Main Research Activities
The knowledge of the spatial and temporal distribution of water resources is of vital importance for all water management activities. Both- the surplus of water causing floods or water shortages during drought periods may cause major economic, ecological, political and social problems. In many parts of the world water became a limiting factor of social development. Even in water-rich countries like Germany, many social and economic processes depend on the effective use and protection of water resources.
As an engineering department, our research mainly relates to the provision and application of hydrological data and information for hydraulic engineering and water management. Moreover, we are working in the field of water management issues. Based on hydrological information, e.g. for flood design and flood risk assessments, water management systems are analyzed, simulated and optimized.
Engineering hydrology provides data and information about spatial and temporal distribution of water quantity.
The analysis of the hydrological conditions is carried out in two ways:
- Measured time series are analyzed by statistical methods to provide probabilistic information about runoffs. These are used for the planning and dimensioning of water management components, like dams and diversions, for water utilisations and constructions at or in rivers. Therefore we develop and apply new, particularly multivariate, statistical methods. Subsequently it is possible to make complex statements, for example regarding the risk of dam failure or regarding the security of water supply by dams and from groundwater.
- With the deterministic models, processes of the hydrological cycle for a defined spatial region are simulated and statements about unobserved rivers and for future conditions (e.g. under impacts of water management) are made. Those models are used e.g. in flood forecasting or to estimate the effect of human interventions.
In the area of water management we develop and improve computer-based management and planning tools. Beside plannings for operation of individual water management components (e.g. dams), we focus our research activities on the development of procedures and methodologies for rational usage of water management systems within river basins and supply areas.
Special focus is directed towards the security in extreme hydrological situations as well as on the evaluation of the impact of changing natural, economic, social and technical conditions. Based on the aspects of technological assessments, the ecological and economic consequences of water management activities are evaluated and implemented as part of complex decision support systems.