At the start of the third millennium, population pressure and changes in climate patterns are intensifying the water crisis in several regions of the world, where freshwater shortages and pollution are causing major problems for ecosystems and societies. Meanwhile, the increasing occurrence of flood disasters is also challenging the resilience of our societies to the hydrological extreme events. Additionally, the dynamics of the demographic pressure, and the consequent increase in energy demand from new growing economies, poses new challenges and opens new perspectives in the management of water resources.
Hydrology will be increasingly called upon to propose solutions and interact with policy makers, particularly in the face of the predicted climate variability. In the meantime, scientists around the world are becoming aware that the interaction between hydrology and societies is not sufficiently understood.
While improved hydrological understanding and modeling are needed, a pragmatic two-way interaction with policy makers, land and water use authorities, and other stakeholders is also urgent. From this interaction, improved scientific pathways are expected, that can combine the development of new knowledge with methods that can enhance the ecological and societal resilience to water-related potential disasters. These research pathways can involve the water-human-ecosystem interactions and the economic implications of water-related productions, particularly those aiming at developing and sustaining food demand from areas with strong demographic pressure. To enable societies to face these challenges and develop appropriate policies and management plans, reliable predictions of the response of the water cycle to major natural and human-induced changes are required.
To address this goals, scientific international initiatives would gain greater impact if they are well connected to UN objectives, as those identified in the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) for the reduction of disaster losses.
The conference aims to bring together scientists , members of governmental institutions and professionals dealing with the impact of hydrologic processes on different aspects and domains experiencing societal pressure. Participation of representatives of natural, social, economical and engineering sciences is solicited, to encourage exchange of experiences and presentation of views on how the research in hydrology can better meet current and future societal needs.