26 January 2017

Dutch Hydrological Society awards Yoshihide Wada Hydrology Prize

Dutch Hydrological Society recognizes IIASA Water Program Deputy Director Yoshihide Wada’s contribution to hydrological sciences

Once every three years the Dutch Hydrological Society awards its prestigious Hydrology Prize (NHV Hydrologieprijs) to recognize exceptional contribution to hydrological science. Yoshi, who has published over 50 articles in the field of hydrology over the last decade, won the prize due to his groundbreaking work which revealed the impact of human water consumption on drought.

Traditionally, drought is thought of as a hydrological extreme, however Wada et al showed that human water consumption increases both the frequency and severity of drought.  Their work which assessed the impact of human water consumption at a global scale found:

  •  Human water consumption substantially reduces streamflow and intensifies the magnitude of hydrological droughts regionally by 10-500%.
  • Hydrological droughts are driven primarily by human water consumption in many parts of North America, Europe and Asia.
  • Human water consumption alone increases global drought frequency by ~30%.
  • Global population living under severe hydrological drought occurrences increased from 0.7 to 2.2 billion over the period 1960-2010.

Historically people have blamed the weather for droughts. Due to this work, it is now recognized that that human consumption can have a significant impact on the frequency and severity of droughts. This has huge ramifications for how water resources should be managed.  With the global population and their water demands expected to increase significantly in the coming decades, these findings are vital for ensuring the sustainable management of water resources.  

This work was remarkable due to the scale of its contribution to both hydrological science and water resource management.

Well done Yoshi!

Publication Details

Wada, Y., L. P. H. van Beek, N. Wanders, and M. F. P. Bierkens (2013), Human water consumption intensifies hydrological drought worldwide, Environ. Res. Lett., 8, 034036, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/034036.

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Last edited: 27 January 2017


Yoshihide Wada

Deputy Program Director


T +43(0) 2236 807 241

Water Program


Vanham D, Hoekstra AY, Wada Y, Bouraoui F, de Roo A, Mekonnen MM, van de Bund WJ, Batelaan O, et al. (2018). Physical water scarcity metrics for monitoring progress towards SDG target 6.4: An evaluation of indicator 6.4.2 “Level of water stress”. Science of the Total Environment 613: 218-232. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.056.

Scanlon BR, Zhang Z, Save H, Sun AY, Müller Schmied H, van Beek LPH, Wiese DN, Wada Y, et al. (2018). Global models underestimate large decadal declining and rising water storage trends relative to GRACE satellite data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: e201704665. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1704665115. (In Press)

Dos Santos S, Adams EA, Neville G, Wada Y, de Sherbinin A, Mullin Bernhardt E, & Adamo SV (2017). Urban growth and water access in sub-Saharan Africa: Progress, challenges, and emerging research directions. Science of the Total Environment 607: 497-508. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.157.

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