Scientific programme


IAHS 2017 Scientific ASSEMBLY

10 – 14 JULY 2017
Port Elizabeth, South Africa 
"Water and Development: scientific challenges in addressing societal issues”



#1 Water security and the food-water-energy nexus: drivers, responses and feedbacks at local to global scales

Conveners: Graham Jewitt, Barry Croke

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICWRS, Panta Rhei, Waternet

Water security -- i.e., the capacity of people to safeguard sustainable access to water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development -- is an important issue, with water crises highlighted by the World Economic Forum as the major global risk to society in 2015. Water security varies in time. Climate change, population growth, industrialisation and agricultural activities can impact on the quantity and quality of available water, thus impacting on the availability of water, food and energy, which are interconnected (food-water-energy nexus). Moreover, water security varies in space. Management of the water resource must include societal, economic and governance aspects, all of which interact at a wide range of scales, from local to national and multi-national, which are also interconnected. The challenge to the hydrological community is to include in their research also social, economic, biophysical, institutional and political aspects, including the feedback mechanisms among these.

Contributions are invited that investigate water security and more broadly the food-water-energy nexus. More specifically, the following research questions are of interest:
What are the key considerations of a water resources management framework to achieve water security?
What are the temporal (slow/fast dynamics) and spatial (local/global scales) drivers and feedback mechanisms (biophysical, social, economic, political, …) that should be investigated to properly characterise water security?
How should the coping-capacity of society? evolve in order to maintain or improve water security in a changing world, and what is action is needed to aid this evolution at local, national and regional scales?
What are the peculiarities of water security in relation to food (e.g., agriculture), energy (e.g., hydropower), and health (i.e., water supply)?
What is the role of hydrologists in education at village through to Government levels?
We encourage contributions that discuss developing world issues, particularly from an African perspective.

#2 Hydrology and the Anthropocene

Conveners: C. Cudennec, H. Savenije, H. McMillan, A. Mishra, Junguo Liu

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: IAHS transversal, Panta Rhei, UNESCO-IHP

The Anthropocene was originally proposed as a geological epoch, and is still under consideration in the strict field of stratigraphy. Yet, whatever will be the conclusion of the stratigraphic commission of IUGS about the formal adoption of a new geological epoch, and the date of its starting, the Anthropocene has broadened through the biophysical and social sciences into an integrative concept that covers human-environment interactions and impacts. Change has reached the planetary level, not only through accumulation but also through the emergence of systemic symptoms of high magnitude and notable simultaneity and synchronicity. All aspects of these changes correspond to risk and security issues for shorter or longer-term futures, from the magnitude of some processes, to unperceived connections, and to crossings of planetary boundaries. Water plays crucial roles in the Anthropocene as a geological and geomorphological driver, as a biogeochemical agent, as a vital and economic resource, as an energy storage and vehicle. Furthermore it follows hydrological dynamics which then drive other related dynamics or properties (ecology, food, health, energy, settlement, land use including agriculture and urbanization, infrastructures and logistics) and poses multidimensional security issues. These hydrological dynamics are themselves naturally complex across a wide range of scales and variabilities, and determine many topological, geometric, temporal, frequency and interdependence structures (meteorological and climatological space-time organizations, oceanic and cryospheric driving roles, upstream-downstream relationships, ground-surface-atmosphere exchanges, land-lake-sea interfaces, virtual water footprint and trade, hazard and related perception-vulnerability-resilience). Depending on strong coevolutions, these natural hydrological dynamics and related dimensions of complexity are often strongly modified by anthropogenic effects. Hydrological sciences must thus contribute to the assessment of the water-related dimensions of the Anthropocene ongoing transformation, and ultimately to the prospective challenges as described in the SDGs framework.

#3 Understanding spatio-temporal variability of water resources and the implications for IWRM in the semi-arid east and southern Africa

Conveners : D. Mazvimavi, J. Norbert, J-M. Kileshye Onema, A. Amani

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: Waternet, IAHS transversal, UNESCO-IHP

Under this topic WaterNet intends to show case work done by the network members from East and Southern Africa. The following aspects of water resources will be examined:

  • Rainfall variability and droughts
  • Climate change and water infrastructure development
  • Hydrological responses, Human induced changes of variability and water resources management implications
  • How ecological aspects are influenced by spatial variations of elements of the water cycle
  • Water quality and hydrological implications
  • Use of earth observation and in-situ measurements for understanding spatio-temporal variability
  • Improving agricultural water use in order to manage variability
  • Current and future water resources management interventions
  • How policies, legislation and institutions have been and continue to be crafted to manage spatial and temporal variations of water resources
  • How spatial-temporal variability influence transboundary water resources management

