Core Subject Area
Water | Soil
Water is indispensable for all ecological and societal processes. It plays a key role in supporting the rapidly growing world population. It influences ecosystems, biodiversity, landscapes and land uses. Every change to the water and matter cycles – whether from climate change, environmental catastrophes or globalization – changes the form and stability of landscapes and habitats leading to new risks for mankind and the environment.
About 150 scientists from a number of disciplines at the UFZ contribute to these system solutions. We develop innovative methods of chemical analysis and monitoring as well as computer models, in order to make predictions about the ecological condition and estimation of future development of waters and soils. We analyse, which changes are triggered by chemical compounds or stress factors such as floods, long periods of drought or invasive plant and animal species in water bodies. We deal with land use dynamics as the most important driver of the hydrological and matter budgets in river basins and support economics and politics in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive of the European Union. We also examine subsurface water and matter fluxes from the field level down to the pore scale. With the help of the UFZ’s research platform SAFIRA, we are developing management concepts for remediation of megasites (contaminated sites over expansive areas). In water-poor regions of the world accurate balances of water resources as well as new remediation and wastewater technologies support saving water resources and the reuse of wastewater.
Our primary goal is to secure the quantity and quality of existing water resources for both humans and natural ecosystems under the conditions of global change and to create the knowledge base for sustainable water management. Therefore the UFZ has initiated the Water Science Alliance – a network that will strenghten German water research on the national, European and international level (www.watersciencealliance.de).