Helmholtz Water Network

Research Platform 6: Complex water management in the Circum-Mediterranean region

water scarcity

Photo: ZAIAG

Water Scarcity and its effects

Today, one third of the world’s population lives in water-stressed countries. By 2025, this rate is expected to rise two-thirds. One of the most imperiled regions in the world concerning present and future water scarcity is the Circum-Mediterranean region. This region is characterized by an extremely fast growing population in the North-African and Middle Eastern countries with an excepted tripling in food demand over the next 50 years.

Water is often the limiting factor for crop production, and consequently for food supply. Simultaneously, the economies of most southern European states, which today strongly depend on agriculture and tourism, will face fundamental changes, if the available water resources will decrease by more than 50% within the next 500-100 years, as indicated by the most recent climate projections.

Research focus

The imminent challenges related to water scarcity in the the Circum-Mediterranean area call for reliable long term and coherent perspectives, as well as the development of adequate water use technologies and management tools, in order to secure socio-economic and ecologic sustainability across national borders. To build future water scenarios is a basis for developing long term approaches.

Work package 1a: Development of an integrated monitoring concept in Mediterranean catchments under water scarcity conditions

Work package 1b: Modelling strategies and parameterization in water scarce regions

Work package 2: Assessment of the potential and threats of new water technologies

Work package 3: Development of a socio-economic and legal framework for managing water scarcity

Work package 4: Development of a typology of water scarcity drivers and effects

Interfaces within the Helmholtz Water Network:


Research within the Helmholtz Association (POF III):

  • Research Programme "Terrestrial Environment", Topic "Sustainable Water Resources Management" (Integrated Project "Water Scarcity" (UFZ))
  • Helmholtz Alliance DESERVE - Dead Sea Research Venue (coordination: KIT, contribution: GFZ, UFZ)

Projects and further activities:

  • BMBF Urban Catchments - Managing Water Resources for Urban Catchments (Coordination: UFZ, contribution: TU Dresden)
  • German Drought Monitor (Coordination: UFZ)
  • BMBF-Project SMART: Sustainable Management of Available Water Resources with Innovative Technologies (coordination: Universität Göttingen, contribution: UFZ, KIT)
  • BMBF-Project NICE (coordination: UFZ)
  • DFG-Project IMAP "Integrating Microwave Link Data For Analysis of Precipitation in Complex Terrain: Theoretical Aspects and Hydrometeorological Applications" (Coordination: KIT, contributing institutions: TU München, An-Najah National University (Palästina), Tel Aviv University (Israel), Kinneret Limnological Laboratory (Israel), The Jerusalem College of Technology (Israel))
  • EU-Project MARSOL - Demonstrating Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Solution to Water Scarcity and Drought (coordination: TU Darmstadt, contribution: UFZ)
  • EU-Project GLOBAQUA - Analyse the effects of multiple stressors on biodiversity and functioning of aquatic ecosystems (Coordination: IDAEA-CSIC, contribution: UFZ, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)
  • DFG-Project (Belmont): Integrated Analysis of Freshwater Resources Sustainability in Jordan (coordination: University of Stanford, contribution: UFZ, IRSTEA)
  • Cooperation TERENO-MED - SICMED (long-term environmental observatories in the Mediterranean)
  • IWRM-SUMAR (Sustainable Management of Water in Arid and Semi-arid Regions) (coordination: UFZ)

Completed Projects:

  • DFG-Project WATERFLUX (UFZ, University of Bayreuth)


Download brochure Helmholtz Water Network



07.-09.06.2017: International ICLEA Symposium „Climate Change and Landscape Evolution in North Central Europe“ (GFZ)

04.-18.8.2017 CAWR International Summer School "Network functional dynamics -
Technological, Human & Ecological Dimensions

Direct links:


Dr. Christiane Katterfeld
Phone: +49 391 8109101