#4 Water Balance and Crop Water Productivity through Remote Sensing and Modelling

Conveners: Christopher Neale, Bob Su, Frederique Seyler, Gilles Boulet

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICRS,ICSW

The availability of recent polar orbiting satellite systems such as MODIS and VIIRS along with existing geostationary satellites and the Landsat Continuity Mission provide a suite of shortwave and thermal infrared imagery at different spatial and temporal scales. These data allow for the estimation of daily evapotranspiration at continental scales through energy balance techniques, a product that can be used for estimating water balance in watersheds when coupled with recently available global precipitation datasets. In addition, these products can be down-scaled to higher spatial resolutions using Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery and other available sensors, and used for the estimation of crop biomass and yield as well as crop water productivity.

Considering the scarcity of available hydrological data in many Sub-Saharan Africa countries, remote sensing products and inputs can provide valuable information for the modelling of hydrological water balances in agricultural watersheds and irrigated/rain fed agricultural systems, providing important information for water management within these watersheds and allowing for more detailed, field level estimates of crop related parameters.

This workshop/symposium invites contributions relevant to quantifying water balance in agricultural watersheds as well as estimating these important crop related parameters through remote sensing approaches and modelling.

#5 Land use change impacts on water resources

Conveners: Magdalena Rogger, Graham Jewitt, Alberto Viglione, Michele Warburton

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICWRS,Panta Rhei

Human induced land cover changes have strongly modified natural landscapes all over the World. Population growth and industrialisation have lead to increased deforestation, an expansion of agricultural land and settlements impacting strongly on the hydrological regime and related water management. In developing countries a move to large scale commercialisation of agricultural lands is an aspect of concern. In this workshop we want to focus on the impacts of such changes on the hydrological regime. Agricultural practices, especially the use of heavy machinery for soil tillage, often lead to soil modification and compaction decreasing the infiltration capacities of the soils and potentially enhancing erosive processes. Agricultural drainage and irrigation can lower the groundwater table and influence subsurface flow paths. Deforestation generally results in a decrease of rainfall interception and modified soil conditions with lower soil storage capacities and enhanced erosion. A large scale replacement of seasonally dormant natural vegetation types with evergreen crops such as sugarcane can also significantly change the local water budget. Moreover, afforestation with alien species may decrease the groundwater table and low flows due to their higher demand for water compared to indigenous species. Finally, also the expansion of settlements and urbanisation lead to surface sealings and increased surface runoff. All these changes thus strongly modify hydrological processes and may lead for instance to larger flood events or to a reduced water availability during dry seasons. This workshop welcomes contributions that analyze the impact of such land use changes on the water cycle, on hydrological extremes such as floods and low flows and on the overall water availability. We encourage contributions that discuss issues from developing countries.

#6 Water resources management and the competition/balance between humans and ecosystems (eco-hydrology)

Conveners: Zongxue Xu, Alberto Montanari

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICWRS,Panta Rhei

With the rapid development of economics and society during the past decades, water resources management has become a great challenge for most of the countries in the world, especially the countries located in the arid and semi-arid regions. How to allocate the limited water resources to human society without prejudice to ecosystems, and make a good balance between humankind and natural systems becomes a great challenge worldwide presently. Simulation of ecohydrological processes and sustainable water resources management have become very important fields of research in hydrology and water resources. Due to the complexity and multidisciplinary features, great progresses on the methodology and theoretical basis are still expected and need to be studied widely. With the platform provided by the IAHS Assembly, related issues on the analysis and simulation of ecohydrological processes, sustainable water resources management considering the balance between humans and ecosystems will be discussed widely.

Contributions are welcome on:

  • Interaction between ecological system and hydrological processes in arid area
  • Evolution mechanism of ecological system and hydrological cycle
  • Relationship between ecohydrological processes and available water resources
  • Relationship between the health of ecological system and hydrological processes
  • Health of ecological system and rivers
  • Relationship between land ecological system and aquatic ecosystem
  • Response of aquatic system to land uses
  • Mechanism of ecohydrological processes under different climate and vegetation conditions
  • Water resources management and balance between humans and ecosystems

#7 Measurements in the 21st century: innovation in hydrological observations

Conveners: Kelly Caylor, Rolf Hut, Salvatore Manfreda, Melody Sandells, Flavia Tauro, Christopher Neale, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Dominique Bérod 

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: MOXXI WG, ICRS, ICSIH, ICSH, Panta Rhei, WMO

The workshop will revolve around environmental monitoring approaches boosted by the use of innovative technologies for the observation of the different compartments of the hydrological cycle. Scientists that build their own instruments or use existing equipment/experimental methodologies in innovative ways are highly encouraged to participate in the workshop and share ideas and solutions with fellow hydrologists. Innovative observational approaches in all realms of hydrology, including surface and subsurface processes, ecohydrology, snow and ice, plant physiology, water quality assessment and management, and remote sensing will be presented through oral, poster, and demonstrative presentations. Contributions will address the key issue of providing accurate and reliable measurements at different spatial and temporal scales, in ungauged sites, and in challenging environments.

