Water and matter flux dynamics in catchments

We are quite fortunate in Germany and in most parts of Europe: thanks to sufficient precipitation and water resources as well as cutting-edge research and technology, our drinking water is clean, safe and affordable and most of our rivers and lakes are in a reasonable chemical state. But will this situation persist into the future, if matter flux dynamics change due to climate- and land-use change (e.g. agricultural intensification), and more and more nutrients and pollutants enter the water cycle?

To better understand and project changes to our surface waters and groundwater, we are investigating water and matter flux dynamics in entire river catchments. We assume that spatial and temporal patterns of water-bound matter fluxes are dominantly controlled by the heterogeneity of catchments, specific functional zones for mobilization and matter turnover as well as the dynamics of water flow paths and transit times. We need to be able to understand and quantify, when, where and how mobilization, transport and turnover of matter take place. Only then, will we be able to predict future impacts on our surface waters and groundwater, and develop appropriate management strategies.

Further information about the Integrated Project "Catchment Dynamics":