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Integrated Strategy to Guide Health-Related Microbial Quality Management at Alpine Karstic Drinking Water Resources

  • Andreas H. FarnleitnerEmail author
  • Domenico Savio
  • Regina Sommer
  • Georg Reischer
  • Alexander Kirschner
  • Wolfgang Zerobin
  • Hermann Stadler
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Karst Science book series (AKS)

Abstract

Water resources from alpine and mountainous karst aquifers play an important role in the drinking water supply in many countries but require sustainable protection and management. Microbial fecal pollution is one of the most relevant contaminants in alpine karst aquifers. However, until recently, microbial fecal pollution could be detected only by traditional approaches based on individual grab sampling and time-demanding cultivation-based procedures in the laboratory. Limited information on the pollution dynamics, origin of pollution, and associated health risks of exposure is available. Due to the lack of knowledge, a joint effort between the disciplines of microbiology and hydrogeology was undertaken in the Northern Calcareous Alps in eastern Austria during the last decade. The aim was to open the “black box” of pollution microbiology by developing new techniques and strategies that will guide management of water resources and water quality in catchments of alpine karsts. These techniques and strategies will provide a sustainable framework that supports decision making at all required time scales to realise health-related water-quality targets and water safety plans according to the World Health Organization. This article provides an overview of the developed techniques and strategies. The suggested framework may also be of interest to managers of other water resources as the selected methods and strategies can be adapted to the various situations or requirements.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The work of this paper was supported by the FWF (Vienna Doctoral Program on Water Resource Systems W1219-N22 and research projects P22309-B20 and P23900-B22 granted to AHF) and the project Microbiology of Alpine Karst Spring Aquifers (by Vienna Water, MA31). The compilation of the review was also supported by the GWRS-Vienna research project (Vienna Water, MA31) and the FP7 KBBE EU project (AQUAVALENS). This was a joint study effort of the ICC Water & Health (www.waterandhealth.at).

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas H. Farnleitner
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Domenico Savio
    • 3
  • Regina Sommer
    • 4
  • Georg Reischer
    • 3
  • Alexander Kirschner
    • 4
  • Wolfgang Zerobin
    • 5
  • Hermann Stadler
    • 6
  1. 1.Interuniversity Cooperation Centre for Water and Health, TU WienInstitute of Chemical, Environmental and Biological Engineering 166/5/4ViennaAustria
  2. 2.Research Unit Water Quality and HealthKarl Landsteiner University of Health SciencesKremsAustria
  3. 3.Research Group Environmental Microbiology and Molecular Diagnostics, Interuniversity Cooperation Centre for Water and HealthTU Wien, Institute of Chemical, Environmental and Biological Engineering, Research Area 166/5/4ViennaAustria
  4. 4.Unit Water Hygiene, Interuniversity Cooperation Centre for Water and HealthMedical University of Vienna, Institute for Hygiene and Applied ImmunologyViennaAustria
  5. 5.Vienna WaterViennaAustria
  6. 6.Department for Water Resources Management and Environmental AnalyticsJoanneum Research, Institute for Water, Energy and SustainabilityGrazAustria

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