The SOS framework requires a rigorous assessment of the challenges associated with its multi-dimensional structure. This includes not just multiple indicators, but also multiple scenarios and management pathways. In order to investigate these challenges, SOS-Water will apply the water system assessment framework within five different case study regions. These represent a set of river basins in Europe and beyond that face their own unique set of water challenges under varying environmental and socio-economic conditions, making an excellent test cases for the framework. Specifically, the case studies were chosen to represent the entirety of the most severe and urgent water challenges in Europe and beyond: (i) increasing water scarcity and changing water demand, (ii) the impacts of climate change, (iii) reduced environmental flows and biodiversity loss, (iv) water pollution, and (v) socio-political challenges.

By designing water system SOS within the selected case studies and by assessing the developed water system SOS across scales, SOS-Water will cover a broad range of ongoing and imminent water challenges. That will further support the future implementation of the SOS framework beyond the case studies and scales considered within SOS-Water, enhancing the assessment of future risks and vulnerabilities across scales.

Overview of case studies and non-exhaustive list of urgent water challenges and key sectors impacted.