Ensuring the good quality of Europe’s groundwater remains a challenge for all EU member states despite current legislation for water resource protection. In particular, the ecological impacts on groundwater fauna are largely unknown, with uncertain consequences for drinking water supply. We investigate anthropogenic stressors (e.g., pollutants, temperature) and their ecological impacts in order to test and develop groundwater quality indicators for continuous monitoring.
Groundwater is Europe’s most important source of drinking water. However, in many regions its quantity has dropped over the past hot and dry years as the result of a combination of climate change effects and anthropogenic water use patterns. We investigate these combined effects on groundwater availability and the inherent uncertainties in forecasting water consumption patterns and the effects of climate change in order to inform local and pan-European groundwater management.
Different types of groundwater use, for instance for drinking water supply, for irrigation, and agricultural nutrient input, are increasingly contested. Conflicts also arise between the rural areas that provide groundwater and the cities that consume it. We analyse conflicts around groundwater with a particular focus on embedded power relations and inequalities in groundwater governance.
Rules for using groundwater have emerged over centuries and originate in times when there was less stress on the resource than there is today. Moreover, groundwater’s invisibility facilitates unruly use, and makes restrictions difficult to implement. We investigate the underlying cultural dimensions of unregulated groundwater extractions in selected European case studies.