IAC Water Organizing Group

News Date: 23 February 2010

IAC Water Organizing Group

IAC Convenes an Organizing Group to Plan New IAC Study on a Sustainable Water Future

In the 21st Century, the security, stability, and environmental sustainability of all nations, particularly those in the developing world are threatened by natural and human-induced changes in regional water systems and the water resources they provide.  Global and regional changes in the ocean and atmospheric circulation system will impact on regional coastal climates and hydrological cycles, altering the functioning of coastal zones and river catchment areas. A continued rise in global temperatures could result in higher ocean and sea levels, posing challenges to human habitation in coastal areas, now encompassing half of humanity, while regional climate changes will alter the hydrological climate in river catchment areas. Understanding and anticipating the changes that these regions will face is a prerequisite to sustainable water resources usage. The global trend of hyper-concentration of people in low-lying catchment areas exacerbates this challenge. One-third of humanity lives in countries where water is scarce, and 1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. Degradation of freshwater ecosystems will result in disappearance of species and subspecies; one-fifth of freshwater fish are close to dying out. Conflict between demand for drinking water and demand for agricultural water will increase significantly as global demand for agricultural products rises.

The InterAcademy Council (IAC) Board has agreed to undertake an independent, evidence-based advisory study project with resulting recommendations for ensuring sustainable water systems and water resources. The project would be conducted by a Study Panel of international experts, with consultation and input from scientific academies from over 100 nations. The results of the project will be of importance to decision makers around the world within national and local governments, the United Nations and other international agencies with programs in hydrology and water resources, academic/educational communities, and multinational agencies with missions related to global and especially regional changes in water systems and water resources.  

To develop a plan and scope of work for this project, the IAC convened an Organizing Group of international experts to develop a plan and scope of work for this project. This meeting was held 21-23 February 2010 at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The results of this meeting will be presented to the IAC Board at its meeting in March 2010 for further action in implementing this project.

Members of the Organizing Group included the following:

Marcel J.F. STIVE, Co-Chair
Chair Coastal Engineering
Director of Water Research Centre Delft
Department of Hydraulic Engineering,
Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology

Jun XIA, Co-Chair
President, International Water Resources Assocation (IWRA)
Director & Leading Professor, Key Lab. of Water Cycle & Related Surface Processes
Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
Director, Center for Water Resources Research, CAS

Asit K. BISWAS
President and Distinguished Visiting Professor
Third World Centre for Water Management, Mexico, and
Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore

Ngai Weng CHAN
President Water Watch Penang (WWP)
Board Member of IWRA, Professor of Water Resources
Universiti Sains Malaysia, School of Humanities

Qingyun DUAN
Professor and Chief Scientist, College of Global Change and Earth System Sciences
Director, Earth System Modeling Laboratory
Beijing Normal University

Paulo de GÓES
Head of the International Office, Brazilian Academy of Sciences
Associate Director, InterAcademy Council (IAC)

Rivka KFIR
CEO
Water Research Commission, South Africa

Kalanithy VAIRAVAMOORTHY
Chair of Water Engineering
Department of Civil Engineering, School of Engineering
University of Birmingham