The objective of the WAT Group is to provide the scientific foundation needed for addressing the quest for water security across scales and to help bridge science-policy-practice gaps related to water management by leading global efforts on integrated assessment of water resources and exploring transformation pathways towards a water secure future.

Water plays a central role in all human activities and needs to be managed efficiently and sustainably. The WAT Group pushes the boundary of transdisciplinary water science enabled by the institute’s recognized expertise in systems science approaches, to provide the scientific knowledge needed to address the quest for water security. The group aims to lead global efforts on integrated assessment of water supply and demand and identify solutions options that improve water scarcity, ameliorate water quality, and enhance resilience to extreme events, while at the same time engaging with key stakeholders at different levels to translate science into policy.

The group’s research has informed the development of various widely used models, which will continually be refined and extended to enable application and analysis at policy-relevant spatial scales. The group contributes to several IIASA research themes including biodiversity and ecosystem services, production and consumption, technology and innovation, and governance and institutions, by providing the water resources research expertise required for the development of a systemic approach to resolving sustainability issues.

Models, tools, datasets

Water Reservoir

Community Water Model (CWatM)

River liffey in dublin ireland, evening light

Global Hydro-economic Model (ECHO)


Global Agro-Ecological Zones (GAEZ)

Glass of water

Water Quality Modeling (WQM)


Uganda Lanscape

Sustainable water quality management supporting Uganda’s development ambitions (SWAQ-Uganda)

Child labor on the Ghanaian market of Abease

Advancing WFaS East Africa: Scaling out resilient water and agricultural systems (scaleWAYS)

African girl drinking clean fresh water from a water tap outdoors

SOS Water- Establishing a Safe Operating Space (SOS) for the global water resources system (SOS Water)

World map with texture on global satellite photo, Earth view from space. Detailed flat map of continents and oceans

The World Bank ECA Regional Water Security Initiative: Development of an Assessment and Preparation of Diagnostic Reports


Günther Fischer profile picture

Günther Fischer

Emeritus Research Scholar (WAT)

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Amin Elshorbagy

Guest Research Scholar (WAT)

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Simon Langan

Senior Guest Research Scholar (WAT)

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Esther Greenwood

Research Assistant (NODES, WAT)



26 May 2023

President of the UN General Assembly visits IIASA

IIASA was honored to welcome a delegation from the Office of the President of the 77th UN General Assembly led by H.E. Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi earlier this week.
Science4Policy Podcast

22 May 2023

Science for Policy Podcast: Transdisciplinary research for policymaking

Bárbara Willaarts and Thomas Schinko join SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Acadamies) for an episode of their Science for Policy Podcast! They explain why transdisciplinary means more than just collaborating with other areas of science, why co-creation means more than just working with policymakers to understand their needs, and why both are needed to give really good quality policy advice.

25 April 2023

IIASA at Renexpo Interhydro Conference

IIASA researchers present results from the WaterStressAT project at the Renexpo Interhydro Conference in Salzburg.


Illustration of different natural disasters

21 October 2022

Financial instruments for disaster risk and their effects on economic growth

Julian Joseph writes about a recent study in which researchers used a novel concept in the economic modeling of disaster risk reduction to explore how damages from disasters can be compensated for and what effect they have on economic growth.

08 September 2022

Co-development – more than just a buzz word

Striving for excellence and designing truly innovative solutions in science requires many creative minds from different disciplines and parts of society to work together.
Team Partnership Collaboration Support Concept

01 June 2022

Water tomorrow

A new tool to assess water security can help nations plan for a challenging future.
African girl drinking clean fresh water from a water tap outdoors