Articles | Volume 366
10 Apr 2015
 | 10 Apr 2015

Water Security – science and management challenges

H. S. Wheater

Abstract. This paper briefly reviews the contemporary issues of Water Security, noting that current and prospective pressures represent major challenges for society. It is argued that, given the complex interdependencies and multi-faceted nature of these challenges, new trans-disciplinary science is needed to support the development of science-based policy and management. The effects of human society on land and water are now large and extensive. Hence we conclude that: (a) the management of water involves the management of a complex human-natural system, and (b) potential impacts of the human footprint on land and water systems can influence not only water quantity and quality, but also local and regional climate. We note, however, that research to quantify impacts of human activities is, in many respects, in its infancy. The development of the science base requires a trans-disciplinary place-based focus that must include the natural sciences, social sciences and engineering, and address management challenges at scales that range from local to large river basin scale, and may include trans-boundary issues. Large basin scale studies can provide the focus to address these science and management challenges, including the feedbacks associated with man’s impact from land and water management on regional climate systems.