26 January 2017

Dutch Hydrological Society awards Yoshihide Wada Hydrology Prize

Dutch Hydrological Society recognizes IIASA Water Program Deputy Director Yoshihide Wada’s contribution to hydrological sciences

Once every three years the Dutch Hydrological Society awards its prestigious Hydrology Prize (NHV Hydrologieprijs) to recognize exceptional contribution to hydrological science. Yoshi, who has published over 50 articles in the field of hydrology over the last decade, won the prize due to his groundbreaking work which revealed the impact of human water consumption on drought.

Traditionally, drought is thought of as a hydrological extreme, however Wada et al showed that human water consumption increases both the frequency and severity of drought.  Their work which assessed the impact of human water consumption at a global scale found:

  •  Human water consumption substantially reduces streamflow and intensifies the magnitude of hydrological droughts regionally by 10-500%.
  • Hydrological droughts are driven primarily by human water consumption in many parts of North America, Europe and Asia.
  • Human water consumption alone increases global drought frequency by ~30%.
  • Global population living under severe hydrological drought occurrences increased from 0.7 to 2.2 billion over the period 1960-2010.

Historically people have blamed the weather for droughts. Due to this work, it is now recognized that that human consumption can have a significant impact on the frequency and severity of droughts. This has huge ramifications for how water resources should be managed.  With the global population and their water demands expected to increase significantly in the coming decades, these findings are vital for ensuring the sustainable management of water resources.  

This work was remarkable due to the scale of its contribution to both hydrological science and water resource management.

Well done Yoshi!

Publication Details

Wada, Y., L. P. H. van Beek, N. Wanders, and M. F. P. Bierkens (2013), Human water consumption intensifies hydrological drought worldwide, Environ. Res. Lett., 8, 034036, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/034036.

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Last edited: 27 January 2017


Yoshihide Wada

Program Director and Principal Research Scholar Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

Water Program


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313