IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Hydrology and society: Phenomena emerging from the interactions and feedbacks between human and water systems

Giuliano Di Baldassarre1, Yongping Wei2, Elisa Savelli1, Marlies Barendrecht3, Sina Khatami4, Xu Li5, Pieter van Oel6, Jimmy O'Keeffe7, Nura Jafar Shanono8, and James S. (Jay) Famiglietti9
Giuliano Di Baldassarre et al.
  • 1Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS), Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden (giuliano.dibaldassarre@geo.uu.se)
  • 2School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia
  • 3The Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 4Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 5Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
  • 6Water Resources Management, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • 7School of History and Geography, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
  • 8Department of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Bayero University Kano, Nigeria
  • 9School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

Water resources management and hydrological risk reduction require anticipation of emergent (unexpected or unintended) phenomena as fundamental dynamics of complex human-water systems. Explaining and characterizing these sociohydrological phenomena is a central focus of Panta Rhei–Everything Flows, the Scientific Decade of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (2013-2022). Here we use System Dynamics’ archetypes to describe and classify socio-hydrological phenomena emerging from nonlinear interactions between human and water systems. Archetypes illustrate dynamic behaviours that are frequently observed across (seemingly) different systems, contexts or problem settings. They include intended or unintended actions and reactions with explicit recognition of delays in reaction times. Reinforcing (or positive) and balancing (or negative) feedback loops and system boundaries are key elements for describing archetypes. In the study of human-water systems, the most common archetypes are Limits to Growth, Fixes that Backfire, Success to the Successful, and Tragedy of the Commons. Using system archetypes to generalize the phenomena in coupled human-water systems allows for the comparison among case studies along with the integration of multiple dimensions, thereby contributing to the development of new theories which provide common causes and explanations. We first present several classes of sociohydrological phenomena that have been explored over the past decade, and then discuss their role in explaining the dynamics of human-water systems. Finally, we engage with the implications for integrated water resources management, hydrological risk reduction, and water governance.

How to cite: Di Baldassarre, G., Wei, Y., Savelli, E., Barendrecht, M., Khatami, S., Li, X., van Oel, P., O'Keeffe, J., Shanono, N. J., and Famiglietti, J. S. (.: Hydrology and society: Phenomena emerging from the interactions and feedbacks between human and water systems, IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022, Montpellier, France, 29 May–3 Jun 2022, IAHS2022-363, https://doi.org/10.5194/iahs2022-363, 2022.