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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-06-01 - 2022-05-31

ClimGrassHydro aims in understanding the individual and combined effects of multiple levels of climate warming, elevated CO2 and severe drought on the ecohydrology of mountain grassland. In the project the implications of ecohydrological responses for agricultural yield and water yield are quantified, and a platform is developed for transdisciplinary exchange and integration of knowledge with climate economics and stakeholders from the agricultural and energy sectors for identifying vulnerabilities and possibilities for climate-smart adaptation.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-06-01 - 2022-05-31

Water is the natural foundation of life and essential for agricultural production and drinking water supply. In the past, the focus in protecting water resources has been on the assessment of the quantitative and chemical status of surface water and groundwater bodies. However, an essential part of the global water cycle making up some of the largest freshwater resources has received little attention: water in the vadose zone. Climate and land use change are known to alter water fluxes in the vadose zone, and thus groundwater recharge rates. Despite the fact that any change of groundwater recharge would have dramatic impacts on the availability of water, and hence severe economic and ecological consequences, we know little about groundwater recharge rates for Austria. One of the reasons is that it cannot be measured directly, and predictions of hydrological models mainly rely on model assumptions simplifying the physically based processes in soil hydrology, either due to limited computational time, unsolved issues with upscaling local process information or lack of data on soil hydraulic properties. Moreover, uncertainties with model calibration are poorly understood requiring, however, the analysis of long-term data sets for improving estimations and finally being able to assess the impact of climate change on the availability of water resources. Therefore, this project tackles one of the most challenging problems with water availability in mountain regions: prediction of the variability and associated uncertainties of groundwater recharge and its implication for sustainable land use. The aim of this study is to quantify and predict groundwater recharge rates, their variability and uncertainties and the potential impacts for land use and water management in Austria. To address this aim this project will (1) make use of the existing long-term monitoring infrastructure with soil water monitoring data for up to 20 years at 14 locations in Austria, (2) develop and apply new calibration and validation procedures for estimation of soil hydraulic properties and groundwater recharge rates and associated uncertainties for the local scales, (3) upscale the local information by its implementation into regional hydrological and integrated bio-physical, economic model approaches and testing the improvement of implementation by analysing the model uncertainties, and (4) assess implications of climate and socio-economic drivers on water availability, land use and crop production. The outcomes are a set of scientifically based mathematical models on different scales for simulation of water fluxes and soil water balance, maps giving information on groundwater recharge rates including their uncertainties for current and future climate conditions, and integrated land-water management guidelines to provide policy advice on sustainable utilization and management of soil water resources in the context of global change. Based on these outcomes, we will identify areas with potential conflicts in water availability for agricultural production or areas with reduced groundwater recharge rates requiring a more sustainable management of groundwater resources and irrigation. Further, this project will identify regions with changes in the availability of water as a resource and provide solutions on water management for reducing potential conflicts over water use in future.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-10-01 - 2022-04-30

Choosing an adequate irrigation system depends on economical and practical aspects. As drip irrigation has some advantages from an ecological point of view, it requires a detailed study of economical and practical aspects under given local conditions. Objectives: (1) Evaluating different irrigation systems, especially drip irrigation (2) Installing and optimizing a soil water monitoring station with respect to demand oriented irrigation scheduling (3) Applying and testing decision support algorithms for demand oriented irrigation scheduling (4) Developing recommendations for irrigating selected crops at Obersiebenbrunn

Supervised Theses and Dissertations