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International cooperation

International cooperation

Since 20 years the managing directors and the employees of DWS Hydro-Ecology have been internationally active as consultants and key experts in the field of limnology and water management. The area of application reaches from the Caucasus to China.

Foreign projects

2020-2021 Validation of the typology and the classification system for the ecological status of surface water bodies in Bulgaria

The project is a contribution to the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive in Bulgaria. Based on more than 200 monitoring sites from 2020 and an extensive data set from previous years, type-specific and WFD compliant assessment methods for phytoplankton, phytobenthos, macrozoobenthos and fish were developed together with experts in Bulgaria. The work included methods for natural rivers, lakes and transitional waters as well as methods for assessing the ecological potential in heavily modified water bodies according to CIS Guideline No. 37.

Client: Consortium Austrian Environment Agency & DICON & DELTARES for the World Bank

2019 and 2021 Taxonomic analyses from rivers in Slovenia

In 2019 and 2021 DWS Hydro-Ecology analysed phytobenthos, macroinvertebrates, phytoplancton as well as zooplancton samples from Slovenia.

Client: Eurofins

2019-2020 Identification of significant pollution from diffuse sources in surface waters of Bulgaria

The project objective was to identify and quantify significant pressures from diffuse sources on surface water in Bulgaria. Based on this, suitable models for a quantitative impact assessment at the river basin level were evaluated.

Client: Consortium Austrian Environment Agency & DICON & DELTARES for the World Bank

2017-2020 EU INTERREG project REBEN (Austria – Hungary)

The INTERREG project REBEN was an Austrian-Hungarian research project under the scientific lead of DWS Hydro-Ecology. Other contractors were the University of Technology in Vienna with the Institute for Water Quality, Resource Management and Waste Management (pollutants) and the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Hydraulic Modeling, the TB Schuster (online probes), a team of experts from Hungary (TU Budapest, Univ. Sopron) and mecca Consulting (administrative project management). The aim of the project was to create a water management plan that will help to preserve and maintain good water quality and good ecological and chemical status of the lake in the long term. The investigations included chemical and biological analyses, especially in the reed belt of Lake Neusiedl. The focus lay on the exploration of water exchange and the associated mass transfer processes between reed belt and open water.

Tasks: project lead, field work (sampling), hydrochemical, sedimentological and biological analyses, statistical data analysis and modelling

Client: Amt der Bgld. Landesregierung

2019 Ecological Impact Assessment – Resavska Celina (Serbia)

Ecological assessment for the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) within the Serbian Climate Resilience & Irrigation Project – Technical, Environmental and Social Due Diligence Resavska Celina

Tasks: Field trip and screening of macro-invertebrates, data analysis and ecological impact assessment

Client: hydrophil GmbH, in co-operation with Dr. Momir Paunovic (University of Belgrade, IBISS)

2018-2019 EUWI+ (EU Water Initiative for Eastern Partnership)

The project helped Armenia, Aserbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus in their efforts to converge with the legal requirements of the EU in the field of water management. It supported the development and implementation of pilot river basin management plans by building on an improved political framework and ensuring a strong involvement of local stakeholders.

Tasks: We support the Federal Environmental Agency Vienna with our expertise in the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive, especially in the development of a WFD compliant montoring program and the WFD compliant assessment methods.

Client: Federal Environmental Agency Vienna (Umweltbundesamt GmbH)

2001, 2007, 2013, 2019 Joint Danube Survey

The Joint Danube Survey (JDS) is the largest river expedition of the world and has been carried out since 2001 in 6-years-intervals. Under the lead of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), experts from all 14 countries of the Danube catchment area contribute to this great scientific enterprise. DWS Hydro-Ecology was involved in 2001 and 2007 with algal analyses (as sub-contractor of Univ.Prof. Dr. Martin Dokulil). In 2013, our employee Ulrich Donabaum MSc. participated in several weeks of field work, which led from Germany to the Romanian Danube delta. Our employee Dr. Daša Hlúbiková worked on benthic diatoms in co-operation with the Water Research Institute in Bratislava. In 2019, DWS Hydro-Ecology took the responsibility for the work on the quality elements phytoplankton and phytobenthos for Austria.

Tasks: Field work (2013, 2019), phytoplankton analyses (2001, 2007, 2013, 2019), phytobenthos analyses (2019)

Client: ICPDR / Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism

2017-2018 EU INTERREG project PLATFORM (Austria – Hungary)

The aim of the project was the implementation of the bilateral memorandum for strategic flood risk management along the river Leitha: The support of the decision-making process in the Austro-Hungarian Water Commission with the necessary examinations and calculations, the resolution of already known problems through concrete construction measures, inclusion and exchange of information to the municipalities, preparation of updated plans for the planned conditions, taking into account the ecological aspects.

Tasks: Limnological planning and development of measures to improve the ecological status of the river Leitha

Client: Amt der Bgld. Landesregierung


2011-2018 Diatom analyses from rivers in Eastern Germany

At irregular intervals, DWS Hydro-Ecology carries out taxonomic analyses of diatoms from rivers in eastern Germany.

Client: Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)

2013-2016 intercalibration of ecological evaluation methods in Bulgaria

The aim of the project was the intercalibration of ecological assessment methods for various biological quality elements (phytoplankton, phytobenthos, macrozoobenthos, fish) in rivers and lakes of Bulgaria. Key experts were provided by DWS Hydro-Ecology. In cooperation with the Umweltbundesamt and national experts, sampling took place at the Danube,  different lakes, and mediterranean rivers of southern Bulgaria. Based on these outcomes, fit-in reports were compiled for numerous water types, which were subsequently audited by the Joint Research Center in Ispra (Italy) and accepted by the ECOSTAT Group. Thus, the project became a milestone in the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive in Bulgaria.

