary McMillan

The working group on "Water scarcity assessment: Method and application" have just published a new paper, titled:

Burden shifting of water quantity and quality stress from megacity Shanghai.
Citation: Zhao, X., J. Liu, H. Yang, R. Duarte, M. R Tillotson, and K. Hubacek (2016), Burden shifting of water quantity and quality stress from megacity Shanghai, Water Resour. Res., 52, doi:10.1002/2016WR018595.

Click here to read the paper:


new working group 'Comparative Study on the Co-evolution of Coupled Human-Water Systems (CCHWS)'

Added 21 September 2016 by Hilary McMillan

A new working group, led by Fuqiang Tian of the Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Tsinghua University, China, has joined Panta Rhei, to work on the co-evolution of coupled human-water systems:

"The proposed working group will bring together scientists from several countries and disciplines who share a common interest in the co-evolution of coupled human-water system under human impacts as well as climate change. The research goal is to collect and collate data from different basins, perform comparative analysis of emergent behavior exhibited by them, develop predictive models, and look for common organizing principles. A particular focus will be on interactions between the diversity of time scales of various subsystems of the coupled human-water system. This working group will function as a platform to share data across different basins, share ideas and visions, debate on new conclusions and theories, and develop and improve socio-hydrological models."

For more information, please see the working group proposal.

Welcome to our newest working group!

new paper published by working group "Physics of Hydrological Predictability"

Added 21 September 2016 by Hilary McMillan

The working group on "Physics of Hydrological Predictability" have just published a new paper, titled:

Climate change impact on the water regime of two great Arctic rivers: modeling and uncertainty issues.

Citation: Gelfan A., Gustafsson D., Motovilov Yu., Arheimer B., Kalugin A., Krylenko I., Lavrenov A. (2016) Climate change impact on the water regime of two great Arctic rivers: modeling and uncertainty issues. Climatic Change. doi 10.1007/s10584-016-1710-5

Click here to read the paper:


new paper published in Panta Rhei HESS special issue

Added 18 September 2016 by Hilary McMillan

The working group on 'Drought in the Anthropocene' have just published a new paper in the Panta Rhei HESS special issue. The paper is an opinion article, and is titled

"Drought in a human-modified world: reframing drought definitions, understanding, and analysis approaches"

Click here to read the paper:

Citation: Van Loon, A. F., Stahl, K., Di Baldassarre, G., Clark, J., Rangecroft, S., Wanders, N., Gleeson, T., Van Dijk, A. I. J. M., Tallaksen, L. M., Hannaford, J., Uijlenhoet, R., Teuling, A. J., Hannah, D. M., Sheffield, J., Svoboda, M., Verbeiren, B., Wagener, T., and Van Lanen, H. A. J.: Drought in a human-modified world: reframing drought definitions, understanding, and analysis approaches, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3631-3650, doi:10.5194/hess-20-3631-2016, 2016.

workshop on 'drought in the Anthropocene'

Added 18 September 2016 by Hilary McMillan

The working group on "Drought in the Anthropocene" is organising a Panta Rhei workshop in September in Birmingham. Click here for the 2nd circular with more information about the program. There will be 17 people in the workshop and the aim will be to set up collaborative research projects studying the interactions of people and drought, that bridge scales and methodologies.



Panta Rhei Day workshop

Photo of Panta Rhei Day participants

On 16 April 2016 we held a ‘Panta Rhei Day’ workshop at TU Vienna. The aim of this workshop was to bring together motivated Panta Rhei scientists to meet each other, discuss common research and plan future initiatives for Panta Rhei. The day was a great success with 23 attendees and much discussion and sharing of ideas. In the morning, invited presentations were given by Siva Sivapalan, Tobias Krueger, Heidi Kreibich and Anne van Loon. In the afternoon, participants chose from three workshop sessions:

1. Panta Rhei library: Develop bibliographies of key papers on relevant themes such as water scarcity, global water cycle, water use assessments

2. Panta Rhei stories: Create an online Panta Rhei map with overview information of projects undertaken by working groups

3. HSJ Panta Rhei opinion paper: Develop an outline for an opinion paper on the theme: “Panta Rhei includes working groups looking at mountain hydrology, rural hydrology and urban hydrology. What new insights can we gain by bringing these different perspectives together?”

