Theme 1: Adapting to the impacts of global changes on river basins and aquifer systems

The context

Desert in Libya

©istockphoto.com/T. Helbig
Desert in Libya

Global changes brought on by climate change, urbanization, ozone depletion, population growth, expansion of infrastructure, migration and pollution are changing the earth and the way it functions. Because global changes cut across disciplinary and national boundaries, interdisciplinary and international cooperation is needed to study and address these issues.

The work at a glance

The programme’s mission is to strengthen the scientific understanding of these impacts on water systems and to link scientific conclusions to policies for promoting sustainable management of water resources. Special attention will be given to arid and semi-arid regions, which are particularly vulnerable to climate change, with consequences that may have serious social and environmental effects. The polar regions, glaciated mountainous regions, and urban and coastal regions will also be assessed. This work will help countries develop mitigation strategies and policies to diminish these stresses.

Lessons from the FRIEND programme, regional trends and data sets will be compared, making use of HELP and IGRAC (International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre) facilities and databases. Regional trends will be evaluated and case studies will be developed with the support of IHP’s Centres and Chairs. This will also lead to a better integrated approach for managing frozen water, surface and groundwater resources. UN agencies and other existing international research programmes are cooperating with IHP in coordinating these efforts.

Focal Areas:

  • Global changes and feedback mechanisms in hydrological processes in stressed systems
  • Climate change impacts on the hydrological cycle and consequent impacts on water resources
  • Hydro-hazards, hydrological extremes and water-related disaster
  • Managing groundwater systems’ response to global changes
  • Global change and climate variability in arid and semi-arid regions
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