Societies, economies and ecosystems depend on sustainable and resilient hydrological services provided by in-tact hydrological systems and processes. These services are defined by the inter-dependencies of various drivers of which land use and land cover changes (LULC) as well as climate change are increasingly dominating, often leading to degraded hydrological services and altered ecosystem dynamics with different levels of societal and economic impacts. Increasing and more frequent hydrological extremes (floods and droughts) and reduced water availability for various users and uses, often accompanied with increasing water demands, require effective operational water management. Therefore, in-depth knowledge of hydrological processes and their links to LULC, climate changes and other human interventions as well as tools are required to guide water management and policy decisions, such as, increasing water storage in grey and/or green infrastructure, caps on water consumption, or ecosystem restoration. This presentation reviews key processes and introduces the Hydrological Status and Outlook System (HydroSOS) and related assessment and reporting approaches to inform decision and policy-making. Therefore, a scale-specific approach is suggested in which LULC, water use and hydrological processes are embedded in a larger systems approach (including natural and human systems) to guide operational management and policies.
Dr Stefan Uhlenbrook’ s main expertise includes water management, hydrological processes and modelling across scales (i.e., floods and droughts), and the water-energy-food-ecosystems nexus. He is a renown academic and has led/contributed to many projects in Africa, Asia, Europe and MENA that have demonstrated the impact of global changes on water, and they provided effective solutions to address these challenges through integrated approaches. He is experienced on translating science-based knowledge to effective policies, strategies and services that contribute to environmental, economic and societal sustainability. Since September 2022, Stefan leads the Hydrology, Water and Cryosphere program of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the UN Specialized Agency for Weather, Climate and Water. He is very exciting to contribute to the Organisation’s program and, among other things, strengthen the early warning systems for floods and droughts as well as water resources assessment and management worldwide. During 2019-2022, he has focused his interest to water and food system transformations to provide healthy and nutritious food for all while considering the vital role of water and ecosystems. Previously, he served as the director of water, food and ecosystems at IWMI (2019-2022, Sri Lanka), Coordinator of UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP, 2015-2019, Italy), and the Deputy Director and acting Director of UNESCO-IHE (now IHE-Delft, Netherlands, 2005-2015). He has been a professor at IHE-Delft (2005 onwards) and Delft University of Technology (2009-2020), The Netherlands. He did his PhD (1999) and habilitation (2003) at the University of Freiburg, Germany.