ICHWF Human-Water Feedbacks


Heidi Kreibich Germany

Vice President

Anne van Loon Netherlands

Vice President

Saket Pande Netherlands

Vice President

Tobias Krüger Germany


Melissa Haeffner USA

The result of the IAHS Administrative Plenary vote held at IUGG Assembly in Berlin, July 2023, 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.

Role within IAHS 

The ICHWF will have a cross-sectional character and interact with all commissions and working groups of the IAHS. It will complement 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 leadership team comprises the president Heidi Kreibich, three Vice-Presidents Anne van Loon, Saket Pande, Tobias Krüger and the secretary Melissa Haeffner.

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" (Kreibich et al. 2023, Panta Rhei benchmark dataset: socio-hydrological data of paired events of floods and droughts. ESSD, https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-15-2009-2023[HK1])

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