ProDoc Léman 21

ECOL, in partnership with other Swiss research institiutions, was awarded an important funding by the Swiss National Research Foundation (FNS) for a projet addressing scientific concepts for the sustainable management of mid-sized lakes in the 21th century’.

Mid-sized lakes exemplify several key challenges for sustainable freshwater management during the coming century. Increasing population heighten both drinking water demands and pressure on wastewater treatment, both in terms of emerging micropollutants and with respect to treatment capacity. Expected increases in average temperature and changing precipitation patterns linked to climate change may alter physical, chemical and biological dynamics of the lake and could thus affect future water quality in ways that are still unknown. Increasing recreational use of the lake, changes in catchment land use, the use of thermal energy from the lake and other developments also impact water quality. The ecosystem and human inhabitants bear the consequences of these increasing pressures on the lake. Key needed insights into the physical, chemical, microbiological, and ecological dynamics of mid-sized lakes enable us to anticipate and manage properly these risks.

An important team counting up to nine Swiss research laboratories from the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne, EPFL and ETHZ as well as EAWAG, all strongly committed in environmental management issues supported ten PhD scholarships amongst the partner institutions.

ProDoc was a collaborative project to investigate the pollutant dynamics of a mid-sized lake system, Lake Geneva. Because it is such a large (580 km2), deep (max 309 m), and complex interacting system, Lake Geneva still presents today formidable research challenges. On a global scale, Lake Geneva is an important case study of a difficult class of mid-sized lakes. Such systems frequently disobey modelling assumptions commonly applied to either smaller lakes or very large water bodies (e.g., oceans or great lakes). By interrogating deeply the water and sedimentation dynamics (Module 1), the catchment micropollutant inputs (Module 2), the micropollutant behavior (Module 3), and the resulting microbial and ecological impacts on Lake Geneva (Module 4), this project aimed at providing the scientific basis to broadly redefine strategies for risk identification and sustainable management of this class of lakes.

More information on ProDoc Léman 21