GWSP Archive: Special Issue – “Water in the Anthropocene: New Perspectives for Global Sustainability”

Special Issue imageThis special issue is the first in the Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability Journal (Volume 5, Issue 6, December 2013) to take as its organising principal the unique role that humans play in shaping the character of water systems, both today and into the future.

It represents one of the chief products to emerge from the Water in the Anthropocene Conference, which brought together over 350 scientists, scholars, practitioners and policy makers, who for nearly a week presented the newest in interdisciplinary water research organised around more than 20 different themes.

This special issue is presented as a collection of 19 thematic papers treating three major themes, the same as those used to structure the Bonn Conference.

Theme 1: Global Water System – Current State and Future Challenges

Theme 2: Global Dimensions of Change in River Basins

Theme 3: Balancing Water Needs for Humans and Nature

Emphasising the cross-disciplinary nature of the issue at hand, each of the theme headings introduces a grouping of papers that cover not only the biogeophysical elements of water science but also new research into the human dimensions of water including its governance over the broadest of spatial domains. To maintain a coherency of purpose, contributing authors were asked to address three questions:

  1. What are the new knowledge and perspectives developed over the last decade with respect to the global state of water resources and water governance? What are the key new ideas and insights and how are these different than at the turn of the century?
  2. How did the global water community contribute to this new thinking?
  3. How well does the new thinking prepare us for future studies on water and its role in society and the Earth system?

Taken together, the Conference program and papers, the Bonn Declaration on Global Water Security, this Special Issue and a decade of GWSP activities show that, beyond any reasonable doubt, direct human actions involving the planet’s water systems are increasingly debilitating the very environmental systems on which humankind must rely for an essential strategic resource – fresh water.

List of Papers

  1. Water in the anthropocene: New perspectives for global sustainability
    Charles J. Vörösmarty, Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Anik Bhaduri
  2. Global water, the anthropocene and the transformation of a science
    Charles J Vörösmarty, Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Stuart E Bunn, Richard Lawford
  3. Towards a revised planetary boundary for consumptive freshwater use: role of environmental flow requirements
    Dieter Gerten, Holger Hoff, Johan Rockström, Jonas Jägermeyr, Matti Kummu, Amandine V Pastor
  4. Water Futures: the evolution of water scenarios
    William Cosgrove
  5. The links between global carbon, water and nutrient cycles in an urbanizing world — the case of coastal eutrophication
    Carolien Kroeze, Nynke Hofstra, Wilfried Ivens, Ansje Löhr, Maryna Strokal, Jikke van Wijnen
  6. Glocal’ water governance: a multi-level challenge in the anthropocene
    Joyeeta Gupta, Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Ruben Zondervan
  7. Planetary boundaries revisited: a view through the ‘water lens’
    Janos J Bogardi, Balázs M Fekete, Charles J Vörösmarty
  8. Glaciers and ice caps: Vulnerable water resources in a warming climate
    Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson, Tómas Jóhannesson, Árni Snorrason
  9. Accounting for a scarce resource: virtual water and water footprint in the global water system
    Hong Yang, Stephan Pfister, Anik Bhaduri
  10. Basin perspectives on the Water–Energy–Food Security Nexus
    Richard Lawford, Janos Bogardi, Sina Marx, Sharad Jain, Claudia Pahl Wostl, Kathrin Knüppe, Claudia Ringler, Felino Lansigan, Francisco Meza
  11. The nexus across water, energy, land and food (WELF): potential for improved resource use efficiency?
    Claudia Ringler, Anik Bhaduri, Richard Lawford
  12. Climate change and water security: challenges for adaptive water management
    Catherine Allan, Jun Xia, Claudia Pahl-Wostl
  13. Earth observations for global water security
    Richard Lawford, Adrian Strauch, David Toll, Balazs Fekete, Douglas Cripe
  14. Tipping from the Holocene to the Anthropocene: How threatened are major world deltas?
    Fabrice G Renaud, James PM Syvitski, Zita Sebesvari, Saskia E Werners, Hartwig Kremer, Claudia Kuenzer, Ramachandran Ramesh, Ad Jeuken, Jana Friedrich
  15. Impacts of global change on southern African water resources systems
    S Ngcobo, GPW Jewitt, SI Stuart-Hill, ML Warburton
  16. Environmental flows in the Anthropocence: past progress and future prospects
    N LeRoy Poff, John H Matthews
  17. Groundwater — a global focus on the ‘local resource’
    Stephen Foster, John Chilton, Geert-Jan Nijsten, Andrea Richts
  18.  Ecosystem services — a useful concept for addressing water challenges?
    Stefanie Engel, Marleen Schaefer
  19. Towards a sustainable water future: shaping the next decade of global water research
    Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Charles Vörösmarty, Anik Bhaduri, Janos Bogardi, Johan Rockström, Joseph Alcamo