What happens when river engineering, hydropower use, climate change and industrial agriculture interact? What causes water scarcity and pesticide residues in water bodies?
Questions like these have been investigated by researchers of the WasserCluster Lunz, the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) and other European institutions. Theresearch results have now been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
In an open letter to Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler more than 60 scientists, among them representatives of the WasserCluster Lunz, demand that their scientific expertise be taken into account in the preparation of the Renewable Energies Expansion Act (EAG). The signatories, all of them experts in water ecology and biodiversity at several Austrian institutes, see a potential aggravation of the biodiversity crisis in running waters by a further expansion of hydropower that is not coordinated with ecological objectives.
(PDF to the open letter is linked in the text, photo © WasserCluster Lunz)
“The biodiversity and climate crisis should be fought with the same vehemence as the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The perspective paper of the Austrian Biodiversity Council, with members from the WasserCluster Lunz, calls for this.
More information you find here: www.biodiversityaustria.at
Intensive agricultural use leads to an increased entry of nutrients into nearby streams. Riparian buffer strips and wood banks are a well-known measure that protect against the entry of nutrients and pollutants and improve the self-cleaning power of a water body. In the next few years, the project RIBUST (RIparian BUffer STrips), funded by the state of Lower Austria, should investigate the potential of wood banks to reduce pollution in water.
In April 2020 we are happy to announce that two MSc-students of WasserCluster Lunz successfully finished their theses:
Samuel Ngari with his MSc-Thesis “Effects of agricultural land use on nutrients stoichiometry at River Nzoia headwaters in Kenya "
Harriet Asekenye with her MSc-Thesis “Impact of land use on water quality, sediment composition and functional response of microbial communities in three streams of the Nzoia catchment."
Both MSc-Theses were supervised from Thomas Hein and Gabriele Weigelhofer (AG BIGER).
Due to the corona pandemic the WasserCluster Lunz has changed its operation to a minimum mode. This means that only a few persons who carry out the most necessary work are physically present on site with an appropriate distance. If you want to get in contact with us, please do this mainly via e-mail. Our secretariat is also available by telephone during core hours (MO-TH 8-16, FR 8-12 o'clock).
Here you find contact details: http://wcl.ac.at/index.php/en/people
Your WasserCluster Lunz Team