Sustainable Water Management in a Globalized World

NaWaMa - German Titel: NAchhaltiges WAsserMAnagement


Duration of project: 01/04/2010 – 31/03/2013

Project funding reference number of the BMBF: 01UN1009

Project team

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Humboldt University of Berlin, Department of International Agricultural Trade and Development (HUB)

Institute for Social and Development Studies (IGP) at he Munich School of Philosophy



Many developing countries as well as those with emerging markets depend on agriculture and are exposed to water-related problems due not only to an increasing demand for water but also due to changed rainfall patterns as a consequence of climate change. Even if water scarcity increases only regionally, due to international trade the resulting problems would get a global dimension.

Reasons for water scarcity are often not only the physical shortage of water but also inadequate institutional and legal frameworks, insufficient economic incentives, as well as the absence of technological capacities for sustainable water management. Hence, the reason for the present water crisis in many regions is mainly a failure of water management or water governance. This failure could be offset by useful combinations of different regional arrangements including agricultural trade with the goal of improvements in water productivity, water availability, and water access.

Water usage is closely connected to ethical aspects: particularly to the question of a fair allocation of water to different user groups (intra- and inter-generational), taking especially ecological concerns into account. The project “Sustainable Water Management in a Globalized World” uses an interdisciplinary approach to integrate economic, legal, technological, and ethical aspects of regional and global water management in global and regional studies.

Scientific and application-oriented goals

  • Quantitative analysis of future water scarcity considering climate and socio-economic changes (on a global scale and in specific regions)
  • Analysis of different potential water management strategies (increase of water use efficiency in agriculture, expansion of arable land, virtual water trade) to minimize regional water stress
  • Survey about the present debate of water-ethics as well as a consolidated analysis of different water management strategies from an ethical point of view
  • Development of policy strategies for effective, efficient, and just regulations of water resources (on a global scale and in specific regions)
  • Development of approaches to reduce over-utilization of water as a common good.


Funded by


Document Actions