German Research Tries Holistic Approach

Helmholtz scientists are working on solutions to the increasing scaracity of clean drinking water, a topic central to World Water Day, which was March 22.

According to a recent release from the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres in Berlin, the researchers are cooperating with partners from other countries to look at the issue from all angles – from its biological aspects to its economic dimensions and the legal framework. "Our research is targeted toward clarifying how the different aspects of this question interrelate and making detailed recommendations on the sustainable management of water as a fundamental natural resource," said Prof. Jürgen Mlynek, president of the association.

Some of the projects in progress are described below:

  • A new EU research program, the Goodwater Initial Training Network (ITN), trains specialists in the field of groundwater research and management, imparting cutting-edge scientific skills. The Institute of Groundwater Ecology at the German Research Center for Environmental Health in Munich is one of the institutes at the helm of this project.
  • Water in Central Asia (CAWa) research network aims to develop a sustainable cross-border water management system in five Central Asian states and to provide further training for Central Asian specialists in the field.
  • Specialists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research are developing a sustainable water management solution for the area that straddles Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories to secure an adequate supply of drinking water.
  • Six Helmholtz centres are involved in the most comprehensive research project ever on the long-term effects of climate change at regional level. As part of the large-scale project TERENO (TERrestrial ENvironmental Observatories), a total of four observatories will be set up in Germany to monitor the effects of climate change on local ecosystems and the corresponding effects on the economy.