Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) - MedWater


Sustainable management of politically and economically relevant water resources in highly dynamic carbonate aquifers of the Mediterranean


Objective 6 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals calls for the universal and equitable access to clean water. Sustainable water use requires an improved understanding of how groundwater resources will be affected by global changes as shifts in climate. Karst aquifers provide approximately 10% of the world’s population with freshwater. Due to highly dynamic recharge patterns that will become even more difficult to predict with changing climate conditions, they require more flexible management concepts.


The MedWater project develops new strategies and management tools for the sustainable use of scarce groundwater resources from karst aquifers in the Mediterranean. The Western Mountain Aquifer in Israel and the Palestinian territories serves as a case study. The goals are:

  • An improved understanding of karst aquifers under Mediterranean climates
  • The prediction of their short-term development as a function of external factors, and
  • The identification of better water use and distribution strategies, e.g., optimized pumping plans


MedWater is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the Water as a Global Resource (GRoW) funding measure.

Funding code: 02WGR1428A

Project duration: July 2017 – June 2021

MedWater Imagefilm

© Olaf Michalke

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Poster Sandra Banusch

Poster Philipp Nusbaum


Our results will be transferable to other karst aquifers under Mediterranean climates. In MedWater, findings from the Western Mountain Aquifer are being validated and tested for generalization in two transfer regions. The Capodifiume catchment near Naples, Italy has already been instrumented to gain a better understanding of the aquifer’s water balance. The second transfer region is the Plateau-de-Sault catchment in France.

Remote sensing plays a crucial role in analyzing aquifers with comparable properties globally. We are using global model and remote sensing data to develop a Groundwater Stress Index and assess the vulnerability of karst aquifers to climate change. The findings are visualized in vulnerability maps and used to derive recommendations for the sustainable management of karst aquifers under Mediterranean climates.


Projekt coordination (TU Berlin)

  • Project lead: Prof. Dr. Irina Engelhardt
  • Project management: Philipp Nussbaum, M.Sc.
  • Research assistants: Sandra Banusch, M.Sc., Paul Hepach, M.Sc., Sandra Matthäi, M.Sc.

National Partners

  • University of Göttingen
  • University of Bayreuth
  • University of Würzburg
  • VisDat geodatentechnologie GmbH
  • BAH Berlin
  • Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources

International Partners

  • Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, FR
  • Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole, FR
  • Università degli Studi di Napoli Frederico II, IT
  • Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici, IT
  • Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, IL
  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem, IL
  • Ariel University, IL
  • Hydrological Service Israel, IL
  • Mekorot Water Company Ltd., IL
  • Palestinian Water Authority, PS