Changes in climatic conditions, land use practices and soil and sediment pollution have large-scale adverse impacts on water quantity and quality. The current knowledge base in river basin management is not adequate to deal with these impacts. Austere is both integrating and developing knowledge to resolve this and disseminating it to stakeholders. In the water cycle, soil is a key element affecting groundwater recharge and the chemical composition of both subsurface and surface waters (the latter is additionally affected by sediments). The proper functioning of the river-sediment-soil-groundwater system is linked to key biogeochemical processes determining the filter, buffer and transformation capacity of soils and sediments. Austere aims at a better understanding of the system as a whole by identifying relevant processes, quantifying the associated parameters and developing numerical models of the groundwater-soil-sediment-river system to identify adverse trends in soil functioning, water quantity and quality. The modelling addresses all relevant scales starting from micro-scale water/solid interactions, the transport of dissolved species, pollutants as well as suspended matter in soil and groundwater systems at the catchments scale, and finally the regional scale, with case studies located in major river basins in Europe. With this integrated modelling system, Austere provides the basis for improved river basin management, enhanced soil and groundwater monitoring programs and the early identification and forecasting of impacts on water quantity and quality during this century. Austere is committed to the dissemination and exploitation of project results through structured workshops, dedicated short courses, and the active participation of consortium partners in national and international conferences. A peer review panel supervises the quality and direction of the project.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeIP - Integrated Project
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