Summer School 2012
Rural regions play a central role in the management of water resources of the earth. Most ground- and freshwater originates from these regions, but they do not only “produce” water, on a global scale agriculture consumes more than 70% of freshwater resources. The expected climatic changes aggravate the situation, especially in countries where water is scarce. In Germany (and Europe), the problems of water quantity are less important than that of quality, because many freshwater bodies are polluted. As a countermeasure to improve the ecological quality of water bodies, the European Community has implemented the Water Framework Directive (WFD). This integrated management of catchments is much more than the simulation of water budget. It also includes impacts on economy, ecology of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and effects of land use.
The WFD has stimulated many interdisciplinary research activities aiming at an integrated management of catchments. The application of these methods and models is not limited to Europe, they can be applied to other climates as well - the sustainable use of water resources in rural landscapes is a global problem.
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