Water Science Alliance
The aim of the Water Science Alliance is to bring together researchers from different disciplines, such as hydrology, limnology, geology, meteorology, engineering, as well as economic and social sciences. Within this platform, the interdisciplinary community of "water scientists" aims to intensify the dialogue with stakeholders from policy-making and practice, in order to be able to better address some of the grand challenges emerging from the pressures of global change.
The Water Science Alliance has therefore developed a range of tools, such as
- an online research platform on researcher groups, projects, training programmes etc. (www.watersciencealliance.org/online-portal)
- the annual Water Research Horizon Conference bringing together scientists from all fields to discuss new ideas and approaches to address future challenges, and to launch research activities thereon
- a Water Science Blog (www.waterscienceblog.org)
Foundation of the national "Water Science Alliance" as a registered association
The foundation assembly of the national "Water Science Alliance" as a registered association took place on February 26th, 2013 in Berlin. More information here.
Understanding the essence of life on our planet
Within the past 50 to 100 years water demand has increased 50 to 100-fold. Due to a growing world population, rising economic status and major changes in land use a continuation of this trend can be expected for the coming decades. An ever growing number of people is subject to the threat of water scarcity. The pollution of ground- and surface waters exacerbates the imminent water crisis. At the same time, water is the basis for the functioning of ecosystems, and it is a major driver of cultural and socio-economic development. Water influences our climate and triggers natural hazards such as floods and droughts.
Increasing complexity of water problems
The complex interactions of local, regional and global processes as well as the close interlinkages between anthropogenic and hydrological systems lead to increasingly complex problems that pose a great challenge to water research. Besides the disciplinary technological solutions and scientific developments at hand, a more coordinated and interdisciplinary approach through close cooperation among the different fields of water research is necessary.
A New Perspective in Water Research
In order to support the water research community in developing solutions for safeguarding the availability of water resources for a growing global population, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, has started in 2009 to develop a concept called the Water Science Alliance. This concept shows ways of how to strengthen and bundle the existing water research competences along the lines of overarching research questions, and make the water research community more visible on the national as well as the international level.
Defining the Grand Challenges
In the frame of the 1st Water Research Horizon Conference, which took place in July 2010 in Berlin, initial research fields were defined and discussed among approx. 200 conference participants from the water community. A White Paper on the grand challenges in water research presents these research fields, which are to be handled with priority by the water science community in Germany.