Assessing global water system research



Rapid growth of global change science has led to improved knowledge about interdependencies in the global water cycle and recognition that the global water system consists of physical, human, and biogeochemical components [Vörösmarty et al., 2004].Traditionally, water research is spread over a number of scientific disciplines. However, for water science to effectively inform policy for sustainable water management, research about the dynamics of water in the context of global change needs to be holistic, must integrate the existing knowledge base, and should synthesize knowledge about how the interactions between nature and society at various scales are affecting the global water system.

This article assesses the level of interdisciplinarity in water science programs by comparing the activities of international waterrelated projects with the Global Water System Project (GWSP) activity profile ( GWSP is a project of the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) comprising the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (, the International Human Dimension Programme on Global Environmental Change (, the World Climate Research Programme (, and the DIVERSITAS international program on biodiversity science ( GWSP's attributes include its scientific and policy-informing orientation, global perspective, integrative and interdisciplinary approach, and multitemporal investigation of human impacts on water resources.