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Global Assessment of Water Stress in Karst Regions in a Changing World (GloW)

Aims and objectives

The research group GloW aims on closing the knowledge gap of the regional and large-scale availability of karst water resources. The project is funded by the Emmy Noether Programme (German Research Foundation). For the next 5 years, the group will

  • gather a better understanding of karstic soil, epikarst and groundwater recharge processes at 5 karst experimental laboratories (D, UK, ES, USA, AU) using spatially high resolved soil moisture monitoring networks and soil water isotope sampling schemes, 
  • analyse factors that control karstification and groundwater dynamics using a recently developed karst database that contains hundreds of karst spring discharge observations around the globe,
  • develop a new and systematic approach that incorporates the new findings to provide a large-scale simulation tool to quantify karst water resources across karst regions worldwide and to assess present and future risk of water stress.


Project term: Jul 2017 - Jun 2022

Funding volume: € 1,400,000.

Project Design | WP2 |


Project design

To process these research objectives, five work packages (WPs) are defined, which are accompanied by a project administration and an advisory board.
​To ensure progress in all work packages and high scientific quality an advisory board support the group's decisions. It is composed of an international team of experts with complementary experience. It will also guide the PI of the group to become an independent researcher and successful project manager. Furthermore, administrational support, KDB maintenance and data acquisition, as well as the maintenance of a project webpage are included in the project.


WP2: Global Karst Monitoring Program

In order to improve the understanding of recharge processes in karst systems, a network of soil moisture measurement have been installed at five sites in the world. The measurement of soil moisture evolution at a high resolution at different locations and depth is going to allow the determination of the impact of the epikarst heterogeneities on recharge processes. The set-up installation has been realized under different land cover type (forest and open area) with the aim of observing the influence of vegetation on recharge as well. The set-up is repeated under different climates. That is why the five following sites have been selected: Wellington Caves (Australia) to represent the arid climate, Malaga (Spain) for the Mediterranean climate, Bristol (UK) for the oceanic climate, Berchtesgaden (Germany) for the mountainous climate and El Tallonal (Puerto Rico) for the tropical climate.


For further information see project webpage