Socio-hydrology studies the interactions between society and the water cycle. Human influence on the water cycle (or ‘on the earth’) has been intensifying for centuries now, while the availability and quality of water more and more influences societies. In view of new and ongoing global environmental changes and socio-economic transitions, studying the historic interaction between society and water has received increasing attention. Knowledge about the past sheds light on hydrological extremes of importance, such as droughts and floods, providing lessons for the future.
Such improved methodological understanding on historic changes is essential to guide future sustainable river basin development. A consistent consideration of regional and global sustainability boundaries in the initiation and permission of local initiatives is thereby needed to support policy making and investments. However, up scaling of local initiatives in the context of multi-functional landscapes remains a major challenge. Only through consistent up- and downscaling of land and water availability and demand, will development within regional sustainability boundaries (‘safe operating space’) be possible. Until now, the dynamics and interactions of local land and water development are rarely considered in scenarios for regional planning.
In this session both theoretical and practical studies on the interaction between hydrology and society, past and present, will be presented. Topics include:
• Understanding the present and historic linkages between society and hydrology, using observations and modelling;
• Characterization of boundaries (interaction hydrology, hydrogeology, politics, economy, socio-anthropology – and their dynamics in time and space) ;
• Methods, models and experience for up and downscaling of local measures and practices;
• Relevant scales for up-and downscaling for water resources management
The session aims at initiating a consistent dialogue, further consolidation of methods and the specification of upcoming research needs.