EU Project SOLUTIONS: Measures for Healthy Bodies of Water in Europe


The protection of European surface water faces significant challenges in attaining the "good condition" of our water bodies and drainage basins that the European Union is demanding. The EU project "Solutions," which is coordinated by Dr. Werner Brack at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research - UFZ, aims at setting new standards for understanding environmental risks based on pollutant burdens. Over 100 scientists from 39 project partners across Europe, China, Brazil, and Australia are working on solution-oriented sanitation measures for the entire EU over the next five years.


On behalf of RWTH Aachen, the Department of Ecosystem Analysis, under the direction of Professor Henner Hollert, is involved in the development of solution approaches, which are expected to ensure the future improvement of water quality and the maintenance of biological diversity in European water bodies and pastureland. The Aachen research group is researching the effects of environmental burdens on cells and organisms in order to better be able to predict the influence of already existing and future water pollutants. The EU commission is funding their work with 213,000 Euros.

Water is the foundation of all life on our planet. Our water bodies have served as our civilization's arteries of life since the beginning of time and are home to an immeasurable abundance of plants and animals. Due to human activity the bodies of water are chemically polluted and in unsatisfactory ecological condition. Possible sanitation measures are difficult to implement, however, since there is a prevailing uncertainty about the basis of evaluation of existing chemical and biological data. According to the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (as of 2012), only 10 percent of all German bodies of water are in good ecological condition. There is a lack of unified regulation possibilities for necessary interstate sanitation measures for bodies of water.

A unique characteristic of the SOLUTIONS project is its direct collaboration with international case studies, such as the international Danube expedition "Joint Danube Survey 3" which has made it possible to conduct environmental mentoring on a seldom attained scale. The goal is to build a bridge between the appearance of chemical substances and the demonstrable effects on the environment – this combined approach sets a new standard in the field of environmental research.