Research Topic

Scale Issues in Human-Water Systems

About this Research Topic

This Research Topic is a part of the Delft 2021: 1st Sociohydrology Conference series. To view the other sessions please follow the links below:


Several unsolved problems in hydrology involve changes in the water cycle due to human causes and reversely also changes in human lives due to changing water situations. This underlines the lack in our understanding of the interplay between water and people across scales and levels. Such understanding is crucial for adequately informing actors in multi-level water governance (water users, water managers, chains-actors in the food sector, and others) and to develop knowledge tools to support this (e.g. indicators, models, and serious games). The existing mismatch between governance and water-system scales and levels calls for interdisciplinary efforts involving hydrological and social sciences.

This Research Topic aims at bringing together scale-related contributions to addressing multiple UPH. Progress with regard to overcoming sociohydrological scale issues requires contributions that increase our understanding on the effects of human activities across spatial scale-levels (water use, land use, water management, infrastructure) on hydrological extremes (droughts and floods) and the spatial distribution of water availability in surface- and groundwater resources.

Contributions could involve case studies using both hydrosocial and sociohydrological perspectives on hydrological extremes (floods and droughts), water governance, virtual water transfer, water and the SDGs, transboundary rivers, etc. All contributions should address at least one of the following scale-related topics:
• ‘Sociohydrological laws/processes’ at the catchment scale and the processes across spatial scale-levels that trigger people’s responses (sociohydrological feedback-mechanisms).
• Required spatiotemporal resolution to capture the relevant socio-hydrological dynamics in simulation models, and their implications for different forms of uncertainty.
• Suitability of the scale (extent, resolution) of data obtained from innovative technologies for detecting relevant human activities and their effect.
• Ways to obtain information (at the required spatiotemporal detail) from existing data sources on human and water systems, and from participatory methods (participatory GIS, serious games) to help us in filling in the blanks in sociohydrology.
• Relevant spatial and temporal scale-levels for communicating (the uncertainty in) hydrological predictions, and informing policymakers on the water-related trade-offs and synergies with regard to achieving multiple SDGs.

About Delft 2021: 1st Sociohydrology Conference-Sociohydrology has seen spectacular growth since its inception seven years ago. Until now, it has been difficult to bring the entire community together, including especially social scientists, water managers and stakeholders under one umbrella. In view of the urgency of the societal challenges and the need for a unified, holistic and inclusive approach to address these grand challenges, there is an urgent need for a larger, international conference. Delft 2021: Advancing Sociohydrology Conference, the first of its kind, will provide the necessary visibility and wider scope to attract a cross-section of water scientists and stakeholders


Keywords: Scale issues, Historical sociohydrology, comparative studies, regional case studies, socioeconomic and hydroclimatic gradients


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

This Research Topic is a part of the Delft 2021: 1st Sociohydrology Conference series. To view the other sessions please follow the links below:


Several unsolved problems in hydrology involve changes in the water cycle due to human causes and reversely also changes in human lives due to changing water situations. This underlines the lack in our understanding of the interplay between water and people across scales and levels. Such understanding is crucial for adequately informing actors in multi-level water governance (water users, water managers, chains-actors in the food sector, and others) and to develop knowledge tools to support this (e.g. indicators, models, and serious games). The existing mismatch between governance and water-system scales and levels calls for interdisciplinary efforts involving hydrological and social sciences.

This Research Topic aims at bringing together scale-related contributions to addressing multiple UPH. Progress with regard to overcoming sociohydrological scale issues requires contributions that increase our understanding on the effects of human activities across spatial scale-levels (water use, land use, water management, infrastructure) on hydrological extremes (droughts and floods) and the spatial distribution of water availability in surface- and groundwater resources.

Contributions could involve case studies using both hydrosocial and sociohydrological perspectives on hydrological extremes (floods and droughts), water governance, virtual water transfer, water and the SDGs, transboundary rivers, etc. All contributions should address at least one of the following scale-related topics:
• ‘Sociohydrological laws/processes’ at the catchment scale and the processes across spatial scale-levels that trigger people’s responses (sociohydrological feedback-mechanisms).
• Required spatiotemporal resolution to capture the relevant socio-hydrological dynamics in simulation models, and their implications for different forms of uncertainty.
• Suitability of the scale (extent, resolution) of data obtained from innovative technologies for detecting relevant human activities and their effect.
• Ways to obtain information (at the required spatiotemporal detail) from existing data sources on human and water systems, and from participatory methods (participatory GIS, serious games) to help us in filling in the blanks in sociohydrology.
• Relevant spatial and temporal scale-levels for communicating (the uncertainty in) hydrological predictions, and informing policymakers on the water-related trade-offs and synergies with regard to achieving multiple SDGs.

About Delft 2021: 1st Sociohydrology Conference-Sociohydrology has seen spectacular growth since its inception seven years ago. Until now, it has been difficult to bring the entire community together, including especially social scientists, water managers and stakeholders under one umbrella. In view of the urgency of the societal challenges and the need for a unified, holistic and inclusive approach to address these grand challenges, there is an urgent need for a larger, international conference. Delft 2021: Advancing Sociohydrology Conference, the first of its kind, will provide the necessary visibility and wider scope to attract a cross-section of water scientists and stakeholders


Keywords: Scale issues, Historical sociohydrology, comparative studies, regional case studies, socioeconomic and hydroclimatic gradients


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

19 December 2021 Abstract
25 July 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

19 December 2021 Abstract
25 July 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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