From Groundwater to Drinking Water—Microbiology of Karstic Water Resources

Domenico Savio, Julia Derx, René Pascal Lang, Alexander K.T. Kirschner, Regina Sommer, Alfred P. Blaschke, Kirsten Küsel, Andreas H. Farnleitner

Research output: Contribution to book/report/conference proceedingChapter in book/report

1 Citation (Scopus)


Karst landscapes cover large parts of our globe. The aquifers laying below their surface are of high importance for global drinking water supply—although many of them being vulnerable to chemical and fecal pollution. This chapter intends to give an overview on the available knowledge on the microbiology of karst aquifers, typical sources of microbiological pollution, and available management strategies for the protection of karst water resources. Emphasis is also given to the environmental factors influencing the assembly of the planktonic fraction of the microbiome. These include the hydrogeology and biogeochemistry of karst aquifers, important influential catchment characteristics and the role of native microbes in karst aquifers. The main focus of the chapter is on the vulnerability of karst aquifers to fecal pollution, its sources and potential impacts on human health, as well as on the available approaches to study and manage karst water resources that are used for drinking water supply. In this context, a recently proposed strategy for the sustainable quality management of karst water resources based on a holistic analysis of fecal pollution and its sources is presented to support its safe and high quality use.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Inland Waters, Second Edition
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780128220412
ISBN (Print)9780128191668
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2022


  • Biogeochemistry
  • Catchment protection
  • Drinking water abstraction management
  • Epidemiology
  • Fecal pollution
  • Hydrogeology
  • Infection risk assessment
  • Karst aquifer vulnerability
  • Karst microbiology
  • Microbial ecology
  • Microbial fecal source tracking
  • Water-transmissible intestinal pathogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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