GWSP Archive: GWSP book: Launched September 2014 and Available Online

The Global Water System in the Anthropocene – Challenges for Science and Governance

Book Cover: The Global Water System in the AnthropoceneBhaduri, Anik; Bogardi, Janos; Leentvaar, Jan; Marx, Sina (Eds.)

Prof. Janos Bogardi at the book launch eventFor a decade, the Global Water System Project (GWSP) has coordinated and supported a broad research agenda to study the complex global water system with its interactions between natural and human components and their feedback processes. This peer-reviewed book addresses the worldwide experiences on the responses of water management to global change within this last decade.

With selected contributions from the GWSP Conference “Water in the Anthropocene“ held in Bonn, Germany in May 2013, the book reflects the shift in mind-set that is required to address the water challenges of tomorrow, discussing issues like water governance and related institutional and technological innovations as well as variability in supply, increasing demands for water, environmental flows, and land use change.

With 28 chapters, this edited volume embraces a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives that correspond to the four sections of the book, as outlined below.

Part I: Global Water System: Current State and Future Perspectives

The papers under this theme present assessments of global water resource availability, deal with earth observations and the role of indicators, data and models of the global water system. They discuss aspects of how to account for water and uncertainties globally, covering both physical processes and socially mediated water fluxes, water withdrawals and uses as well as virtual water trade.


  1. Balancing the Needs of All Services Provided by Global Water Resources by Elizabeth Curmi, Keith Richards, Richard Fenner, Grant M. Kopec and Bojana Bajzˇelj
  2. Performance Indicators in the Water Resources Management Sectorby Balázs M. Fekete and Eugene Z. Stakhiv
  3. Virtual Water and Trade: A Critical Economic Reviewby Erik Gawel
  4. Data, Models and Uncertainties in the Global Water Cycle by R. J. Harding, A. J. Dolman, D. Gerten, I. Haddeland,C. Prudhomme and P. van Oevelen
  5. Integrated Assessments of Water Scarcity: Knowns, Unknowns and Ways Forward by Tabea K. Lissner, Caroline A. Sullivan, Dominik E. Reusserand Jürgen P. Kropp
  6. A Global Approach to Estimating the Benefit-Cost Ratio of Water Supply Measures in the Agricultural Sectorby K. Schürkmann, A. Biewald and S. Rolinski

Part II: Dimensions of Change in River Basins and Regions

The theme focuses on adapting to global changes at the river basin and regional scale. It includes contributions about adaptive resource management towards water security in river basins, papers addressing institutions and governance challenges in water scarce regions as well as papers bringing in historical perspectives to understand river systems in the Anthropocene.


  1. The Role of Institutions and Water Variability in Food Security in Uzbekistan: The Case of Rice Markets in the Khorezm Region by Yadira Mori-Clement, Anik Bhaduri and Nodir Djanibekov
  2. Dams on Shared Rivers: The Concept of Benefit Sharingby Waltina Scheumann, Ines Dombrowsky and Oliver Hensengerth
  3. Challenges and Solutions for Urban-Tourist Water Supply on Mediterranean Tourist Islands: The Case of Majorca, Spainby Angela Hof, Macià Blázquez-Salom, Margalida Comas Colomand Alfredo Barón Périz
  4. Unconventional Water Resources of Agricultural Origin and Their Re-utilization Potential for Developmentof Desert Land Aquaculture in the Aral Sea Basinby B. K. Karimov, M. Matthies and B. G. Kamilov
  5. A Historian’s Perspective on Rivers of the Anthropoceneby Philip V. Scarpino
  6. Transdisciplinarity, Human-Nature Entanglements, and Transboundary Water Systems in the Anthropoceneby Jason M. Kelly
  7. Eastern European Perspective on the Environmental Aspects in Current Flood Risk Management: The Example of the Czech Republicby Blanka Loucˇková
  8. Adaptive Irrigation Management in Drought Contexts: Institutional Robustness and Cooperation in the Riegos del Alto Aragon Project (Spain)by Sergio Villamayor-Tomas

Part III: Ecosystem Perspectives in Water Resources Management

The third theme presents different approaches to ecologically sustainable water management drawing on various case studies. The section focuses on how to mitigate the negative impacts of anthropogenic activities on the resilience of social-ecological systems.


  1. The Missing Piece in the Conservation Puzzle: Cohesion Among Environmental, Economic and Social Dimensionsby Francisco A. R. Barbosa, Paulina M. Maia-Barbosa,Diego G. F. Pujoni and Lorena T. Oporto
  2. Integrating Input-Output Modeling with Multi-criteria Analysis to Assess Options for Sustainable Economic Transformation: The Case of Uzbekistanby Maksud Bekchanov, Anik Bhaduri, Manfred Lenzenand John P. A. Lamers
  3. Sustaining Freshwater Biodiversity in the Anthropoceneby Jaime Garcia-Moreno, Ian J. Harrison, D. Dudgeon,V. Clausnitzer, W. Darwall, T. Farrell, C. Savy,K. Tockner and N. Tubbs
  4. Water Governance and Management Systems and the Role of Ecosystem Services: Case Study Insights—Groundwater Management in the Sandveld Region, South Africaby Kathrin Knüppe and Claudia Pahl-Wostl
  5. Tackling the ‘How’ Question: Enabling and Enacting Practical Action for Managing the Wicked Problem of Nonpoint Source Pollution in Catchmentsby James J. Patterson, Jennifer Bellamy and Carl Smith
  6. Experiences with a Transdisciplinary Research Approach for Integrating Ecosystem Services into Water Management in Northwest Chinaby Tuck Fatt Siew, Petra Döll and Hamid Yimit

Part IV: Governing Water in the Anthropocene

The fourth section concentrates on the crosscutting issue of global water governance, acknowledging the fact that the global “water crisis” is in fact a governance crisis. Case studies in water governance and management under global change from different parts of the world are complemented by contributions dealing with issues like water law, ethics and institutions in water governance.


  1. Multilevel Governance of Irrigation Systems and Adaptation to Climate Change in Kenyaby Jampel Dell’Angelo, Paul F. McCord, Elizabeth Baldwin, Michael E. Cox, Drew Gower, Kelly Caylor and Tom P. Evans
  2. Transboundary Water Management in Federal Political Systems: A Story of Three Semi-arid Rivers by Dustin Garrick, Lucia De Stefano, Jamie Pittock and Daniel Connell
  3. Legal Plurality in Mekong Hydropower: Its Emergence and Policy Implicationsby Diana Suhardiman and Mark Giordano
  4. International River Basin Organizations Lost in Translation? Transboundary River Basin Governance Between Science and Policyby Susanne Schmeier
  5. The Human Right to Water and Sanitation: Reflections on Making the System Effectiveby Pedi Obani and Joyeeta Gupta
  6. Patterns of Water Lawby Joseph W. Dellapenna
  7. The Notion of the Global Water Crisis and Urban Water Realitiesby Antje Bruns and Fanny Frick
  8. The Need for a Value-Reflexive Governance of Water in the Anthropocene by Simon Meisch

Further Information: