Variabilities and changes due to natural and anthropogenic causes in the water cycle always presented a challenge for water management planning. Practitioners traditionally coped with variabilities in the hydrological processes by assuming stationarity in the probability distributions and attempted to address non-stationarity by revising this probabilistic properties via continued hydro-climatological observations. Recently, this practice was questioned and more reliance on Global Circulation Models was put forward as an alternative for water management plannig. This paper takes a brief assessment of the state of Global Circulation Models (GCM) and their applications by presenting case studies over Global, European and African domains accompanied by literature examples. Our paper demonstrates core deficiencies in GCM based water resources assessments and articulates the need for improved Earth system monitoring that is essential not only for water managers, but to aid the improvements of GCMs in the future. © Author(s) 2016.