The spatial dimensions of water management - Redistribution of benefits and risks

The Conference

Object and themes

The conference brought together experts from different countries and expertise who presented their research ideas and discussed challenging questions of modern water management. This meeting, part of the series of IWRM conferences organized by ICWRS series focused on spatial aspects of water management.
Since water is unevenly distributed in space and time, its storage and redistribution is a fundamental task of water management. Large water supply systems have been developed in the past to accomplish this. With the advanced structural possibilities, the scale of human interventions in hydrological systems shifted from local to regional scale and involves more and more global aspects. The overlaying of human interventions at different spatial scales results in complex changes of the hydrological conditions. In many cases improvements at one site are connected with degradations of hydrological conditions at other sites. Also the performance of water management measures becomes more uncertain if the rate of social and economic changes is accelerated. Often improvements at one site are connected with limited options to solve water problems at other sites.
These developments requires a new approach in water management considering crossing scales. This requires a comprehensive analysis of hydrological initial conditions, the evaluation of options and limitations of anthropogenic interventions with particular attention to their socio-economic and ecological impacts and the assessment of the sustainability of planned measures.

The spatial aspects, which were discussed during this meeting were extensive. The main topics of presentations were:

1. Spatial aspects of water supply and the redistribution of benefits from water

2. Floods and spatial aspects of flood risks

3. Spatial dimensions of water scarcity

4. Scale problems of water management – when the summation of individual measures becomes a problem

5. Hydrological regionalization issues

6. The spatial dimension in socio-hydrology