GENESIS supports the set-up of distributed information systems for environmental monitoring, assessing population exposure to environmental conditions, and warning of possible health risks. The project also provides tools that will help the authorities to respond effectively to a crisis.


GENESIS will review and develop new scientific knowledge on groundwater systems and incorporate this knowledge into:

  • Ground Water Directive (GWD)
  • new tools for better integrated groundwater management.

Specific objectives are:

  • description of relevant feedbacks between atmosphere, crop production and soil moisture conditions for assessment of climate change effects on regional groundwater
  • assessment of climate change effects on groundwater depent ecosystems
  • benchmarking of Nitrate leaching models to address the ability of different tools to simulate the nitrate leaching in foreign circumstances
  • contribution to a number of EU-policy related documents with respect to groundwater and GWD-ecosystems.

Future groundwater management should provide safe drinking water and safeguard important ecosystems. The groundwater status is affected by direct and indirect drivers. The most important being land-use activities and the climate change. These drivers cause changes in groundwater recharge and flow dynamics, leaching of pollutants and groundwater quality. Changes in water quantity and quality directly effect ecosystems relying on groundwater. Scientific research is needed to improve the understanding of how different drivers affect groundwater systems. Research is also needed to develop methods to safeguard the functions that groundwater provides to socio-economical uses (water supply, irrigation, industry) and ecosystems.


Work proposed in GENESIS combines output from hydrology, contaminant transport, ecology, and economics into a holistic approach to assessing threats to groundwater resources and possible management approaches for the GWD. Case studies with extensive data sets have been chosen very carefully to exhibit a representative range of climatic, hydrologic, and socio-economic conditions.

Alterra-activities in this project were in 2012:

  • application of the integrated modelling system which accounts for feedbacks between atmosphere, crop production and grondwater flow to the Kromme Rijn pilot area for a number of European Climate scenarios. The scenarios have been developed within the GENESIS project and enables for comparison with modelling studies in other parts of Europe.
  • development of a module for the simulation of the fate of different water types (virtual tracers) which enables the assessment of climate change on Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems related waterquality parameters
  • application of the water typology module within he frame of the Integrated Modelleing system to the Kromme Rijn pilot area.
  • publication of the water typology method and case study results in an International Jourrnal
  • revision and processing of review comments of the draft paper in Hydrology & Earth System Science: "Influence of feedbacks from simulated crop growth on integrated regional hydrological simulations under climate scenarios".


Results foreseen are scenario analysis with respect to climate change related stress- and forcing functions to the Kromme Rijn pilot area:

  • European forecast with respect to atmospheric conditions
  • reduced water supply possibilities in summer time due to the Rhine's low flow conditions and reduced water discharge capacity dureing high flow events during winter time
  • change of cropping pattern to adapt to climate change.

The analysis will focus on the impacts for crop production and on the impacts on groundwater dependent ecosystems. Other results are for example analysis and predictions of water quality patterns in shallow groundwater below Groundwater dependent ecosystems in the Kromme Rijn pilot area.