Water research at IIASA was given new form and foundation in 2013 with the launch of the flagship program, the Water Futures and Solutions (WFaS) Initiative. This, together with special projects related to agricultural land use in which water provision plays a vital role, was the basis of the Water (WAT) Program's research roster in 2013.

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The scale and complexity of the water challenges faced by society—particularly, but not only, in the world’s poorest regions—are now recognized, as is the imperative of overcoming these challenges for a stable and equitable world.

The Water Program and the Flagship Initiative on Water Futures and Solutions (WFaS): World Water Scenarios aim to respond to the world’s water challenges by applying advanced systems analysis, providing scientific evidence to support the identification and assessment of sets of robust strategies, technologies and solution options, across sectors and scales, to enable science-based policy formulation and informed decision making in the face of increasing uncertainty and growing water challenges.

New water scenarios, based on cutting‑edge global modeling, seek breakthroughs not only in problem understanding, but also in development of solutions. This scenario‑based water analysis pioneers an interdisciplinary approach, combining multi‑model ensemble analysis across sectors and institutional factors such as governance.

The initiative includes a major stakeholder consultation component to inform and guide the science, and to test and refine policy and business outcomes. In doing so, WFaS is the first study to truly integrate across water-related sectors and fully engage all stakeholders in developing and investigating sets of water futures with fully consistent sector‑specific analyses. Identified solution‑portfolios will be tested across the possible futures with multi‑model ensembles of hydrologic and sector models to obtain a clearer picture of the trade‑offs, uncertainties, risks, and opportunities.

Human well-being, human water security, and freshwater ecosystem health are the three overarching central criteria used to assess the desirability of water scenarios and of the benefits created by proposed solutions.

WFaS also assimilates ongoing work in other WAT projects that provide detailed analysis of important issues across the climate, water, food, energy, ecosystem nexus.  

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Last edited: 22 May 2014

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