Impact of surface water management on groundwater quality in Alpine catchments

In Hydromix, we aim at investigating how hydropeaking, i. e. a highly intransient surface water flow regime induced by hydropower generation, controls subsurface flow at multiple spatial and temporal scales.

The interaction between surface water and groundwater is of pivotal importance in many fields of science and engineering. Quantifying the fluxes between these two environmental compartments is of practical relevance, for example, to delineate appropriate water resources management strategies, to perform water quality assessment and to understand ecosystem dynamics and functioning. Extensive research has been hence performed in the past in order to quantify the exchange of water between aquifers and surface water bodies in several diverse catchments worldwide.

The novelty of the proposed research lays in the investigation of the impact of hydropower use in Alpine catchments on groundwater flow in alluvial aquifers.

Specific scientific goals of the proposed research work are:

  • to develop numerical methods to perform auxiliary calculations to flow simulations to aid in sensitivity/uncertainty analysis and to reproduce appropriately flow at the field scale at reasonable computational costs. 
  • to quantify the uncertainty of predicted flow fields considering both parameter uncertainty as well as uncertainty in the interface conditions
  • to determine mixing properties of flow fields in real heterogeneous, anisotropic porous aquifers in which groundwater flow is influenced by river stage fluctuations at multiple temporal scale.

to aid in the design of field experiments so that resources are allocated optimally.


German Research Foundation (DFG)

Project duration

April 2019 - March 2022