Rice (Oryza sativa L.), unlike other cereals, can grow well in paddy fields and is highly tolerant of excess water stress, from either submergence (in which part or all of the plant is under water) or waterlogging (in which excess water in soil limits gas diffusion). Rice handles submergence stress by internal aeration and growth controls. A quiescence strategy based on Submergence-1A (SUB1A) or an escape strategy based on SNORKEL1 (SK1) and SNORKEL2 (SK2) is used for the growth controls. On the other hand, rice handles waterlogging stress by forming lysigenous aerenchyma and a barrier to radial O2 loss (ROL) in roots in order to supply O2 to the root tip. In this article, we summarize recent advances in understanding the mechanisms of responding to excess water stresses (i.e., submergence and waterlogging) in rice and other gramineous plants. © 2012 Nishiuchi et al.