#8 Environmental and artificial tracers as indicators in hydrology

Conveners: Christine Stumpp, Przemyslaw Wachniew, Pang Zhonzhe, Maki Tsujimura

Supporting commission(s) / organisations:ICT

Environmental and artificial tracers provide insights into functioning of different compartments of the hydrological cycle and assist the development of their conceptual and numerical models. They are used to fingerprint the sources of water and contaminants, to trace their flow pathways, to quantify fluxes and transport parameters and to infer transit times through soils, aquifers and catchments. Tracer techniques are indispensable for assessing the dynamic nature of human influences on the quantitative and qualitative status of surface water and groundwater resources. Contributions are invited that demonstrate the application and recent developments of tracer techniques in field studies or modelling in all areas of the surface and sub-surface hydrology.

#9 Innovative ICT tools for water management and science

Conveners: Laura Foglia, Rudy Rossetto, Mary Hill, Melody Sandells, Berit Arheimer

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICGW, ICSIH,Panta Rhei

The importance of developing innovative Information and Communication Technology tools has been recently widely recognized in both water management and open science. The needs of including the stakeholders (water providers, customers, policy makers, scientists) in the full water management decision process (from model development to decision making) has become more evident. As an example, the European Union specifically supports participatory approaches and evidence-based decision making in water resources management (see e.g. the ICT4Water cluster). In parallel, user-driven virtual water-science laboratories are being developed to encourage more openness in science. The aim is to facilitate sharing of new findings earlier in the discovery process, and to ensure reproducibility of computational experiments.
This session encourages contributions from all over the world where advanced ICT tools have been either developed or applied in an innovative way to support stakeholder involvement and discussion, either for water resources management decisions or news forms of research. The expected ICT tools presented can include:

  • Development and experience from using new hydrological software to facilitate water management or research.
  • Innovative ideas on how to enhance participation in water resources management or virtual water-science laboratories (for example, innovative web-applications).
  • Data sharing solutions to facilitate data exchange between researchers, stakeholders, and policy makers.
  • ICT tools to better connect different water sectors, such as the well-known water-food-energy nexus.
  • ICT tools to overcome geographical distance between scientists in comparative hydrology and to share joint protocols for model inter-comparison projects.
  • ICT tools to communicate what water and other natural resources mean to people in terms of survival, economics, beauty and enjoyment.

#10 Prediction in ungauged basins

Conveners: Yan Huang, Thomas Skaugen, Atilio Castellarin, Christopher Neale, Maria Jose Polo

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICSW, ICSH,ICRS

Although significant advances were made during the previous scientific decade of IAHS, Predictions in ungauged basins (PUB), the topic remains highly relevant, necessary and inspiring. Hydrological models are called to address, apart from PUB at varying spatiotemporal scales, the hydrological effects of climate change and change of the human systems (society). Advances in PUB will hence greatly benefit many of the emerging issues to be addressed by the hydrologic community. The hydrological models for PUB need to be less dependent on calibrated conceptual relationships and more dependent on better physical understanding of the governing processes at the catchment scale. Contributions are invited to this symposium that address all aspects of predictions in ungauged basins, from classic regionalization strategies of model parameters to optimal use of available (new) information, new modelling concepts and model philosophies.

#11 Modelling hydrological processes for prediction under change

Conveners: Hafzullah Aksoy, Bellie Sivakumar, Yangbo Chen, Hossein Tabari, Martijn J. Booij

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICSW, ICRS, ICSH,Panta Rhei

Hydrological cycle is made of complex nonlinear processes that often change widely with space and time. Within the hydrological cycle are precipitation, evaporation, transpiration, infiltration, percolation, surface water flow, subsurface flow, groundwater flow, etc. These processes, which are all under change, indicate that the hydrological cycle itself changes. Changes in hydrological processes can be either fast or slow, temporary or permanent, gradual or sudden, natural or man-made, etc. From a practical point of view, hydrological behaviour under change must be foreseen appropriately in order to design hydraulic structures. The design must be economical; neither over- nor under-designed. In hydrology, this is possible by prediction/ estimation/forecasting models. Better known the past behaviour of the processes, more accurate predictions will be obtained by the models.

