Water Science Alliance - Joining forces

The scientific expertise of German water research is excellent in individual areas, but in particular, the national networking and international visibility of the entire field of research are inadequate. The Water Science Alliance establishes structures that help to better utilise the existing potential of German water research in the development and processing of complex and interdisciplinary research topics within thematic alliances. The complementarity of the research institutions (major research institutions and universities) results in synergies from the joint use of infrastructures, observatories, and large-scale equipment, as well as the promotion of young scientists, in addition to the sharing of expertise.

14th Water Research Horizon Conference

We would like to announce the 14th Water Research Horizon Conference in Leipzig in collaboration with the UFZ on September 26-27, 2024.

Call for Abstracts & Registration - now open!

Join us in Leipzig and register for the conference or submit your abstract now!


Download Programme EN

Download Programme DE

Call for Abstracts

We are now inviting the submission of abstracts of presentations for inclusion in the conference programme. Don’t miss the chance to present your paper and contribute to the field of water research.

Session 1

Is there enough water for humans and nature at the same time?

Climate change induced shifts in the hydrologic cycle and the associated increase in the frequency and severity of hydrologic extremes progressively challenge water security in terms of quantity and quality, even in countries with temperate, humid climates like Germany. During the recent summer droughts, low groundwater levels, drying rivers, lakes and reservoirs, leading to shortages in water supply, degradation of water quality and impairments in aquatic ecosystems, were common occurrences across Germany. To mitigate such conditions in the future will require new approaches to water management that account for future spatio-temporal imbalances in water availability and water demand and better facilitate a conjunctive use of ground- and surface waters across regions. This session will identify the key challenges and discuss the scientific needs and knowledge that will be required to ultimately overcome them.

Session 2

How to address the water quality crisis at ecosystem level?

Despite substantial efforts, the objective of the European Water Framework Directive of achieving an at least good status of water bodies is not met in major parts of Germany and Europe. In fact, new methods in environmental chemistry identify increasing pressures from novel pollutants that enter via point and diffuse sources. And analysis of biological quality elements suggest that even the improvements made so far have come to a halt.

Thus, to ensure future improvements as well as the sustainable maintenance of high quality of water resources and aquatic ecosystems, new solutions outside classical "end-of-pipe" approaches are required. This session will identify current key pressures that threaten water quality at ecosystem level as well as solutions to overcome this crisis.

Session 3

How can society cope with the water crisis?

Human activities and the frequency of heavy rainfall, floods and droughts is increasing, with a corresponding impact on human and ecosystem health as well as the economy. An increasing number of authorities and industries implementing precautionary measures going along with the Climate Adaptation Act and Strategy, the National Water Strategy, the Natural Climate Protection Action Programme and other funding programs. It is evident that further commitment is required to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change on water resources.
The objective of this session is to enhance our understanding of the fundamental processes underlying water-related crises and to design new strategies for further crisis prevention such as measures to optimize the use of existing water resources, increasing water supply, reduce water consumption, safeguarding water quality, as well as implementing adaptive measures to climate change.

Click here for more details on how to submit your abstract. The deadline for submission is July 26, 2024.

Check out if you are eligible for our travel grant: WSA Career Navigator


First WSA Career Navigator grant approved for Stefan Grosenick from the Aquatic Ecology working group, University of Duisburg Essen

On the road to expertise: the electrofishing licence as the key to fish ecology

The aquatic world harbours a multitude of fascinating secrets and is of enormous importance for the ecological balance of our planet. Within this complex ecosystem, fish play a central role and their study and protection is crucial for the preservation of water quality.

In his quest to develop his expertise in this field and contribute to the protection of aquatic habitats, Stefan Grosenick has decided to obtain an electrofishing licence. This step not only marks a milestone in his personal and professional development, but also a significant contribution to the research and conservation of our waters. The EU Water Framework Directive calls for an ecological assessment of flowing waters, with fish playing a prominent role as indicators of water quality. Their sensitivity to environmental changes (such as those caused by cross structures in our watercourses and obstacles to the so-called "ecological continuity" increasingly endangering spawning migrations/genetic exchange) and pollutant inputs make them crucial indicators of potential issues in our water bodies.