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Integrated Land and Water Resources Management

The challenge

Water Resources Management is one pillar of sustainable economic development as it assures the safe supply of a basic resource to society and to ecosystems. It is related to various sectors like agriculture, industry, domestic water supply & sanitation, hydropower, health and environment. Some of the key challenges of our times are those related to growing water scarcity, pollution, floods and droughts. Global climate, demographic and economic changes add further pressure to these challenges, in particular in tropical and sub-tropical regions. In almost all aspects of water resources management, strong linkages exist with land management: Agriculture is the largest water user worldwide but is also a major polluter; large scale land use changes impact the hydrology of river basins and thus the downstream water availability or flood risks; the quality and availability of water in a basin determines potential downstream land uses, for instance irrigation or nature protection. In general, at the river basin scale, we are dealing with highly complex systems determined by multiple interactions between natural, socio-economic and governance issues and elements. Thus, any viable solution to the pressing problems related to water resources requires an integrated approach considering the interaction of water with other vital resources but also considering the close interactions of the natural with the social subsystems. The basic role of science is to develop and to transfer adequate knowledge to help societies facing these challenges.

Goal of research

Our basic interest is to provide scientific support and research results in order to develop viable solutions for the above mentioned challenges which societies face while managing their water, land and related resources at the river basin scale. We want to provide answers to typical questions which arise when managing river basins:

  • What is the current status of the resources and what determines the status?
  • What are the options to maintain or improve the status of water resources and what are the impacts of different measures?
  • How can we implement measures within the existing regional socio- economic, institutional setup and how can we create an enabling environment to improve river basin management?

Scope of research
Topics and tools

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