Applied hydrogeology and mountain catchment hydrology
The research activities focus on water cycle processes in catchments, in particular generation of surface and subsurface run-off, and on water management strategies for the sustainable utilisation of water resources. The basis for this is detailed knowledge of the spatial setting of the mountain and its hydrogeological characteristics, as it determines the sub-processes of water flow in catchment areas, karst and fracture systems.
Water management of basins
Questions related to water conservation and sustainable development of porous aquifers are solved using modern computer supported methods. Detailed hydrological analyses and solute balances form the basis for predicting the consequences of anthropogenic impacts.
Deep groundwater and geothermics
Effluents from industry and agriculture as well as pollutants originating from accidental spills and environmental disasters endanger the quality of shallow groundwaters. But deep groundwater reserves are not subjected to such kind of contamination and the effect of dry periods on such systems is minimum, making them important sources in the case of water shortage. The activities of this research area concentrate on exploration, development, sustainable utilisation and protection of deep groundwaters using both hydro(geo)logical and geophysical methods, including reflection seismics and well logging. The results from these investigations also provide an important decision-making basis for assessing the geothermal potential of an area. The studies performed in this research area cover the whole range of geothermics, extending from the determination of geothermal potentials to the utilisation of geothermal energy from shallow and deep systems.
Training as an instrument of sustainability
One increasingly important service offered by the Institute, alongside research and consulting, is training and further training. In addition to the traditional tracer courses held in Graz every two years for young hydrologists from developing countries, the Institute now also offers regular courses dealing with isotope hydrology. In order to ensure the sustainability of the know-how transfer above all in Third World countries, and to offer the local populations useful tools for autonomous, optimum use of their water resources, the Institute also offers follow-up courses to accompany the projects. Individual training courses at the Institute in Graz go to round off these training services.