Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector
International portal

Project Water and global change

This Integrated Project Water and Global Change (WATCH), funded under the EU FP6, will bring together the hydrological, water resources and climate communities to analyse, quantify and predict the components of the current and future global water cycles and related water resources states; evaluate their uncertainties and clarify the overall vulnerability of global water resources related to the main societal and economic sectors. 

The list of the WATCH participants

Project number 036946-2
Acronym WATCH
Geographical coverage United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Norway, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Slovak Republic
Budget (in €) 12969729
Programme INCO MED (FP6)
Web site
  • To integrate modelling of the water cycle into global and regional climate models
  • To better quantify possible changes in the water cycle due to human influences and climate change in the period 2000-2100 - esp. floods and droughts
  • To assess impacts of the changes on agriculture, industry, energy, drinking water supplies and the environment
  • To analyse and describe the current global water cycle
  • To evaluate how the global water cycle and its extremes respond to future drivers of global change
  • To evaluate feedbacks in the coupled system as they affect the global water cycle
  • To develop a modelling and data framework to assess the future vulnerability of water as a resource



  1. analyse and describe the current global water cycle, especially causal chains leading to observable changes in extremes (droughts and floods)
  2. evaluate how the global water cycle and its extremes respond to future drivers of global change (including greenhouse gas release and land cover change)
  3. evaluate feedbacks in the coupled system as they affect the global water cycle
  4. evaluate the uncertainties in the predictions of coupled climate-hydrological- land-use models using a combination of model ensembles and observations
  5. develop an enhanced (modelling) framework to assess the future vulnerability of water as a resource, and in relation to water/climate related vulnerabilities and risks of the major water related sectors, such as agriculture, nature and utilities (energy, industry and drinking water sector)
  6. provide comprehensive quantitative and qualitative assessments and predictions of the vulnerability of the water resources and water-/climate-related vulnerabilities and risks for the 21st century
  7. collaborate intensively with the key leading research groups on water cycle and water resources in USA and Japan
  8. collaborate intensively in dissemination of its scientific results with major research programmes worldwide  (WCRP, IGBP)
  9. collaborate intensively in dissemination of its practical and applied  results with major water resources and water management platforms and professional organisations worldwide (WWC, IWA) and at a scale of 5 selected river basins in Europe.
  1. WB1 will consolidate gridded data sets, improve the hydrological representation of hydrology in hydrological models and investigate the 20th century global water cycle using a combination of models and data.
  2. WB2 will provide gridded estimates of population, land use and water requirements for the 20th and 21st centuries for use in the other Work Blocks.
  3. WB3 will produce multi-model based projections for the terrestrial components of the global water cycle for the 21st century. This will include projections globally and for two contrasting regions. A full uncertainty analysis will be provided.
  4. WB4 will advance our knowledge on the impact of global change on hydrological extremes, including spatial and temporal patterns of droughts and large-scale floods.
  5. WB5 will provide a global and regional analysis of feedbacks between the land surface and climate system using a fusion of models and data.
  6. WB6 will develop a unified water resources modelling and risk assessment framework, and use that generate more reliable, consolidated, quantitative assessments of the past and future states of water resources.
  7. WB7 will deliver the management and organizational structures and processes to ensure the effective delivery of WATCH integrated and to maximize the benefits of this research to all stakeholders, by using the most effective knowledge transfer through the project's training and dissemination activities.

Period [01/02/2007 - 31/12/2009]


  • Natural Environment Research Council
    Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
    Coordinator acts as project coordinator
    Country United Kingdom
    Contact Dr. Harding Richard,
    Position: General coordinator of the project
    Phone/fax: ,

Funding sources

  • European Commission
    Source EC INCO MED
    Programme INCO MED
    Funding rate 77