Wasser schafft

The project "Wasser schafft" ("Water can") analysed the effects of nutrient loadings and stream morphology on the self-purification capacity of streams.

water, sampling, nutrient loadings

The project overview

Area of Science: Natural Sciences
Location: location independent
Used Devices: without PC/Mobile, with PC/Mobile
Equipment of citizen scientists: computer with internet access or smartphone, basic equipment for water analyses, bigger campaigns for schools can be supported in laboratory work
Activities of citizen scientists: observing, measuring, mapping
Suitable for: Youngsters and adults
Project duration: 01.01.2015 - 30.09.2017
Time to join in: 01.06.2015 - 31.05.2017
Expenditure of time: depending on the number of sampling places and parameters between 1 and 3 (school) days, about 6 hours per day

Project objective

Nutrient inputs from the terrestrial surroundings affect stream ecosystems and impair their natural self-purification capacity. Whether and how well a stream can compensate nutrient loadings largely depends on the stream morphology. To date, only few studies have investigated the effects of stream morphology on the water and sediment quality of impacted streams. How does the restoration of a riparian forest buffer affect the water quality? Which morphological reaches show the highest self-purification capacity? In the project, these questions were investigated  together with citizen scientists in order to establish a sound base for a sustainable management of multiple impacted streams in intensively used regions in Austria.

How can citizen scientists participate?

Participants were able to download a guideline and working protocols from the project homepage which dealt with the investigations in the field, the sampling, the chemical analyses, and the data analyses. Basic equipment for water analyses was beneficial, but not absolutely essential. Larger campaigns of schools were supported in the laboratory work. The collected data was entered into a prepared excel-sheet and sent via e-mail to the WasserCluster Lunz. The WasserCluster Lunz dealt with the data survey, storage and analysis.

From September 1st, 2016 until May 31st, 2017 citizen scientists were invitited to participate in a competition. More information can be found HERE.

What happens to the contributions of citizen scientists?

Collected data was stored in a data base and analysed as soon as a sufficient amount of data was available. The analyses focused on two aspects: data with a temporal resolution were analysed as to daily or seasonal variations in water quality within single streams, in order to optimize monitoring programs. Data with spatial resolution were investigated regarding effects of stream morphology, in specific stream restorations, on the water quality, in order to optimize restoration projects.

Participating and supporting institutions


Mag. Dr. Gabriele Weigelhofer

Mag. Eva-Maria Pölz

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