Due to ongoing human population growth, increasing use per capita and unequal spatial and temporal distribution of resources, human water demands frequently exceed the carrying capacity of aquatic and wetland ecosystems. As a result, over-exploitation of surface water and groundwater resources occurs, leading to shortages and making water a contested resource. Freshwater resources are further reduced by pollution. Some 2 million tons of waste per day are disposed of in surface water.
Water Systems and Global Change focuses on the process of matching supply and demand of information and knowledge in multi-stakeholder platforms in river-basin policy and decision making. It relies on the proper knowledge of river hydrology, river-basin dynamics, storage of water, and water quality and ecology issues. In this way the availability of water and the demands for agricultural use, stock breeding, nature conservation, hydropower generation, shipping, industry and household consumption are specified. The tools enable identification of the alternative ways (like technical measures, regulations, setting objectives) to balance the different interests involved in the river basin.
Students can learn more about the education and research programme related to this discipline by visiting the website of the Water Systems and Global Change group.