Water and Climate

Water is essential for life on earth and vitally important for society. It also plays an important role in the climate. The natural cycle from ocean to atmosphere, back to earth via precipitation and via rivers to the oceans, exerts a crucial influence on regional and global climate patterns.

The Netherlands enjoys an international status as a centre of expertise in the areas of water management, water safety, water technology, maritime research and shipbuilding. Dutch researchers are also carrying out important research in the fields of wastewater purification, climate models and delta technology.

Within the NWO theme Water and Climate, research is being done into areas such as the fundamental principles underlying extreme weather, flood security, fresh water supply, changing ecosystems and climate predictability.

  • Challenges

    The Netherlands is a low-lying country, an inhabited delta. Due to its unique position in the delta of four major rivers, the Netherlands has a long tradition of working with and against water. The Netherlands enjoys a strong international reputation as a centre of expertise in the area of water management, water safety, water technology, maritime research and shipbuilding, which offers unique opportunities for science and economy.

    Opportunities and disasters

    Water holds great opportunities, but too much or too little of it can lead to major natural and humanitarian disasters. And the climate on earth is closely interwoven with water as well. The natural cycle from ocean to atmosphere, back to earth via precipitation and via rivers to the oceans, exerts a crucial influence on regional and global climate patterns. Moreover, seventy per cent of our planet is covered by water in the form of oceans. These contain vast and partly undiscovered treasures in terms of biodiversity and resources.

    Water in all of its facets

    The NWO theme Water and Climate offers scope for scientific research into both fresh and salt water and explores: the causes and consequences of climate variability; adaptation to rising sea levels and subsidence; governance issues and innovative water management; water purification and sustainable drinking water supply; further exploration and responsible exploitation of oceans; preservation of biodiversity and modern nature conservation.

    The Netherlands: a water management country

    The knowledge obtained through this research will enable a more efficient policy can be pursued in all of these fields. In addition, the Netherlands will be able to maintain and further strengthen its global position as a centre of expertise in the field of water management.

  • International

    There are a number of international collaborations within the theme Water and Climate.

    • JPI Water Challenges for a Changing World: Joint Programming Initiative: a European partnership with the aim of achieving sustainable water management within Europe and beyond.

    Joint Programming Initiative

    • JPI Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe
      a European partnership for the coordination of climate research.​​​​​​​

    Joint Programming Initiative

    • JPI Healthy and Productive Seas and OceansJoint Programming Initiative: a European partnership focused on sustainable exploitation of seas and oceans, including fisheries and transport.

     Joint Programming Initiative

    • 2ENRICHCollaboration with South Africa aimed at strengthening technological capabilities in the field of agriculture and water in Africa.