Department Systems Analysis, Integrated Assessment and Modelling

Coupled human-water systems

Picture: Terrace rice fields in Yunnan Province, China. Photo by: J. Gao, GFDL/CC-by-sa-2.5

Research Topics

Water resources and human activities are tightly coupled: water determines where people live and what they do and, conversely, humans strongly influence the distribution of water in time and space.
We use a variety of tools from the environmental, social and data sciences (see below) to study these interactions from a theoretical and empirical angle.
We are particularly interested in the implications of human-water interactions on food, water and environmental security, especially in situations where data is challenging to collect due to remoteness, armed conflicts or political, strategic or sovereignty concerns.

Disciplines and approaches used in the Coupled Human Water Systems group. Italics represent external collaborations




We characterize the bi-directional relationships between water resources, refugee migrations and armed conflicts.
We evaluate effect of land grabs on food, water, energy and environmental security
We seek to determine why so few international treaties exist over shared aquifers
We (1) attribute hydrologic change to human vs environmental drivers and (2) characterize the role of hydrological systems in terms of mediating the societal impacts of climate change
Framework to operationalize the human right to water in water extractive industries