Integrated strategy to guide health-related microbial quality management at alpine karstic drinking water resources.

Andreas H. Farnleitner, Domenico Savio, Regina Sommer, Georg Reischer, Alexander Kirschner, Wolfgang Zerobin, Hermann Stadler

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


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKarst Groundwater Contamination and Public Health. Advances in Karst Science.
EditorsWhite W., Herman J., Herman E., Rutigliano M.
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-51069-9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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