A workshop on modelling hydrological processes under change is expected to offer important inputs and guidelines for the three targets of Panta Rhei by (i) understanding the change in hydrological processes, (ii) developing models for estimation and prediction, and (iii) practicing the developed models for societial use. It is aimed at publishing a peer-review opinion paper within the scope of Prediction under Change Working Group (PuC WG) of Panta Rhei afterwards by contributions from Workshop participants. The following topics are expected to be covered:

  • The role of data in prediction under change
  • Models’ help in providing better prediction under change
  • Gaps and shortcomings in existing hydrological models designed for prediction
  • Incorporation of change into hydrological models used for prediction
  • Fast/slow change
  • Society affected by change in hydrological regime
  • Society reaction against change
  • Combination of in-situ and remote sensing information for improving prediction under change
  • Key sources of uncertainty in prediction under change
  • Prediction under uncertainty
  • Influence of change in hydrological regimes on water-related disasters

#12 Probabilistic forecasts and land-atmosphere interactions to advance hydrological predictions

Conveners: Christopher J. White, Maria-Helena Ramos, Aaron Boone, Eva Boegh, Harald Kunstmann, Koray K. Yilmaz, Richard Petrone, Kaniska Mallick, Frederique Seyler, Thomas Skaugen, Alberto Viglione

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICCLAS, HEPEX, GEWEX-GLASS, ICSW, ICWRS, ICRS,Panta Rhei

The roles of land surface states on short-, medium- and long-range timescales are emerging components of climate and hydrological forecasting and are increasingly becoming part of operational probabilistic forecasting systems and water management models. With horizons ranging from a few days to several seasons ahead, probabilistic forecasts are used by public sectors for flood and drought forecasting and in industries, such as agriculture, forestry, transport, energy, health, insurance, tourism and infrastructure. In developing countries, long-range seasonal forecasts are important to better allocate resources available to prevent natural disasters and to develop adaptive risk management. With these longer prediction timescales, land surface processes modelling and observation are becoming increasingly important. Given that the land surface states and processes provide the lower boundary conditions in the predictive models, representing the impacts of soil moisture, vegetation ecophysiology, and dynamics on evapotranspiration and surface energy balance is crucial for improving the prognostic capacity of the models. Additionally, improving predictability of weather extremes at short to medium ranges is essential to better assess hydrological impacts of extreme events and integrate forecasting tools to techniques addressing today’s vulnerability of society to extreme weather events.

This ICCLAS-led symposium will bring together researchers, operational forecasters, practitioners and end-users to discuss the latest developments in hydrological forecasting and their application across the water management sector. The symposium will be organised into three sessions addressing i) the role of probabilistic forecasting in scenario assessment and decision making, ii) the modelling of land surface-atmosphere interactions to quantify and improve hydrologic predictability and iii) the impact of new sensors and E/O missions in developing ‘quasi-continuous’ (space and time) surface scheme for stochastic representations. This symposium will include:

  • Evaluation of probabilistic climate and hydrological forecast skill and quality, including ensemble verification;
  • Understanding sources of predictability (including large-scale climate variability and modes, weather regimes and dynamics) and uncertainty (including ensemble generation and design, as well as improved modelling approaches and techniques);
  • Presentation and discussion of multi-model combinations and grand ensemble forecasts in hydro-meteorological prediction;
  • Investigating the value of hydrometeorological observation networks, remote sensing, and data assimilation methods to improve the representation of land surface and atmosphere states in hydrometeorological modelling;
  • Discussion of the role of land–atmosphere interactions, vegetation ecophysiology, and modelling to improve hydrometeorological forecasting;
  • Implementation of operational hydrological forecasting systems;
  • Demonstration of ‘seamless’ hydrological forecasting on short-, medium- and long-range timescales (including downscaling and statistical processing approaches);
  • Use of hydrological forecasts for water resources management and disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities in developing countries;
  • Creation of user-relevant climate and hydrological information to address the needs of end-users, including the use of climate services and outlooks for risk-based decision-making.

The aims of the symposium is to better understand and improve hydrologic predictability on a range of timescales, and to promote the dissemination and practical use of hydrological forecasts to enable user communities to take advantage of ensemble forecasts and make better decisions based on them. We further aim to capitalise on the expertise of the hydrological research communities to address issues of importance to the WMO Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). Particularly, we invite presentations from the WWRP/WCRP Sub-seasonal to Seasonal (S2S) project that utilise the newly established S2S database, and from the HEPEX research and practice community.

