Organized Panel Session
Water has critically influenced the socioeconomics in Asia in the past and present. There are two reasons for this: one, the monsoons and seasonal rainfall have a significant impact, and two, many regions in Asia are terrains surrounded by water systems such as seas, rivers, lakes, and marshes that are part of the hydrosphere. When the region was primarily an agricultural society, a key task shared by the government and other authorities was securing the supply of water as well as avoiding extremes like droughts and floods, but a social repertoire of institutions, organizations, policies, and technologies varied among localities. Focusing on the 1876–1879 drought in the Deccan plateau of India and the water system and 1931 flood of Yangtze river in China, this session comparatively explores the efforts to cope with a climate and hydrology, and collectively examines economies and social welfare from the perspective of water.
In each case of India and China, with the collaboration between hydrologists and historians, this session aims to challenge the methodological difficulties in understanding water and climate historically. By constructing the meteorological database from the long-overlooked contemporary observations and then applying hydrological models and analyses to the data, we are historically reconstructing the natural environment of the time against which socioeconomic activities can be examined. Therefore, one of the goals of this session is to propose new data sets and methods to study the interactions between the natural and social landscapes.