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Volume 1 Issue 1, January 2023

The driving force of all nature and society

Water is not only necessary for life. It is also at the heart of human civilization. Throughout history, societies have progressed by improving access to clean water for drinking, sanitation and agriculture as well as by removing contaminants from water to reduce the effects on the environment and to improve public health. We now face new challenges due to reduced water availability and increasing demand. Challenges that can only be addressed by the integrated contribution of natural, social sciences and engineering. The image on the cover was chosen to represent the complex interaction of humans with water in the changing environment.

See Editorial

IMAGE: Piyaset/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty. COVER DESIGN: Valentina Monaco


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Comment & Opinion

  • Since water is a common good, the outcome of water-related research should be accessible to everyone. Since Open Science is more than just open access research articles, journals must work with the research community to enable fully open and FAIR science

    • Emma L. Schymanski
    • Stanislaus J. Schymanski
  • While the benefits of FAIR principles — findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable — and Open Data seem clear to most scientists, significant hurdles need to be overcome to make scientific databases useful and sustainable. The difficulties with incentivizing the community to share data, as encountered by the recently launched Open Membrane Database (OMD), can be used as a starting point to fuel the debate on the power and pitfalls of FAIR and Open Data practices.

    • Rhea Verbeke
  • The way in which human society uses water is continuously evolving. The present challenges related to clean water availability require the development of sustainable technologies and infrastructure. Furthermore, a stronger and wider appreciation of water inequalities and injustice demand an adequate transformation of water governance at local and global scale. We have asked nine experts in various sectors of water-related research to share their views on how water and sanitation science, technology and governance must evolve to meet the requirements of a healthier relationship between water and society.

    • Anna M. Michalak
    • Jun Xia
    • Joyeeta Gupta
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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • Development of the world’s hydropower is controversial because of its many documented environmental and societal implications. A global assessment of the unused profitable hydropower potential is performed with strict criteria to limit the environmental and social impact.

    • Patrick Bogaart
    News & Views
  • Water infrastructure improvements are needed in rural America. A series of county-level spatial econometric models showed positive economic development associated with water infrastructure spending in rural America. However, these benefits are unequally distributed among ethnoracial populations in interaction models.

    • Yolanda J. McDonald
    News & Views
  • Curtailing water use during drought is costly, but those costs are not evenly distributed. Socio–hydrological modelling shows how water burdens fall more heavily on poor households in response to water conservation policies.

    • Casey J. Wichman
    News & Views
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  • Global groundwater resources are under strain, with cascading effects on producers, food and fibre production systems, communities and ecosystems. In this Perspective, the authors call for a major shift in research, extension and policy priorities to build polycentric governance capacity and strategic planning tools to sustain aquifer-dependent communities.

    • Meagan E. Schipanski
    • Matthew R. Sanderson
    • Brent Auvermann
  • Recovering metals from wastewater and brine could augment metal stocks that are fundamental to modern technology. This Perspective assesses the potential of, and provides guidance for, recovering metals from wastewater and brine.

    • Ryan M. DuChanois
    • Nathanial J. Cooper
    • Menachem Elimelech
  • The story of satellite gravimetry’s progression from the fringes of hydrology to being a staple of large-scale water cycle and water resources science and the sole source of global observations of terrestrial water storage now an ‘essential climate variable’.

    • Matthew Rodell
    • John T. Reager
    Review Article
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