Each of these workshop sessions has led to a new Panta Rhei project for the coming year, led by Hilary McMillan (Panta Rhei library), Tobias Krueger and Anne Van Loon (Panta Rhei stories) and Heidi Kreibich (Panta Rhei opinion paper).

Working Group: Changes in Flood Risk

The Panta Rhei Working Group on Changes in Flood Risk have prepared a short report about their 2015 activities, please see here


Transdisciplinarity working group growing

See their updated members list at the working groups page


panta rhei at EGU

We encourage you to attend these Panta Rhei sessions at EGU!

HS1.1 Panta Rhei: Early career scientists’ vision and progress for research in hydrology, society and change. PICO Session.  Convener: Hilary McMillan  | Co-Conveners: Tobias Krueger , Anne Van Loon , Heidi Kreibich.
Tue, 19 Apr, 10:30–12:00 / PICO spot 1

Please do come along and contribute to HS1.1 which is an interactive PICO session, designed as a forum for discussion of Panta Rhei future directions!

HS7.4 Change in climate, hydrology and society. Convener: Demetris Koutsoyiannis  | Co-Conveners: João de Lima , C. Cudennec , Yannis Markonis.
Orals / Fri, 22 Apr, 13:30–15:00 / Room 2.15
Posters / Attendance Fri, 22 Apr, 17:30–19:00 / Hall A


upcoming workshop

Panta Rhei scientists in China and the Chinese National Committee of the Panta Rhei Program are organising an International Workshop on Hydrological Knowledge Innovation and its Practices in Developing Countries on November 13-17, 2016, Shenzhen & Wuhan, China.

See more information about the workshop here



A new paper has been published by the working group ‘Transdisciplinarity’ in WIRES WATER

A transdisciplinary account of water research

"Water research is introduced from the combined perspectives of natural and social science and cases of citizen and stakeholder coproduction of knowledge. Using the overarching notion of transdisciplinarity, we examine how interdisciplinary and participatory water research has taken place and could be developed further."

Krueger, T., Maynard, C., Carr, G., Bruns, A., Mueller, E. N. and Lane, S. (2016), A transdisciplinary account of water research. WIREs Water. doi:10.1002/wat2.1132


International Water Resources Management Conference.

The International Commission on Water Resources Systems (ICWRS) organizes biannually the International Water Resources Management Conference. The next one will take place from 18th to 20th of May 2016 in Bochum, Germany, and is titled 'The spatial dimensions of water management - Redistribution of benefits and risks'. You will find all information about it on this website:

One part of this conference (Topic 6) is dedicated to socio-hydrology. Panta Rhei members are invited to submit an abstract at

Added by: Hilary McMillan, Date: 5 November 2015

international workshop on hydrology-biogeochemistry

The International workshop on hydrology-biogeochemistry was held at Wuhan, China in the last week of October, 2015. This workshop was initialized under the umbrella of the Panta Rhei working group, "Changing biogeochemistry of aquatic systems in the Anthropocene", and co-organized by Dr. Chongxuan Liu and Dr. Hongyi Li. Funding and logistic support for this workshop was primarily from China University of Geosciences (Wuhan).