#13 Extreme events: links between science and practice

Conveners: Ennio Ferrari, David Hannah, M. Carmen Llasat, Enrica Caporali, Radu Drobot, Jasna Plavsic, Yves Tramblay, Elena Volpi, Abou Amani, Anil Mishra

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICSW, ICSH, Panta Rhei, UNESCO-IHP

Scientists coping with water-related disasters associated to extreme events mainly aim at building procedures for reducing the vulnerability of people and assets exposed to high risks. Nevertheless, the link between science and practice mostly suffers for gaps, inconsistencies and time delays. Some strategies for efficiently evaluating and managing risks involve adjustments to current activities, while others require transformation or fundamental change. Serious efforts for correctly transferring risk information from scientists to end-users at any spatial scale are expected. Interactions among researchers, stakeholders and practitioners should evolve into the spreading of a real risk awareness among people, concerning preparedness to absorb, recover from, or adapt to actual or potential adverse water-related events. Connections with government and public agencies, local authorities and communities, voluntary groups and individuals have to be strengthened. Further efforts for understanding how information is interpreted in warning communication to local systems and possible potential barriers in embedding in local practice are needed.

The topic will include contributions on: analyses of extreme events at timescales relevant to decision-making; use of remote sensing for advance in understanding and predicting extremes; reduction of uncertainty in estimating extreme events at ungauged sites; advances in transforming raw data to informed decisions; strategies from hazard and risk maps to risk management plans; transfer of knowledge to environmental protection agencies and water utilities; monitoring and communication of extreme events for resources and information sharing; prevention and education of society for improving resilience against extreme events; interaction with local stakeholders for ensuring assistance to vulnerable people. The aims of the topic are to promote interdisciplinary researches and integrated approaches for coping with water-related risks, to discuss effectiveness of scientific outcomes for risk reduction, and to improve knowledge building and communication on extreme events for sharing of resources and information to develop local level resilience.

#14 Advances in cold-region hydrological models: Integration of process understanding and application to climate and landcover changes

Conveners: Tobias Jonas, Tim Link, Richard Essery, Marie Dumont, Eva Boegh, Magdalena Rogger

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICSIH, ICCLAS,ICWRS

In mountainous and high-latitude regions of the world, hydrology and ecology are dominated by snowfall that becomes runoff and streamflow in the spring and early summer. In these regions, recent climate conditions have led to changes in precipitation, soil moisture, and streamflow that are having an impact on water supplies, ecosystems, and agriculture. Land cover changes driven by human activities, natural disturbances, and species changes are likewise altering snowpack, soil moisture, evaporative flux, and runoff dynamics. Advances in fundamental snow science are essential to understand both the impacts of landcover and both climate trends and variability on hydrological systems. Given the non-linear nature of these feedbacks, for hydrological models to project environmental changes accurately, detailed process representations are essential. This session will bring together experimental and modeling experts to address a broad range of topics that are important to improve current cold-region hydrological models for climate and landcover change studies.

We are encouraging presentations on all aspects of measuring and modeling snow processes, with emphasis on the following specific topics:

  • Impacts of climatic variability and projected changes on water resources
  • Impacts of landcover changes on snow patterns and processes
  • Snowcover modeling in vegetated and complex terrain
  • Interactions between snowcover, soil, and biotic processes
  • Scaling strategies to link microscale properties to macroscale processes
  • Representation of small-scale variations at coarser modeling grid scales
  • The role of long-term hydrologic observatories in advancing snow process understanding

#15 Operational snowmelt runoff modelling: Advances and prospects for water management

Conveners: Alexander Gelfan, Tobias Jonas, Jeff Deems, Vincent Vionnet, Harald Kunstmann, Koray Yilmaz

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICSIH,ICCLAS

The storage and release of water from seasonal snowcovers constitutes a critical component of the annual hydrological cycle in many parts of the world. In these regions, monitoring of snow water resources, prediction, and forecasting of snowmelt runoff are vital tools for water managers concerned with floods, droughts, water supply, and/or hydropower generation. Many aspects of snowmelt models are currently advancing, but for operational models to be successful, a full suite of interlinked methods is required. Therefore, this session will bring together those who develop and work with different aspects of operational snowmelt modelling. We welcome contributions related to topics such as, but not limited to, improved meteorological forcing data, assimilation of snow observations, coupled model systems, model applications for flood risk assessment, and long-term forecasting of the spring freshet. Special attention will be focused on examples of snowmelt models that are integrated into water management systems around the world.

#16 Water quality and sediment transport issues in surface water

Conveners: Gil Mahe, David Hannah, Michael Stone, Kate Heal, A.B. Gupta

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICSW, ICCE, ICWQ,Panta Rhei

Sediment transport and water quality are modified by human activities all along the river courses. If a lot of research is done on pristine basins and large dams trapping, little is known on what is the quality of the waters flowing to the sea. Most of the rivers around the world have been more or less equipped with hydraulic infrastructures, even in developing countries. How river managements impact on water quality and sediment transport from the upper basins to the coastal areas is not well known in many countries, especially in the developing world, while this may have strong and long-lasting effects on coastal geomorphology and ecosystems. In a time where many people try to justify the coastal recession that is observed in many shores of the world, from the sea level increase and thus from “global change”, the knowledge of the real sediment transports to the sea could bring new perspectives, as the reduction of the sediment transfer to the shores certainly participates in this recession. One of the associated questions is what is the part of the human impact on these processes? At what speed these changes take place?

