Serial Summer School "Water in Urban Life 2020"

Serial Summer School "Water in Urban Life 2020"

Transition towards sustainable water resource management in urban systems?

The Center for Water and Environmental Research (ZWU) is organizing the DAAD Serial Summer School “Water in Urban Life 2020 – transition towards sustainable water resource management in urban systems?“ for Master and PhD students with three consecutive summer schools from 2012 to 2014 with support from the DAAD.


Since 2007, more people have been living in cities than in rural areas, and the migration process into cities is still continuing. Urban water management critically determines the conditions of life in urban areas. Access to safe drinking water and effective collection and treatment of waste water are the key issues in water management.

Water bodies in urbanized areas are exposed to multiple stressors. Beneath the resolving of water shortage, the intelligent and resource-saving water cycle in urban systems gains importance. It is clear that the complex problems can only be successfully addressed by means of a long-term interdisciplinary, ecosystem-based approach, i.e. adapt land use functions to ecological/natural conditions instead of modifying nature to land use demands.

The River Ruhr Valley provides an example of a holistic approach. This area originally grew as rapidly as most urban areas due to industrial and mining purposes in the 19th and 20th century. The best known example is the alteration/renaturation of the river Emscher system: while the rivers Ruhr and Lippe have been used as drinking water supply, the central river Emscher system was transformed into an open sewer system. The structural change in the metropolitan area away from heavy industry to service sector enabled the construction of a subterranean closed sewer system and the renaturation of the rivers. The development of the River Ruhr Valley in the last 150 years reflects the impacts of numerous adaptions to different usages on the water infrastructure and the surface waterways. Therefore, water management is better organized than in most megacities, particularly in developing countries. Solutions have been found which allowed a high standard of life.

The Aim of the Summer Schools

The aim of this summer school series is not only the transfer of water knowledge and sustainability approaches but also to create and interdisciplinary urban water management. Therefore, graduated students with exceptional marks from all relevant disciplines such as engineering, biology, chemistry, agricultural and environmental sciences, medicine, etc. will be addressed. The summer schools will be held in English; hence, the students will need to proof sufficient knowledge of the English language.

The overarching goal is a transition towards sustainable water resource management in urban systems. As this is a very broad field, each summer school will focus on a different main topic like treatment technologies, biodiversity responses and impacts towards human health. All summer schools will basically consist of the same main components:

1. Self-Introduction of the participants

2. Keynote talks; introductory talks and excursions

3. Group work

4. Soft skills

5. Accompanying cultural program

For more information please select the appropriate link on the left...


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