ICWRS has to promote research development on the
inter-connectedness of both biotic and abiotic components of water resources
systems and, by extension, on the integration of all the phases of water
resource protection, planning, design, management, operation and utilization.
In this way the mutual dependence between sustainability and integration
becomes a guiding principle for the ICWRS’s planning activities.
This integration challenge should be interpreted very widely:
Recognition of all four
characteristics of a water resource - quantity, quality (physico-chemical-microbiological),
condition of the aquatic habitat and condition of the aquatic biota:
Exposition of the ICWRS’s sustainability/systems agenda must promote processes that, internationally, help management objectives in the water resources field to focus on these four characteristics, as well as their interrelationships.
The ICWRS is challenged to play an integrative role among the various geophysical disciplines in and beyond the domain of the IAHS. It can be said that this Commission “needs” the other IAHS Commissions to do their work in order to be able to do its own work! It should provide a systematic framework on which the other disciplines can hang their individual objectives, secure in the knowledge that their localized objectives form part of a systematic strategy towards sustainability R&D. The ICWRS should seek and exploit potential bridging needs between separate disciplines, promote opportunities for cross-fertilization among these disciplines, and also challenge them on matters of internal focus and priority, in a sustainability/systems context.
Raising the profile of the
human factor in Hydrology:
The integration challenge to the ICWRS includes going outside the comfort zone of the geophysical sciences and engineering to engage the human factor in sustainability R&D in the water resources field. Here the Commission must broaden the focus to the social context of water: balancing food production and human health and social development with resource protection; understanding and employing the links between water and energy, water and policy, and water and civilization; engaging public perceptions of sustainability; exploring the links between hydrological extremes and their impacts on human communities and vice versa.
Integration of outputs from different disciplines relevant to the sustainability/systems approach requires a technological and conceptual ability to bridge the conceptual and jargon gaps between disciplines, to make the differing types and scales of information and data interoperable; and to re-interpret information that lies in the overlap between the abiotic and the biotic sub-domains of hydrology and water resources. The ICWRS should maintain a focus on these information systematization needs.
In total the strategy of ICWRS described above mirror the world-wide discussions about the future of water management in a changing world. The more comprehensive look on these problems and the interdisciplinary approach offered by ICWRS will ensure a leading role of IAHS in this field of science.
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