Research Topic

Solutions to Water Crises (Related to Actual Interventions)

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:


“Pluralistic water research” integrates the hydrological and the social to provide sustainable solutions to water crises. While relying upon robust quantitative modelling, sociohydrology captures crises across many waters (surface, ground and interstitial) along quantity and quality dimensions, hydrosocial unfurls power hierarchies in access to safe and required quota of water, be it for drinking or irrigation purposes. The success of engineering solutions laying out “hard” interventions such as solar powered irrigation, dams, high yielding crop varieties, water treatment plants and water distributions and purifications depend on “soft” socio-political, cultural and psychological variables like the political landscape, community behaviours and governance arrangements. How these soft parameters limit or advance the effect of hard interventions await more enhanced modelling and place-based qualitative analyses to disentangle various cause-effect pathways. While historical and process-based sociohydrology accommodates detailed temporal datasets and causal relationships across human-water systems, the hydrosocial paradigm reconciles “non-modern”, anti-hegemonic, water techniques and knowledge systems, animating local agencies within specific hydroscapes. This issue is dedicated to capture real time innovations through which water challenges have been confronted. It intends to unravel “storylines” along actionable water projects, reflecting on mediations across multiple actors and networks in specific spatio-temporal and cultural contexts, finally drawing our attention to the correlation between projected promises and actual realities. Situated at the crossroads of “boundary work”, we invite articles that will deploy a range of interdisciplinary frameworks like RANAS (Risk, Attitude, Norms, Ability, and Self-regulation), APIE (Awareness, Participation, Involvement and Engagement), HUPE (Historical Urban Political Ecology), etc. to demonstrate coupled sociohydrological and hydrosocial realties and in turn getting informed by empirical insights emanating from these actual water interventions. The final aim of the special issue is not to showcase water just actual interventions but to elicit a rigorous mapping of sustainable processes facilitating collective co-production of resilient water trajectories.

We invite technical experts, modelers, hydrosocial researchers and social scientists in general to suggest and showcase spatially-informed, historically-contingent, tested and appropriate water technologies and projects addressing particular sets of water crises. The research agenda is to explore both challenges and potentials in large-scale water projects involving transdisciplinary and trans-sectoral nodes of axis to finally learn from complex and sustainable processes and forge effective co-practices towards just and resilient water futures.

Cross-fertilizing sociohydrology with the hydrosocial and other frames of analyses, this Research Topic is motivated to showcase actual interventions addressing context specific water crises to learn from and critique ways through which intended and unintended consequences are generated across interplay of diverse technical and social variables along particular historical-geographies and cultures.

Some research questions/areas will include (but not restricted to) the following:
• Challenges and potentials embedded in needs-driven, field-adapted water technologies and social innovation; “infrastructural archipelagos” to address water challenges like WASH, etc.
• Innovative empirical techniques to disentangle cause and effects in adoption and use of water technologies
• Spatio-temporal, geospatial analysis revealing hotspots, uneven geographies of water, etc.
• Lessons from coproduction of water technologies involving multiple actors within specific geographical and cultural contexts
• Integration of biophysical model with participatory approaches to adapt to water challenges in specific hydroscapes.

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: sociohydrology, hydrosocial, solutions, water, resilient, WASH


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:


“Pluralistic water research” integrates the hydrological and the social to provide sustainable solutions to water crises. While relying upon robust quantitative modelling, sociohydrology captures crises across many waters (surface, ground and interstitial) along quantity and quality dimensions, hydrosocial unfurls power hierarchies in access to safe and required quota of water, be it for drinking or irrigation purposes. The success of engineering solutions laying out “hard” interventions such as solar powered irrigation, dams, high yielding crop varieties, water treatment plants and water distributions and purifications depend on “soft” socio-political, cultural and psychological variables like the political landscape, community behaviours and governance arrangements. How these soft parameters limit or advance the effect of hard interventions await more enhanced modelling and place-based qualitative analyses to disentangle various cause-effect pathways. While historical and process-based sociohydrology accommodates detailed temporal datasets and causal relationships across human-water systems, the hydrosocial paradigm reconciles “non-modern”, anti-hegemonic, water techniques and knowledge systems, animating local agencies within specific hydroscapes. This issue is dedicated to capture real time innovations through which water challenges have been confronted. It intends to unravel “storylines” along actionable water projects, reflecting on mediations across multiple actors and networks in specific spatio-temporal and cultural contexts, finally drawing our attention to the correlation between projected promises and actual realities. Situated at the crossroads of “boundary work”, we invite articles that will deploy a range of interdisciplinary frameworks like RANAS (Risk, Attitude, Norms, Ability, and Self-regulation), APIE (Awareness, Participation, Involvement and Engagement), HUPE (Historical Urban Political Ecology), etc. to demonstrate coupled sociohydrological and hydrosocial realties and in turn getting informed by empirical insights emanating from these actual water interventions. The final aim of the special issue is not to showcase water just actual interventions but to elicit a rigorous mapping of sustainable processes facilitating collective co-production of resilient water trajectories.

We invite technical experts, modelers, hydrosocial researchers and social scientists in general to suggest and showcase spatially-informed, historically-contingent, tested and appropriate water technologies and projects addressing particular sets of water crises. The research agenda is to explore both challenges and potentials in large-scale water projects involving transdisciplinary and trans-sectoral nodes of axis to finally learn from complex and sustainable processes and forge effective co-practices towards just and resilient water futures.

Cross-fertilizing sociohydrology with the hydrosocial and other frames of analyses, this Research Topic is motivated to showcase actual interventions addressing context specific water crises to learn from and critique ways through which intended and unintended consequences are generated across interplay of diverse technical and social variables along particular historical-geographies and cultures.

Some research questions/areas will include (but not restricted to) the following:
• Challenges and potentials embedded in needs-driven, field-adapted water technologies and social innovation; “infrastructural archipelagos” to address water challenges like WASH, etc.
• Innovative empirical techniques to disentangle cause and effects in adoption and use of water technologies
• Spatio-temporal, geospatial analysis revealing hotspots, uneven geographies of water, etc.
• Lessons from coproduction of water technologies involving multiple actors within specific geographical and cultural contexts
• Integration of biophysical model with participatory approaches to adapt to water challenges in specific hydroscapes.

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: sociohydrology, hydrosocial, solutions, water, resilient, WASH


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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