LIST WATER LECTURES Seminar Series 2018 #11


As part of the LIST Water Lectures series organised for the fall session 2018, the next event will take place on 30 October 2018 at LIST premises in Belvaux (LU).

Dr. Anne van Loon from the University of Birmingham (UK) will be the invited speaker and will make an oral presentation.


Groundwater drought in Europe: natural & human processes and the special case of 2018

In Europe, around 65% percent of the drinking water is extracted from groundwater. Groundwater drought (defined as below normal groundwater levels), therefore, poses a threat to water security. Groundwater droughts seem to have increased over the past decades, with recent events in 2011-12, 2015 and 2017-18 exhibiting spatial coherence across large areas of Europe. For good groundwater drought preparation and management, it is essential to better understand the processes underlying the development of groundwater drought. One aspect is the propagation of rainfall deficits into groundwater, which is strongly influenced by the response time of the geology of the region. We will show some examples of this for the UK, the Netherlands and Germany and look at the potential of using meteorological data and GRACE Total Water Storage to monitor groundwater drought. But groundwater drought is not only determined by natural processes. Human activities, notably groundwater abstraction for different purposes, is also expected to strongly influence groundwater drought severity and duration. We will show new approaches for quantifying the effects of abstraction on groundwater drought, with examples from the UK and Spain, using large-sample hydrology, clustering techniques, and qualitative information for attribution. Finally, analysis of groundwater drought impacts, responses, and policies increases our understanding of the feedbacks between groundwater, drought and society. We will illustrate these processes with some recent drought events. We will compare the ongoing 2018 drought with well-known
historic European drought events, such as 2015, 2003, and the early 90s. We will show that whether or not droughts result in groundwater shortage is very much dependent on local conditions (hydrogeology & abstraction) and characteristics of the drought event and the preceding period. For safeguarding Europe’s drinking water supply during future drought, management strategies need to include groundwater drought monitoring, assessment of impacts, and understanding of feedbacks.

About LIST Water Lectures Seminar series

Visit the main LIST WATER LECTURES SERIES page / 2018 edition >

The LIST Water Lectures series were launched in January 2017 and covers various aspects of water resources research towards a sustainable river basin management. The series aggregate a group of outstanding experts and scientists in water resources research and related fields. They are funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and organised by the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) in the framework of the Doctoral Training unit in hydrological sciences’ activities.

> For any question on this event, contact Julian Klaus via email.

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