The current and future state of our water resources

The project team evaluates the current state of scientific knowledge regarding the quantitative and qualitative status of water resources on a global, European and German national level. The aim is to assess possible future changes in the state of water resources and thus support the development of related economic and innovative policy measures.

Research approach

The aim of the project is to assess the current state of water resources and to examine their availability, quality as well as the corresponding demand. The status is analyzed globally as well as regionally both on a European and German level. Observational data from various platforms such as FAO Aquastat and EUROSTAT and model data from the “Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project” platform are used with the aim to analyze past and future trends. The goal is to adequately depict the uncertainty in the observation and model data using an ensemble approach (i.e. the use of a broad basis of different models). This provides the project team with an extensive knowledge base and offers the chance to assess current trends and possible future changes against the backdrop of uncertainty regarding the available data.


Worldwide, water resources are getting increasingly under pressure. On the one hand, climate change is intensifying the global hydrological cycle, making water extremes such as droughts and floods more frequent and more pronounced. On the other hand, social patterns of water use are changing. As a result, conflicts over water resources are predicted to increase. Against this backdrop, it is important to take stock of the state of our water resources at both a global and regional level in order to explore ways of adapting to the coming changes. The Expertenkommission Forschung und Innovation (EFI) would like to use the results of this project to advise the Federal Government with regard to economic and innovative policy measures. 


The project “Current Inventory and Forecast for Freshwater Resources” was commissioned by the “Expertenkommission Forschung und Innovation” (EFI) as part of the priority study “Innovations in Water Management”.


2023/11 – 2024/08