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University of Bayreuth, Media Release N0. 046/2021 - April 19th 2021

Not enough rain, too hot, low water levels in streams and rivers: How do we deal with it?

Climate change not only affects the soil in forests and fields, which are far from recovering after three particularly dry summers - especially in Franconia. The consequences for ecosystems in rivers and streams raise pressing questions. The opening event of the dialogue forum "Water Controversies" at the University of Bayreuth is dedicated to these issues. Experts are eager to discuss publicly the problem of low water levels, at the invitation of the AquaKlif project of the Bayreuth Centre for Ecology & Environmental Research (BayCEER) on 20 May 2021.

A completely dry riverbed (here the Kirnach at the Unterthingau gauge in summer 2018).

Climate change poses new challenges in many aspects of the area of water, and there are controversial positions on how to address them. Experts from research and practice will discuss these urgent questions in the dialogue forum "Water Controversies" with a parrticular focus on the area of southern Germany. The first topic of discussion on Thursday, 20 May, will be low water levels: What does it mean for aquatic ecosystems when a stream dries up completely in summer or "turns" due to a lack of oxygen? What proportion of wastewater is treated during dry periods? Is this risky? How well have the emergency plans for Bavaria's major rivers worked? In many cases, the question of who is allowed to use the remaining water in streams and rivers, and for what purposes, during periods of low water scarcity is a source of controversy.

Discussing these questions will be:

  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Peiffer, Chair of Hydrology and Director of BayCEER at the University of Bayreuth (Moderator)
  • Prof. Johannes Barth, Hydrogeologist, GeoZentrum Nordbayern EN, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg
  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Geist, Aquatic Systems Biology, TUM School of Life Sciences in Weihenstephan, Technical University of Munich
  • Isabella Hirsch, Chair of Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft in Franken e.V.
  • Eva-Barbara Meidl, Water Management, Regional Government of Lower Franconia, Würzburg
  • Dr. Martin Mörtl, Water Monitoring, Water Management Board of Hof
  • Sebastian Schönauer, Spokesman of the working group Water, Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany

Anyone working in the area of water and all those wishing to learn more about the topic are invited to participate online. Further information and the option of registering online can be found at: www.bayceer.uni-bayreuth.de/wasserkontroversen

"Water Controversies" is organised as part of the praxis dialogue being conducted by the research project "AquaKlif – Effects of multiple stressors on stream ecosystems during climate change", funded by the State Ministry of Science and the Arts as part of the Bavarian climate research network bayklif.

We would be happy to arrange an interview with Prof. Dr. Peiffer before the event. He is spokesperson of the joint project AquaKlif. The project uses experimental approaches, measurements on streams, and model calculations to investigate how rising temperatures, fine sediment influx, and fluctuating runoff volumes affect ecosystems in flowing waters in Bavaria - and what measures can be taken to counteract this.



Dr. Birgit ThiesBayCEER Office Bayreuth Centre for Ecology & Environmental Research at the University of Bayreuth

Phone: +49(0)921 / 55-5700
E-Mail: birgit.thies@uni-bayreuth.de
Dr.-Hans-Frisch-Straße 1-3, 95448 Bayreuth


Anja-Maria Meister

PR Spokesperson University of Bayreuth

Phone: +49 (0) 921 / 55-5300
E-mail: anja.meister@uni-bayreuth.de