Defining a safe operating space for water resources in a changing climate and society
The SOS-Water Project endeavors to establish the boundaries within which the Earth’s capacity to provide life-support systems for humanity is not endangered, and humanity’s capacity to adapt to environmental changes is not exceeded.
An interdisciplinary team of researchers from eleven institutions across nine countries will develop a multidimensional SOS for water.
Crossing such thresholds or tipping points in the complex Earth system could result in abrupt and irreversible ecological change.
To safeguard a reliable and sufficient water supply for humans and ecosystems in the future, it is therefore essential to define an SOS for global water resources under changing conditions.
By advancing and linking water system models with models from sectors such as agriculture and energy, biodiversity, or sediment transport, the SOS-Water Project will lay the foundations for a holistic assessment framework of water resources across spatial scales.
The framework will enable the assessment of feedback loops and trade-offs between different dimensions of the water system and help address pressing global, regional, and local challenges.
The project focuses on five river basins:
- Jucar River Basin - Spain
- Upper Danube - region
- Danube River deltas
- Rhine River deltas
- The Mekong River Basin
In addition to going beyond state-of-the-art water systems modeling, the project will develop a comprehensive set of indicators to assess and monitor the environmental, social, and economic performance of water systems.
A strong emphasis will also be put on participatory research and inclusive stakeholder engagement.
The participating researchers will collaborate with regional and local authorities, water user representatives, non-governmental organizations, and citizens to co-create future scenarios and water management pathways.
By streamlining water planning at different levels, it can be ensured that water allocation among societies, economies, and ecosystems will be economically efficient, socially fair, and resilient to shocks.
IIASA Project Team
SOS-Water Project Team
The Water Security research group at IIASA is the coordinator of the project consortium.
The consortium consists of the following partners:
- International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Austria)
- Universiteit Utrecht (The Netherlands)
- Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain)
- Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
- Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (Germany)
- FutureWater (The Nethrlands)
- Institutul National de Cercetare-Dezvoltare pentru Geologie si Geoecologie Marina (Romania)
- Southern Institute for Water Resources Planning (Vietnam)
- Eutema Research Services GmbH (Austria)
- Aalborg University (Denmark)
- Eidgenoessische Anstalt Fuer Wasserversorgung, Abwasserreinigung und Gewaesserchutz EAWAG (Swizerland)
IIASA models being used in this project
This project is funded by the Horizon program.
31 January 2023
SOS Water Project featured in Die Presse
03 October 2022