For this workshop we invite communications about water quality and sediment transport monitoring and modelling, especially for large river basins, with a focus on the relationships between estuarine river systems and coastal areas in terms of water quality and sediment load. We also wait for papers dealing with comparisons of diverse methods for estimating the amount of sediment released to the sea and its variability in time. We also expect papers relating collaborations between research and development agencies, especially those dealing with coastal management.

#17 Long-term evolution in catchment water quality

Convenors: Per Stålnacke, Xiaohong Chen, Barry Croke, Elango Lakshmann

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICWQ, ICWRS,Panta Rhei

We currently lack a framework for analysing and learning from case-studies of how different water qualities evolve across different catchments. A temporal framework for analysing the evolution of water quality in catchments is proposed, moving from Phase I (low human population and pristine water quality), through Phase II (increasing resource exploitation and human population resulting in water quality deterioration) to Phase III (reduced intensity in human activity, either through economic collapse or environmental policy) following which water quality improves to a new “state” in Phase IV. Contributions are invited to this symposium which: a) analyse long-term catchment water quality datasets using this novel framework, b) demonstrate underlying catchment system dynamics relevant to water quality or c) focus on conservative and reactive tracers as indicators giving evidence for the response times of the different Phases I-IV. It is expected that different water quality concerns will follow different trajectories depending on underlying geomorphological and socioeconomic conditions of individual catchments, and may also be more or less sensitive to climate non-stationarity and land-use policy. Of particular interest will be the analysis of the recovery seen in water quality in Phase IV, and understanding what natural and social factors determine the degree of recovery.

#18 Changing biogeochemistry of aquatic systems in the Anthropocene: inter-comparison of data and models for predicting water quality

Conveners: Matt Hipsey, Michael Rode

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICWQ,Panta Rhei

This workshop aims to explore current and future biogeochemical budgets and dominant pathways as systems continue to go through degradation or recovery, using intensive modelling or field studies exploring hydro-biogeochemical process dynamics. A systematic approach is required for predicting water quality under conditions of climate change and land use change. Currently water quality assessment has been largely driven by catchment-specific case-studies and models, making comparison of approaches and outputs problematic. Contributions are invited to this workshop that compare water quality datasets and/or modelling approaches for assessing the response of water quality to a changing environment. Ideally, a model intercomparison using the same catchment datasets will be organised through the Panta Rhei Working Group “Changing Biogeochemistry of Aquatic Systems in the Anthropocene” and will build upon the WG’s workshop in China beforehand.

#19 Advancements in modeling and characterization of aquifer

Conveners: Alberto Bellin, Corinna Abesser, Aldo Fiori, Muhterem Demiroglu

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICGW,ICSW

Modeling flow and transport in aquifers poses significant challenges because of the endemic paucity of relevant information to build effective models. Heterogeneity of natural formations is a strong controlling factor for transport of solutes and other agents in the subsurface environment, which is hard to fully characterize due to the constraints imposed by subsurface inaccessibility and the often-inadequate resolution of traditional exploration methodologies. Boundary conditions are also a significant source of uncertainty, often disregarded, in particular at large scales. Recent advances of in situ characterization techniques and modeling capabilities, both in term of model conceptualization and mathematical representation, opens new perspectives in assessing the status of groundwater resources at all scales, from local to global.

This session deals with new methodologies to better assess and predict, trough characterization and modeling, the status of groundwater resources at all scales. We seek contributions dealing with theoretical, methodological and applicative aspects of subsurface characterization and modeling the Earth critical zone, by using innovative approaches to assess, and possibly reduce, large uncertainty still plaguing simulation results. Data assimilation and inference methodologies are other aspects of the modeling chain that are considered here, such as all aspects related to modeling in support to risk analysis and the evaluation of system resilience and capability to metabolize stressors. Besides characterization and modeling specifically tailored to subsurface water resources, we are interested in contributions dealing with parametrization of groundwater in meteorological and Earth system models. Analyses conducted at local, catchment and global scales are all welcome.

#20 Methodologies for risk assessment of groundwater contamination

Conveners: Felipe de Barros, Antonio Zarlenga, Alraune Zech

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICGW

Assessing the impact of contamination in groundwater systems is a crucial step towards decision making. Decision makers are interested in determining whether or not a contaminated site should be remediated and if humans are exposed to pollutants. For such reasons, modeling methodologies need to provide reliable predictions and quantify the corresponding uncertainties. This session welcomes contributions that develop novel methodologies to model the fate and transport of contaminants in the subsurface environment within the context of risk analysis.

