Project structure and work packages

Work packages in the BioWaWi project and their networking.

The figure provides an overview of the work in phase 1, which was carried out in the definition project, and phase 2, which is currently underway. The project coordination and advisory board work (AP 0) is carried out by KIT-AGW and DIALOGIK. The research and development work is organized in the five work packages AP 1 to AP 5. Each WP comprises several activities or work steps, each of which is taken over by one or more subprojects. Regardless of this, the work packages are regarded as joint tasks.

Project goals

The main objective of the project is to integrate the value of biodiversity and ecosystems and services (ES) into decision-making processes of municipal companies operating in the water sector, which will be developed and tested using the example of Stadtwerke Bühl (SWB). The aim is to ensure that the results are transferable to other companies in the water industry, so that they too can work towards environmental management systems that are more strongly oriented towards species conservation and promotion.

BioWaWi pursues the following project priorities:

  1. The integration of biodiversity and ES into environmental management systems: This will be done using ecological indicators (e.g., development of target organisms, water table levels, soil moisture, precipitation) and/or economic indicators (e.g., biotope value points, eco-accounts, monetization of ES).
  2. To record changes in biodiversity through before and after monitoring. With the support of a Citizen Science approach, species and biotope mapping will be undertaken. Target organisms or indicator species will be identified with local Roundtable stakeholders.
  3. A water balance monitoring system of the managed water conservation areas (water table levels, soil moisture, precipitation) will be established to record abiotic indicators.
  4. Participatory modeling of the water balance will bring the knowledge of local stakeholders to this process, while also building the confidence in the natural science approach that will enable the implementation of the research results.
  5. The economic assessment will be aligned with the selected indicators. An appropriate methodology taking into account existing tools (e.g. eco-account) will be developed.
  6. The natural science methodology will be accompanied by regular round tables with local stakeholders moderated according to the criteria of mediation. During the round tables, attempts will be made to coordinate the options for water and land management in terms of acceptance by the population (e.g. attractiveness of biotopes, recreational potential).
  7. The transdisciplinary joint approach in the project will be ensured by regular project meetings and training of staff members with the methodology of collegial coaching.

These goals lead to the development of a methodology for an environmental management system for municipal enterprises to optimally manage the existing water resources in the area of conflict between ecology and economy under the conditions of climate change, population development and the respective applicable legal requirements and to ensure the preservation of biodiversity and ES.

Overview of the scientific concept

Overview of the scientific concept.

The following steps are shown in the figure:

  1. Determining the scope of the study: based on the water demand model, stakeholders are informed about SWB's water needs, concerns and suggestions are recorded, discussed and logged. Conflicting goals are addressed. Based on this, a list of questions is created at the roundtable to be answered by the modeling.
  2. Parameterization: The local knowledge of the stakeholders is included in the query for relevant parameters. The round table is informed about the intended parameterization and, if necessary, a re-evaluation of parameters is carried out or their weighting is changed.
  3. Calibration: The model can be calibrated on the basis of events that have occurred in the time period that is manageable by the local stakeholders. For this purpose, the model is used to perform backward calculations for relevant events that affect the water balance (floods, heavy rainfall, droughts), which are then independently compared with the experience of the stakeholders. Based on these comparisons, the model can be calibrated in its spatial resolution.
  4. Validation: validation is performed by forward calculations of water balance events during the course of the project. These are discussed at the roundtable, which is convened on an unscheduled basis when special water balance events occur (areas going dry, groundwater standing after heavy rains, etc.). If such events can be predicted by the model, the viability of the modeling approach for the environmental impacts of water management measures of the public utility can be assumed to be assured.

Participatory modelling serves four goals:

  • The quality assurance of the modeling through local knowledge,
  • the identification and resolution of potential trade-offs between water management, nature conservation and species protection,
  • building trust between local stakeholders and scientists of the project
  • the connectivity of the project results by resolving these conflicts in the course of the project.

Through the integration of an advisory board, which also includes other water supply companies but also the Technology Center Water as well as the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, experiences and findings from the practice of other regions and interests will be integrated in a targeted manner. The implementation of this project is intended to serve as an example that can also be transferred to other water supply companies.