Study areas of members

…currently under construction


Based on the 2017 survey the active members of the Commission have professional and research interest in the following broad water-related categories:

Research TopicsCategories of water-related interest of active members of the Commission (2017, n=36)

Of the above mentioned 16 themes the first half (8 x topics) account for nearly 75% of members interest indicating a general focus on flow and quantity related aspects of surface water. This still reflects the thematic base of the original study group of 1998 with the category ‘Hydrological extreme events’ featuring prominently second only to the much broader category of ‘Surface water’.

Topical categoriesCumulative proportion of members interested in topical categories (no. of total ticks: 345)

Interest in flow- and quantity-related themes are followed by topics relating to water quality and its environmental and health implications. As an emerging topic, ‘Water and Energy’ also attracts significant interests from members.

Topics related to socio-economic aspects collectively account for less than 5% of all ticks indicating a somewhat marginal importance in current research and professional interests of active members. As the Commission is acutely aware of the need for an integrative transdisciplinary approach that bridges the gaps between the ‘hard’ and social sciences in tackling the global and regional challenges of water sustainability we actively encourage social scientists working in the field of water to actively participate in the Commission.

An overview on member’s interests in 92 sub-themes of above topical categories is displayed below (*topics were suggested in template with option to add by individual member):

Fig 3Ranked interest in 92 sub-themes) as per the 2017 survey

While the prominence of hydrological extreme events and water flow aspects is confirmed by the high ranking of ‘Floods’ (1st) and ‘Droughts’ (3rd) it is also evident that water-quality related aspects play an important role on member’s interests with ‘Pollution’ featuring on 4th rank out of the 92 topics listed.

Meetings/ conferences

The Commission holds annual or at least biannual meetings organised and hosted by Commission members. When coinciding with larger IGU events such as regional conferences or (quadrennial) congresses the Commission holds its own sessions on selected themes as part of the larger meetings. At all conferences business meetings are also organised at which the Chair and SC provide feedback to the members and Commission-related matters are discussed.

The Commission aims to compliment all meetings with dedicated field trips on water-related aspects in the host country often providing very attractive and unique opportunities to gain insights into local water issues which are not afforded to the general public.

Conference topics and attendance 2012-2015

Joint projects

At the business meeting in Beijing (2016) members accepted the proposal of the nelwy elected chair to explore the feasibility of adding a number of new activities to the existing portfolio including but not limited to the following:

  • student exchange between member’s institutions
  • mutual research visits of members
  • guest professorships
  • assistance with promotions and grant applications (testimonials, letters of support etc.)
  • joint students excursion
  • joint publications and presentations over and above conference proceedings
  • mutual information on relevant funding opportunities
  • joint grant applications and proposals
  • assistance with submissions of manuscripts to scientific journals including internal peer-review prior submission, identification of language support option (e.g. use of local networks and personal contacts) etc.
  • sharing of data


The Commission aims to publish papers presented at its meetings and larger IGU conferences collectively as conference proceedings either in book format or in special issues of scientific journals. Experiences in the past show however that the broad range of topics covered by the members and the diversity in languages often made it difficult to collect a critical mass of suitable papers that attract interest from publishers.

For that reason it was agreed that the Commission will also try to assist members with individual submissions as far as possible. This may include:

  • internal pre-reviews of papers intended for later submission,
  • assistance with finding affordable language editing services for members by members,
  • co-authorship of papers where warranted,
  • assistance with identifying suitable journals.

An overview on earlier publications of the Commission and its members are listed on this website under ‘Publications’.