RESEARCH AREA HYDRO
Water is life – thus, we strive to better understand and protect this vital source. Mountains, the water towers of our planet, provide every second human being in the world with freshwater. However, usage and consumption of water are on the rise, which further increases the importance of understanding and managing mountains as an essential drinking water resource. Yet, many important hydrogeological research questions remain unanswered. In particular, drinking water and thermal industries, urban construction projects, water management, and ultimately everyone of us, could benefit from a better understanding of local groundwater provenance and recharge. In order to advance this vital area of research, our department HYDRO focuses on alpine hydrogeology, karst hydrogeology and geothermal energy.
The hydrogeological properties of karst mountain areas have severe impacts on the water supply of adjacent settlement areas and can be used as indicators of imminent high water or dry periods. The long-term monitoring project KaWaMon (Karst Water Monitoring) comprises the continuous supervision of karst water occurrence in the Northern Calcareous Alps (i.a. Untersberg, Hagengebirge, Tennengebirge, Leoganger Steinberge) and the Hohe Tauern (Kitzsteinhorn). The collected data is consequently used to analyze, among other things, the drainage behavior and to gain information on the storage capability of the mountains.
Interactions between hydrogeological, structural and geomorphic processes in fault zones are of severe importance for geological engineering and water management concerns. Building on research data collected at the fault zone of the Torrener-Joch (federal states Salzburg, AT & Bavaria, DE), the project HydroFault aims to quantify and analyze, under a holistic and interdisciplinary approach, the hydrology of fault zones and its correlation with structural geological and geomorphological processes.