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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-151
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-151
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 06 May 2020

Submitted as: research article | 06 May 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Groundwater fauna in an urban area: natural or affected?

Fabien Koch1, Kathrin Menberg1, Svenja Schweikert1, Cornelia Spengler2, Hans Jürgen Hahn2, and Philipp Blum1 Fabien Koch et al.
  • 1Institute of Applied Geosciences(AGW), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Kaiserstraße 12, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2Faculty of Nature and Environmental Sciences (Working Group: Groundwater Ecology), University Koblenz-Landau, Im Fort 7, 76829 Landau, Germany

Abstract. In Germany 70 % of the drinking water demand is met by groundwater, whose quality is the product of manifold physical-chemical and biological cleaning processes. As healthy groundwater ecosystems help to provide clean drinking water, it is necessary to assess the ecological conditions of these ecosystems. This is particularly true for densely populated, urban areas, where faunistic groundwater investigations are still scare. The aim of this study is therefore to provide a first-tier assessment of the groundwater fauna in an urban area. Thus, we assess the ecological condition of an anthropogenically influenced aquifer by analysing the groundwater fauna in 39 groundwater monitoring wells in Karlsruhe (Germany) and a nearby forest land. For classification we apply the scheme from the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA), in which a threshold of more than 70 % of Crustaceans and of less than 20 % of Oligochaetes serves as an indication for good ecological conditions. In our study 35 % of the wells in the urban area fulfil these criteria, and even in the pristine forest land only 50 % of the wells indicate fine ecological conditions. While the assessment reveals that ecological conditions in the studied urban area are predominantly not in a good ecological state, there is no clear spatial pattern with respect to land use and anthropogenic impacts. However, there are noticeable differences in the spatial distribution of species and abiotic groundwater characteristics between wells in forest land and the urban area, which indicates that more comprehensive assessment methods are required to fully capture the different effects on groundwater fauna.

Fabien Koch et al.

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Fabien Koch et al.

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Short summary
In this study, we address the question whether groundwater fauna in an urban area is natural or affected in comparison to forest land. We find noticeable differences in the spatial distribution of groundwater species and abiotic parameters. An ecological assessment reveals that conditions in the urban area are mainly not good. Yet, there is no clear spatial pattern in terms of land use and anthropogenic impacts. These are significant findings for conservation and usage of urban groundwater.
In this study, we address the question whether groundwater fauna in an urban area is natural or...
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