For details, please see Workshop Programme and Notes

Added by: Hilary McMillan, Date: 5 November 2015

Panta Rhei opinion articles in HSJ

To encourage discussion and interaction between Panta Rhei working groups, and from scientists outside Panta Rhei, the Panta Rhei leadership team are organising a series of invited opinion articles in HSJ. The initiative is being coordinated by Heidi Kreibich. We plan to bring together diverse opinions on some of the hot topics of hydrology in a changing world, with early articles planned on

  • 'Uncertain socio-hydrologic futures'
  • 'The role of experimental hydrology in the Anthropocene'
  • 'Attribution of extreme flood/drought events to human influence on hydrology'
  • 'The water-energy-food nexus'.
Added by: Hilary McMillan, Date: 28 October 2015

Panta Rhei meeting space at AGU

Panta Rhei working groups are invited to use the AGU conference as an opportunity to meet up with fellow working group members to plan future activities or papers. We have booked a private room within the AGU conference for the Friday (18th of December) from 9.30-11.30am, for Panta Rhei discussions. There will not be any presentations, it is just a free space for you to come and meet Panta Rhei colleagues within or outside your working group. Looking forward to seeing you at AGU!

Added by: Hilary McMillan, Date: 28 October 2015


groundwater quality iahs conference organised by water scarcity working group members

Welcome to the 9th International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) Groundwater Quality Conference (GQ16)

The Conference organizing Committee from the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) is pleased to  welcome you to the 9th International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) Groundwater Quality Conference (GQ16) to be held at SUSTech, Shenzhen, China, July 24-28, 2016.  

The conference is being hosted in China and Asia for the first time. Previous GQ Conferences were held in Tallinn, Estonia (1993), Prague, Czech Republic (1995), Tübingen, Germany (1998), Sheffield, United Kingdom (2001), Waterloo, Canada (2004), Fremantle, Australia (2007), Zurich, Switzerland (2010), and most recently in Gainesville, Florida, United States (2013). During this conference, participants can expect to have a socially and technically stimulating experience that brings you up-to-date on the latest issues related to Groundwater Quality, including new approaches for measuring,modeling,and managing water quality.The GQ16 conference will be an opportunity to form new collaborative relationships and to renew existing ones, and to develop new ideas and directions for future work.

If you need further information, please visit the conference web site: 

Added by: Hilary McMillan, Date: 28 October 2015

new Panta Rhei working group on African rivers

Panta Rhei is very pleased to welcome our newest working group; led by Jörg Helmschrot from University of Hamburg and Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate change and Adaptive Land Management:

Status and future of African river systems

Abstract: The majority of the African population relies directly on rivers for their livelihoods, thus the sustainable management of the water resources is crucial for securing food production and economic growth. However, insufficient data availability resulting from the lack and/or poor maintenance of often underequipped monitoring networks; competing water users as well as weak institutional structures often limit an efficient and sustainable management of water resources. Due to expected notable societal changes (e.g. population growth associated with higher demands for food production and water, increasing urbanization associated with localization of water demand, and by necessity, supply ) as well as projected climate change; most African countries are facing growing challenges regarding the sustainable management of their often limited water resources, in particular in trans-regional river basins. Additionally, a trend is observed in the recent decades of decline in hydrological process-oriented research, which may lead to underestimation of effects arising in a changing and stressed hydrological and water resource systems, ultimately impacting ecosystems and societies.
With its research activities (e.g. basin studies, impact assessment studies, process studies), the working group will contribute to improve i) the data situation in various African river basins, ii) the knowledge and understanding of system-relevant drivers and processes in these basins and iii) assessments towards a sustainable management of these systems in the perspective of changes.

Added by: Hilary McMillan, Date: 21 October 2015

panta rhei HESS Special ISSUE

We invite each of the Panta Rhei working groups to prepare a paper for a special issue of HESS (Hydrology and Earth System Sciences journal). The special issue is open for submissions from 1 Oct 2015 - 1 Oct 2016. Details about the special issue are below:

Panta Rhei: Opinions and progress towards hydrology for a changing world

Abstract - The hydrological cycle, from catchments to global scales, has for thousands of years been intimately linked with human activity, in forms including irrigation, water storage, domestic water use and flood defence. Today, people control or impact on hydrological systems in a multitude of ways. We modify land use and climate, change flow pathways and sources of nutrients and sediments, and disrupt natural feedbacks between water and ecosystems. Rural and urban areas use and transport water in different ways and at different scales, and our trade has an embedded water footprint. In many regions, there are severe challenges associated with societal interactions with water, including water scarcity, pollution and flooding. Societies must make decisions on water governance, ownership and management, despite large uncertainties in the coupled hydrological–societal system.

