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FUTURE DANUBE - Vorhersage zukünftiger Trends in der gesundheitsbezogenen mikrobiologischen Wasserqualität von Flüssen in einer sich stark verändernden Welt

FUTURE DANUBE - Vorhersage zukünftiger Trends in der gesundheitsbezogenen mikrobiologischen...

Main application:
Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences

Scientific management:
Alexander Kirschner (Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences)

Project partners:
Alfred Paul Blaschke (TU Wien)
Regina Sommer (Medical University of Vienna)

Research field:
gesundheitsbezogene Wasser Mkrobiologie

Project-ID: LS19-016
Project start: 01. October 2021
Runtime: 36 months / not yet started
Funding amount: € 290.000,00

Brief summary

Rivers play an essential role in supporting human health by supplying water for human consumption or irrigation and providing natural environments for recreation. Rivers serve also as important receiving water bodies for communal sewage disposal, imposing microbial faecal pollution hazards and a need for target-oriented health risk management. Due to a limited research methodology in the past, very little is known on the health-related challenges rivers will face due to global change phenomena (e.g. climatic, demographic, economic and technical changes, potential emerging threats such as the growing navigation industry). The proposed project will establish a new cutting-edge combination of microbiological and molecular biological parameters for river water of human-impacted large river catchments, allowing the robust calibration and verification of health-related water quality simulation tools. Genetic microbial source tracking markers for bacterial and viral faecal pollution and standardized indicators will be applied in concert for water quality investigations. The recently developed simulation tool QMRAcatch will be used for faecal pollution and health-related water quality modelling. A multidisciplinary team of scientists, governmental water and health experts, as well as experienced practitioners from a leading water supply utility will formulate scenarios of timely and hitherto unsolved global change problems for human-impacted large rivers. In a first step, the defined scenarios will be simulated to predict health-related water quality challenges for the Danube River at the Lower Austrian section. In a second step, the detailed information from the Danube River will be used to extrapolate to other representative European large river locations. The ultimate aim of the project is to establish a basic scientific understanding concerning the health-related microbiological water quality aspects of river water resources, facing future global change phenomena. The project will also guide optimal water quality management strategies and bring the latest research developments to the Lower Austrian governmental bodies and local authorities as well as water suppliers. The established methodology will also be of great interest for riverine water resources outside Europe, guiding sustainable health-related management in a vastly changing world.

Water Hygiene, Molecular Biology, Risk Assessment

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