TU Berlin

Urban Water InterfacesResearch focus 3


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Research focus 3: Application of new knowledge to urban water system management

The approach of current urban water management is to divert water and channelling it rapidly to downstream users. In the future, however, more emphasis has to be put on water recycling and management of contaminants behaviour in closed water cycles to improve urban water management faced with decreasing supplies. 

The doctoral theses envisaged in the proposed RTG will contribute to improve the following practical applications: (i) enhanced water retention and natural water purification within the city (e.g. by rainwater infiltration in urban unsaturated soils as addressed in T1); (ii) groundwater recharge for water supply via discharge of surface waters (N6, N7); (iii) use of purified wastewater to stabilise the water balance during low-flow or drought periods (T4, T5, T6); and (iv) countermeasures to prevent odour and corrosion in sewer networks (T2, T3). Other doctoral theses have potential to contribute to improved management on larger scales, for instance (v) by providing estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from urban water bodies (N3, N4) and (vi) through information about changes in the interaction between urban climate and the urban water cycle (N2). We envision practical applications which will receive greater emphasis during the second and third period of funding (years 4 - 9).

All practical applications will be considered from a future perspective taking changing demography, consumer behaviour, industrial processes and climate into account. Warming trends are an important issue because all biogeochemical transformation processes strongly depend on temperature (N3, N4, N5, N6). Furthermore, special emphasis will be given to the impact of technical water systems on natural water systems, and vice versa (T1, T4, T5, T6), as a key to an integrative urban water management.




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