Panta Rhei: opinions and progress towards hydrology for a changing world
Panta Rhei: opinions and progress towards hydrology for a changing world
Editor(s): J. Liu, D. Juizo, A. F. Van Loon, T. Krueger, A. Mejia, H. Kreibich, and H. McMillan
The hydrological cycle, from catchments to global scales, has for thousands of years been intimately linked with human activity, in forms including irrigation, water storage, domestic water use and flood defence. Today, people control or impact on hydrological systems in a multitude of ways. We modify land use and climate, change flow pathways and sources of nutrients and sediments, and disrupt natural feedbacks between water and ecosystems. Rural and urban areas use and transport water in different ways and at different scales, and our trade has an embedded water footprint. In many regions, there are severe challenges associated with societal interactions with water, including water scarcity, pollution and flooding. Societies must make decisions on water governance, ownership and management, despite large uncertainties in the coupled hydrological–societal system.

In response to the clear imperative to include human impact as integral to hydrological research, the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) launched Panta Rhei, the scientific decade 2013-2022 with the central theme "Change in Hydrology and Society" ( The research agenda aims to address understanding, prediction and management of hydrological systems under environmental change and human impact. This special issue reports on progress by the Panta Rhei working groups towards many of the questions described above, during the first Panta Rhei biennium 2013-15. It also contains opinion papers, as we explore and reflect on the most pressing issues in research into hydrology and change. In particular, many articles will aim to quantify progress against the six driving science questions set out at the beginning of the Panta Rhei initiative:

1. What are the key gaps in our understanding of hydrological change?

2.How do changes in hydrological systems interact with, and feedback to, natural and social systems driven by hydrological processes?

3. What are the boundaries of coupled hydrological and societal systems?

4. How can we use improved knowledge of coupled hydrological–social systems to improve model predictions, including estimation of predictive uncertainty and predictability?

5. How can we advance our monitoring and data analysis capabilities to predict and manage hydrological change?

6. How can we support societies to adapt to changing conditions by considering the uncertainties and feedbacks between natural and human-induced hydrological changes?

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30 Oct 2018
Hess Opinions: An interdisciplinary research agenda to explore the unintended consequences of structural flood protection
Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Heidi Kreibich, Sergiy Vorogushyn, Jeroen Aerts, Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen, Marlies Barendrecht, Paul Bates, Marco Borga, Wouter Botzen, Philip Bubeck, Bruna De Marchi, Carmen Llasat, Maurizio Mazzoleni, Daniela Molinari, Elena Mondino, Johanna Mård, Olga Petrucci, Anna Scolobig, Alberto Viglione, and Philip J. Ward
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 5629–5637,,, 2018
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20 Jul 2017
HESS Opinions: A conceptual framework for assessing socio-hydrological resilience under change
Feng Mao, Julian Clark, Timothy Karpouzoglou, Art Dewulf, Wouter Buytaert, and David Hannah
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 3655–3670,,, 2017
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08 Sep 2016
Drought in a human-modified world: reframing drought definitions, understanding, and analysis approaches
Anne F. Van Loon, Kerstin Stahl, Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Julian Clark, Sally Rangecroft, Niko Wanders, Tom Gleeson, Albert I. J. M. Van Dijk, Lena M. Tallaksen, Jamie Hannaford, Remko Uijlenhoet, Adriaan J. Teuling, David M. Hannah, Justin Sheffield, Mark Svoboda, Boud Verbeiren, Thorsten Wagener, and Henny A. J. Van Lanen
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3631–3650,,, 2016
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07 Jul 2016
The socioecohydrology of rainwater harvesting in India: understanding water storage and release dynamics across spatial scales
Kimberly J. Van Meter, Michael Steiff, Daniel L. McLaughlin, and Nandita B. Basu
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 2629–2647,,, 2016
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