#21 Quantifying uncertainty in hydrological systems: A Bayesian point of view

Conveners: Dmitri Kavetski, Jasper Vrugt, Mark Thyer, Lucy Marshall, Ashish Sharma

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICSH

Past decades have seen a flurry of activity in Bayesian applications in hydrology. These applications include those to quantify model and parameter uncertainty, develop alternatives to reduce structural uncertainty through sensible averaging procedures, to new alternatives of defining uncertainty by relaxing the framework for specifying model likelihoods. Additionally, hydrologists are starting to adopt data assimilation as a new way to both reduce predictive uncertainty, and also to assess where assumed model structures may not be fully adequate. This session invites contributions involving new and innovative ways of using Bayesian methods for the type of hydrological problems mentioned above, as well as other emerging problems that such techniques have been put for use in.

#22 Nonstationarity in Hydrology: Theories, Methods and Applications

Conveners: Ebru Eris, Krzysztof Kochanek, Seth Westra, Yuanfang Chen, Dong Wang

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICSH,Panta Rhei

In the past decades, many studies have indicated that hydrological records show some type of nonstationarity such as trends, cycles and shifts. Changing in our climate, human effects in river basins, the effect of low-frequency climatic variability have been suggested to be the main representations of nonstationarity. In order to overcome nonstationarity in hydrological series, several approaches have been proposed. With this workshop, contributions are invited to present efforts to enhance understanding of nonstationarity in hydrological time series, the possible causes of nonstationarity in a hydrological series, methods and techniques for the decision of a significant trend, projections of nonstationarity for the future, statistical tests adapt in the presence of irregular long-term change, redefinition of the approaches ad concepts such as return period and hydrological risk in existence of nonstationarity, hydrological design methods and applications considering changing environments.

#23 Multivariate statistics for hydrological application

Conveners: Geoff Pegram, Andras Bardossy, Amir AghaKouchak, Salvatore Grimaldi

Supporting commission(s) / organisations:ICSH

The statistical description of natural events frequently needs a joint modeling of several random phenomena. In the last ten years a significant improvements of multivariate statistical tools opened the venue to new application and analysis of hydrological data. Copula function is one example, indeed it allows to model several continuous random variables, independently of their marginal distributions, and since its development new hydrological design procedures were introduced and new interesting studies on drought, rainfall, runoff, and regional studies were possible.

The purpose of this Workshop is to collect contributions on spatial, temporal and other multivariate statistical techniques and their use for the improvement of hydrological modelling.

#24 Stochastic hydrology: simulation and disaggregation models

Conveners: Demetris Koutsoyiannis, Uwe Haberlandt, Andreas Langousis, Yuanfang Chen, Elena Volpi

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: ICSH

Stochastic hydrology offers very efficient tools for the characterization of the relevant processes in hydroclimatic systems, e.g., for hydrologic design, hydroclimatic systems modeling and forecasting and water resources management. The application of the theory of stochastic processes is needed to achieve a faithful and consistent representation of natural processes and characterize the inherent uncertainty in probabilistic terms. This allows, e.g., to simulate synthetic series representing the relevant characteristics of the processes – the main statistical properties across multiple spatial and temporal scales – for assessing the hydrological impact in a changing environment.

This session call for papers developing and discussing stochastics tools to systematically deal with uncertainty and space-time variability, for simulation or disaggregation purposes of hydroclimatic variables such as, e.g., precipitation, temperature, streamflow and soil properties. Contributions are invited, for instance, on the improvement of stochastic modeling in hydrology, innovative techniques for identifying model structure, calibrating parameters, assessing uncertainties etc.

#25 Graduate Schools in Water Sciences

Conveners: Valérie Borrell, Eric Servat, Denis Hughes, Claudio Caponi, Youssef Filali , Lisa Guppy, Nidhi Nagabhatla, Christophe Cudennec, Benjamin Ngounou Ngatcha

Supporting commission(s) / organisations: Education WG, WMO, UNESCO-IHP, UNU

Vision and main goals of the Workshop:
The Graduate School (GS) in Water Sciences provides a continuous “Water” pathway over the Master’s and PhD programmes. The Graduate School team benefits the “networked” approach to water-related disciplines at PhD and Master’s levels, because of its proximity with the Research Laboratories. The team (teaching staff and students) benefits directly from this scientific knowledge production and access to a truly international thematic network. The Water Sciences theme makes a meaningful contribution to the production of cutting-edge interdisciplinary knowledge. Furthermore, the quality standard of the programmes are insured by a quality management process providing the Graduate School with a set of clear, transparent procedures governing admissions, supervision, degree award and career guidance.

