The Federal Environment Ministry welcomes the European Topic Centre on Water at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig will focus on combining existing monitoring and assessment expertise on water resources in the EU. To start with the UFZ will head the European Topic Centre on Inland, Coastal and Marine Waters from 2014 to 2018. The German government hopes to thus collect further information on the state of water bodies in Europe from which both environmental protection and resource conservation stand to benefit.
Due to its large share in river catchment and marine areas in Europe, European water policy is of vital importance for Germany. Top quality data and information bases for European water policy are in the German government’s interest. The highly competent network headed by the European Environment Agency (EEA) under the auspices of the UFZ will make an important contribution here. The network comprises 17 expert research institutions, organisations and national authorities from 11 European countries, among them the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).
A central task of the Topic Centre is to provide support and advice to the EEA on the compilation, evaluation and assessment of the state of water resources and domestic, coastal and marine waters in Europe. This greatly contributes to the further development of European information systems for the environment and water. It is also important for citizens interested in this area. Developing indicators for preparing policy decisions and assessing the implementation of European requirements will be another important task of the Topic Centre. Another focus will be on the impact climate change, in particular extreme weather conditions such as flooding and drought, has on the water balance. With its work the Topic Centre substantially supports the implementation of the EU’s Water Framework and Marine Strategy Framework Directives as well as the blueprint to safeguard Europe’s water resources.
With more than 1,100 staff and extensive water expertise the UFZ is one of the most important national research institutions in the environment sector in Europe. Its expertise ranges from aquatic biology and chemistry to ecotoxicology, soil physics and hydrogeology and hydrology of entire catchment areas as well as modelling and visualisation. Above and beyond that, there is long-term expertise in socio-economic research: an integrated approach to solve the variety of water-related problems worldwide is required, applying quality, quantity, ecological, technical and social aspects of water management.
The UFZ is funded by the federal government and the Länder Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. The Federal Environment Ministry is represented on the UFZ supervisory board.