Groundwater Isoscapes for Germany: Water Isotopes as an Innovative Tool for Sustainable Water Management
The project "IsoGW" creates an interpolated and dynamically adaptable distribution overview of stable water isotopes and tritium concentrations of groundwater for the whole of Germany. This form of representation is also known as 'Isoscape' and is not yet available for Germany. In combination with the known isotope distributions of groundwater and surface waters, hydrological processes such as groundwater recharge areas can be specifically identified or questions regarding the extraction of drinking water from bank filtrate can be answered. The new Groundwater Isoscape and the database on which it is based thus provide tools that can be used as a basis for sustainable groundwater management in Germany. With changing land uses and climate change, such new tools will be important. The groundwater mapping of isotopes is done from existing data of the state offices, from literature, from companies as well as from new measurement campaigns. The new isoscape and database will be made available to users in a free, interactive, long-term and expandable way. The public provision of all data as well as their visualization will take place via an internet application at the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR). The system shall be expandable via historical data as well as future measurements after the end of the project.
The overall objective of the joint project is to establish for the first time an extensible area-wide isoscape for stable water isotopes (d 18O and 2H) and tritium concentrations (3H) in groundwater for Germany. The basis for this is the creation of a public database, which will be visualized as an isoscape and made available via web services. On the basis of selected pilot sites best practice instructions will be created. The practical suitability of the isotope applications for different questions will be tested and demonstrated, such as climate-induced changes in groundwater recharge or quantification of bank filtration.