The goal of the Workshop is (i) to assess the state of the art of the various Graduate School patterns in North and South alike, and (ii) to make recommendations on how to build a Graduate School in Water Sciences in so different contexts. These recommendations aim at allowing any university (North and South) to move from a classic Master’s degree and PhD continuum to a Graduate School taking advantage of the existing research teams and linking with current and forthcoming socio-economic expectations at local, national and international levels.

Structure and outcome of the Workshop:
A synthetic note, 2-3 pages maximum, summarizing your vision of a Graduate School in Water Sciences has to be sent to Valerie Borrell before February 14th 2017.

During the Workshop, there will be time slots allocated for oral and poster contributions.

The note has to be organized around 6 suggested items:

  • Skills and knowledge acquisition through an interdisciplinary training based on a scientific approach and opened to society requests,
  • Master’s Degree and PhD continuum taking into account various blending of learning methods to reach a high level training, 
  • International opening,
  • Close links with scientific research to guarantee cutting-edge teaching,
  • Interactions with economic and social challenges about water issues,
  • Any other item you would consider as essential to establish a Graduate School in Water Sciences.


The Workshop session will be convened following 3 stages:

  • Presentation of the selected Graduate Schools in Water Sciences.
  • Comparison of the Graduate Schools in Water Sciences. This synthesis will be done by the Workshop organizers. It will put an emphasis on the various existing patterns, the links between specificities and contexts, their strengths and weaknesses, etc. There will be an overall oral presentation followed by a discussion. 
  • Collaborative session aiming at establishing guidelines to establish a Graduate School in Water Sciences in connection with all specific issues mentioned above. .


The Workshop expected deliverables are:

  1. Having “on line” all contributing papers sent to the organizers: on IAHS Web site (Education Group) and IM2E Web site,
  2. Submission of a paper to Hydrological Sciences Journal. This paper will summarize discussions and put forward conclusion and guidelines to establish Graduate Schools in Water Sciences. It will associate all the Workshop contributors.

#26 Facilitating Scientific contributions in water diplomacy and cooperation processes

Conveners: Blanca Elena Jiménez-Cisneros, Abou Amani, Nicole Webley, Renee Gift 

Supporting commission(s) / organizations: UNESCO IHP, UNESCO Category 2 Institutes and Centres

UNESCO may cover the abstract processing charge for applicants for Session #26 upon request and pre-submission of the abstract to Renée Gift ( and Nicole Webley (, with priority given to students as well as individuals from developing and least developed countries.

With 40% of the world’s population living in transboundary rivers and lake basins and more than 90% living in countries that share basins (276 transboundary river basins and 592 transboundary aquifers identified so far), transboundary water and water diplomacy cooperation are critical for sustainable and peaceful development and ensuring water security.

Water cooperation is needed because aquifer systems, lakes, rivers and river basins do not necessarily follow state borders nor are adapted to the interests of different users. It is important to analyze conflicts of interests and challenges to cooperation between riparian countries and various water users to understand and promote the advantages of cooperation for sustainable solutions benefiting for all.

Closely intertwined with water cooperation, but with a focus on political and or decision making aspects, is water diplomacy. It is a dynamic process that enables countries, users, local and national governments to prevent, resolve or manage conflicts, and negotiate arrangements or agreements on the allocation and management of water resources. It seeks to develop reasonable, sustainable, fair and peaceful solutions to water allocation and management while promoting cooperation and collaboration around water and beyond. Water diplomacy can open up the cooperation dialogue to multiple stakeholders, including municipalities, provinces, civil society and minority groups. Water diplomacy and water cooperation involve a series of skill sets, such as hydrologists, environmentalists, economists, scientists, lawyers, policy makers and political scientists to the negotiation table with diplomats and decision-makers.

Evidence based decision making is critical for promoting water cooperation and water diplomacy and for developing and implementing water agreements for sustainable and peaceful management of transboundary water resources. Contributions, particularly interdisciplinary submissions are invited, that investigate the best practices, challenges and gaps and the role of science in water diplomacy and cooperation with a view of providing its future direction and implications for water security.

  • Effective mechanisms for communicating science for water diplomacy and cooperation processes.
  • Innovative ways of involving local communities, civil society and groups for example indigenous communities in water diplomacy and or cooperation efforts.
  • Exploring best practices, challenges, emerging trends and future prospects in water cooperation/ diplomacy  
  • Identifying the potential of science to enhance and promote water cooperation and provide solutions in water diplomacy
  • Data needs and challenges in water cooperation/ diplomacy