Monitoring and modelling system for the assessment of stress on groundwater resources and public water supply


Brief description

In Germany, more than 70 percent of drinking water is obtained from groundwater. Groundwater management and thus drinking water management is exposed to a number of stressors, in particular drought, competing uses and substance loads. It must also respond to economic and regulatory demands and changes. Data and models provide important foundations for management decisions, but are often not available in a sufficiently up-to-date form, are not sufficiently linked, and are thus of limited use, especially for adapting to new climatic or regulatory situations. Therefore, StressRes is developing a real-time digital monitoring and integrated modeling system for agricultural drinking water production areas that can use stress test scenarios to support and improve the resilience of drinking water management, both quantitatively and qualitatively. This monitoring and modeling system will be closely linked to an analysis of the political-regulatory and economic framework and challenges to drinking water management in agricultural areas.



Together with the regional water supplier, a monitoring and model system will be installed and tested in two different drinking water extraction areas in the vicinity of Freiburg i. Br. In addition to the tapped aquifer, the entire catchment area of the inflowing surface waters will also be taken into account. The project aims at improving the understanding of the system with regard to the importance of indirect groundwater recharge via surface-groundwater interaction. In parallel, remotely sensed measurement systems will be developed to capture real-time GW recharge and nitrate concentration in the unsaturated zone, filling a digitization gap whose added value for model systems of water and nitrate balance will be tested. StressRes also aims to develop a deeper understanding of policy and regulatory regimes, as well as the use conflicts and challenges of sustainable groundwater management. Based on this, influencing factors for successful groundwater management will be identified by means of a comparative case analysis in Germany. The findings of these analyses will be translated into generalizable digital stress test 'event scenarios' that can represent hydroclimatic events, agricultural management and competing water uses during droughts, as well as economic factors and political regulations. Finally, success factors will be identified and incentives for an increased use of innovative digital solutions in groundwater management will be developed, which will provide a basis for measures and strategies to increase the resilience of drinking water management - regionally in the study area as well as beyond. StressRes will thus provide a holistic system understanding and resilient decision-making tools for groundwater-supporting drinking water utilities, strengthening their resilience to multiple stressors.

Working scheme StressRes. Source: StressRes

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