In response to the clear imperative to include human impact as integral to hydrological research, the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) launched Panta Rhei, the scientific decade 2013-2022 with the central theme "Change in Hydrology and Society" ( The research agenda aims to address understanding, prediction and management of hydrological systems under environmental change and human impact. This special issue reports on progress by the Panta Rhei working groups towards many of the questions described above, during the first Panta Rhei biennium 2013-15. It also contains opinion papers, as we explore and reflect on the most pressing issues in research into hydrology and change. In particular, many articles will aim to quantify progress against the six driving science questions set out at the beginning of the Panta Rhei initiative:

1.      What are the key gaps in our understanding of hydrological change?
2.      How do changes in hydrological systems interact with, and feedback to, natural and social systems driven by hydrological processes?
3.      What are the boundaries of coupled hydrological and societal systems?
4.      How can we use improved knowledge of coupled hydrological–social systems to improve model predictions, including estimation of predictive uncertainty and predictability?
5.      How can we advance our monitoring and data analysis capabilities to predict and manage hydrological change?
6.      How can we support societies to adapt to changing conditions by considering the uncertainties and feedbacks between natural and human-induced hydrological changes?


First biennium summary paper

The Panta Rhei science leaders and all of the working group leaders have prepared a paper describing science progress during the first biennium:

Panta Rhei 2013-2015: Global perspectives on hydrology, society and change

This paper covers diverse topics from hydrological models, data and predictability in the Anthropocene; descriptions and study of the human – water system; water governance and water scarcity; societal impacts on floods and droughts. It gives an overview of all the great work being done by the working groups, and offers opportunities to see similarities and conflicts between different points of view, and open up new dialogues.

This paper has been submitted to Hydrological Sciences Journal.

A new paper has been published by the working group Water Scarcity Assessment in Science Magazine

Manage water in a green way
Margaret A. Palmer, Junguo Liu, John H. Matthews, Musonda Mumba, Paolo D’Odorico

This paper was published by Science Magazine as part of their perspectives article:

Water security: Gray or green?

Building engineered structures, such as dams and dikes, has been the conventional
approach to water management. Some suggest that such “gray” infrastructure
make way for “green” ecosystem-based approaches. In this second of three
debates, Science invited arguments for how these approaches can address the
challenge of building the water security of rapidly growing societies worldwide


A new paper has been published by the working group Water Scarcity Assessment

China’s rising hydropower demand challenges water sector (click for full paper)
Junguo Liu, Dandan Zhao, P.W. Gerbens-Leenes & Dabo Guan

Demand for hydropower is increasing, yet the water footprints (WFs) of reservoirs and hydropower, and their contributions to water scarcity, are poorly understood. Here, we calculate reservoir WFs (freshwater that evaporates from reservoirs) and hydropower WFs (the WF of hydroelectricity) in China based on data from 875 representative reservoirs (209 with power plants). In 2010, the reservoir WF totaled 27.9 × 109 m3 (Gm3), or 22% of China’s total water consumption. Ignoring the reservoir WFseriously underestimates human water appropriation. The reservoir WF associated with industrial, domestic and agricultural WFs caused water scarcity in 6 of the 10 major Chinese river basins from 2 to 12 months annually. The hydropower WF was 6.6 Gm3 yr−1 or 3.6 m3 of water to produce a GJ (109 J) of electricity. Hydropower is a water intensive energy carrier. As a response to global climate change, the Chinese government has promoted a further increase in hydropower energy by 70% by 2020 compared to 2012. This energy policy imposes pressure on available freshwater resources and increases water scarcity. The water-energy nexus requires strategic and coordinated implementations of hydropower development among geographical regions, as well as trade-off analysis between rising energy demand and water use sustainability.