GLOWA-Danube: Groundwater Management and Water Supply, Phase 1
Actions in business and society no longer have a purely local focus and impact but involve increasingly the Earth as a whole.This process of globalization represents a challenge requiring new research strategies.
Global Change Research is done with the objective of revealing to politics, industry and society the causes of the global pattern changes observed and the interactions involved, the extent to which the natural variability of global environmental phenomena is influenced by humankind, the extent to which changes can be forecasted, and the implications of these changes for social systems, in particular with regard to the aim of sustainable development.Because global environmental changes alter the current and future living conditions of people, there is an increasing need to shift this research towards more direct practical applications in order to help to provide answers to the questions raised by stakeholders and decision-makers. As a major contribution to this effort the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has launched the program GLOWA.
Water affects all economic, cultural, social and ecological aspects of daily life and forms the basis for functioning substance cycles and hence for a clean and stable environment. No scientific discipline, with its inevitably unilateral view of the world, is on its own capable to understand the complex interactions between nature, water and humans. It is thus not able to develop methods for a sustainable water resource management under changing boundary conditions. To overcome this, a group of researchers consisting of hydrologists, water resources engineers, meteorologists, glaciologists, geographers, ecologists, environmental economists, environmental psychologists and computer scientists has gathered within the framework of GLOWA-Danube.
Aims of GLOWA-Danube:
Common research in GLOWA-Danube aims at the development and utilization of the integrated decision support system DANUBIA to investigate ways of sustainable future water use. It will integrate the large expertise of the involved partners to build a platform to commonly solve practical future problems.
DANUBIA - an integrated environmental decision support system
Upon completion, DANUBIA will be able to simulate water-related issues of environmental management under ecological, economical and cultural aspects, such as flood risk and protection, agriculture and water quality and quantity, tourism and water as well as water and climate. It will examine the sustainability of the proposed solution scenarios. DANUBIA will contribute to provide optimal solutions for a sustainable environmental management in large, heterogeneous catchments.
Investigation area: The Upper Danube Basin
The Upper Danube Basin (covering an area of almost 80.000 km2; at gauge Passau), where many water-related problems are exemplarily concentrated (e.g. up- and downstreamconflict, water quality and environmental protection, tourism, Alps vs. prealpine regions, flood risks, vulnerability due to climatic change), will serve as the experimental test bed for DANUBIA.GLOWA-Danube is the first attempt to model a large Alpine watershed with all its specific challenges (such as climate, lateral flows, glacier and snow as well as different administrative systems) under combined natural,engineering and social science aspects. The Alps and their forelands enforce large gradients in climate, vegetation and water supply within a comparably small area, which, along with good data coverage in both natural and social sciences, makes the Upper Danube an excellent prototype for integrative research.
Contributions of the research group "Groundwater and Water Resources Management" toDanubia
The research group "Groundwater and Water Management" within the framework of GLOWA-Danube develops a model of the three-dimensional groundwater flow for the upper Danube catchment area and a model for the simulation of water supply and water consumption in the domestic and industrial sector. The groundwater and the water-resources models are linked to each other and to the models of the other contributing institutes following the aforementioned DANUBIA scheme.
The Groundwater Model
The main aim of the groundwater model is to assess and forecast quantity and quality of the groundwater resources together with the other physically based models under conditions of global change. Upon completion, the groundwater flow and transport model currently being developed will be the largest multi-purpose numerical groundwater model ever created in Germany with respect to area andcomplexity. The construction of a conceptual hydrogeological model for such an enormous area is a demanding task which requires not only the collection of extremely large quantities of data but also the use of advanced data managing and evaluation tools. Additionally, interpolation methods capable of considering the different degrees of confidence of the values and the existenceof discontinuities such as geological boundaries are utilised.
The Water Supply Model
The specific aim of the Water Supply model is the creation of a model which is not only able to simulate the present day system of water extraction, treatment and distribution but also its development and change with time. A number of factors can trigger change in a water supply system in the form of modernisation or decay, expansion, centralisation or decentralisation. Some of these factors are of a natural source. For example, climate and weather pattern change can increase or diminish local water supplies and/or the quality of the water.Yet most changes are brought about by decisions made by relevant actors in the field of water management or their behaviour. Systems of water rights and other political instruments governing the distribution and quality of water resources place direct demands on the state of water supply systems and determine trends such as centralisation/ decentralisation and liberalisation. Competing uses of water resources such as navigation, fishery, or tourism have a long-term effect upon water quality, as do the behavioural norms of certain productive branches of the economy: the use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture is here a evident example. Water demand changes as population increases or decreases, as new industrial parks are built, or as consumers make increasing use of new and water-efficient technologies. All of these factors in turn require decisions to be made on the part of the water supply administration: is it necessary to tap on to new resources, are new methods of water treatment required, does the water pricing systems cover all costs, need scarce water be allocated, and if yes, how should the needs of different users be weighted?
- Project manager
- Research assistants
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
- Cooperation partners