In cooperation with ProFisch and Systema GmbH

Client: Consortium Umweltbundesamt Wien & DICON



2014 Limnological investigations of a groundwater lake in Donezk, Ukraine

Client: unknown

2003-2011 Coordination of the Alpine Intercalibriation Group (AlpGIG)

Tasks: Coordination of the Geographical Intercalibration Group “Alpine Lakes” with colleagues from France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia; Intercalibration of the national classification systems for Alpine lakes using the biological quality element phytoplankton; preparation of a report for the Joint Research Centre Ispra; presentation for the ECOSTAT group

Client: Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft

2009-2010 EU INTERREG Project TransEcoNet

The goal of this EU Project was to support ecological networks in Central Europe (TransEcoNet = Transnational Ecological Networks). It is part of the Central Europe program INTERREG IVB it covers near-natural landscapes and cultural landscapes, especially outside of existing protected areas, as well as potential or transboundary ecological networks (habitat connectivity, corridors). DWS Hydro-Ecology contributed to this project by collecting data on fish popualtions in Burgenland and entering them in a GIS database.

Client: Österreichischer Naturschutzbund, Landesgruppe Burgenland

2005–2010 EU Research Project MODELKEY

MODELKEY was a project between February 2005 and January 2010 under the 5th EU Framework Program, led by Univ.Prof. Werner Brack from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig. DWS Hydro-Ecology was one of 27 project partners from 14 European countries. The project aimed at developing models for the assessment and forecast of impacts of key pollutants in marine and freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity. Link

Tasks: Field work in the Czech Republic, laboratory analyses (macrozoobenthos), data analysis, scientific publications

Client: EU Commission

2009-2010 EU Twinning project Egypt

The aim of the project was to bring selected water management planning instruments of Egypt closer to the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive. Experts from Austria (Umweltbundesamt GmbH, BMLFUW), France (IoW) and Italy (Water Research Inst. IRSA-CNR, University of Calabria) as well as representatives of the CLQEM, the HADA Commission and others on the Egyptian side were involved in the EU-funded project.

Tasks: Evaluation of ecological data, development of a monitoring plan for the Nile and the Aswan Reservoir

Client: Umweltbundesamt GmbH

2009 Consulting – Salmon breeding sites in Chile

Tasks: Limnological consulting for the installation of deep water aeration plants in Chilean Fjords used for salmon breeding

Client: Polyplan GmbH

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2008 Feasibility study Lake Sevan (Armenia)

The aim of the project was to assess the possibilities for the rehabilitation of Lake Sevan in Armenia. During the time of the Soviet Union in the middle of the 20th century, Lake Sevan – with a surface area of 1,272 km² the largest freshwater lake in the Caucasus – was lowered by about 20 m. Together with representatives of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Univ.-Prof. Dr. U. Humpesch, Univ.-Prof. M. Dokulil), Dr. Georg Wolfram (DWS Hydro-Ecology) worked as a limnological consultant.

Client: City of Vienna

2007-2008 EU Twinning Project Slovakia

With this Austrian-Slovakian Twinning Project, important foundations have been laid for the development of a classification method for running waters using planktonic and benthic algae. The work was carried out in co-operation with experts from the Federal Environmental Agency Vienna and the Water Research Institute in Bratislava

Tasks: field work (sampling), laboratory analyses, data analysis and writing of an expert report

Client: Federal Environmental Agency Vienna

2005-2006 Beijing Environment Project II

The proposed project aimed at improving the air and water quality in Beijing in a sustainable manner by reducing air pollution especially during the cold season and by improving wastewater management at a major urban river system, and by improving the municipal institutions for environmental management. The project supported facilities to reduce emissions by collecting and treating municipal sewage within the river basins. The project was carried out in co-operation with DonauConsult Zottl & Erber ZT-GmbH (DI Dr Seebacher) and DI Michael Mende as well as the Beijing Municipal Planing Commission. Key expert for DWS Hydro-Ecology (previously Donabaum & Wolfram OEG) was Dr. Karl Donabaum.

2006 Phytoplankton analyses from Libya

Tasks: Taxonomic analysis of planktonic algae from Libya

Client: private

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2004 Identification of oligochaetes from Bavarian lakes

In 2009, during the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive in Germany, several lakes in Bavaria were investigated concerning the abundance and composition of benthic invertebrates. DWS Hydro-Ecology had a sub-contract for the taxonomic identification of oligochaetes on species level.

Tasks: Taxonomic analyses of benthic invertebrates

Client: Bayerisches Landesamt für Umwelt

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2004 Water analyses from Lake Baringo, Kenya

Tasks: Hydro-chemical analyses of a highly concentrated salt lake in the East African Rift Valley

Client: University of Vienna

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2002 Consulting Bangkok, Thailand

Client: The World Bank

2000 Diatom analyses from Lake Nakuru

Tasks: Diatom analyses from Lake Nakuru in Eastern Africa

Client: University of Vienna, Institute of plant physiology

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1999 Feasibility Study for the restoration of the West Lake/Tai-ho (Hanoi, Vietnam)

Aim of the project was to draft a feasibility study for the rehabilitation of the West Lake (Tai-ho) in Hanoi. DWS Hydro-Ecology (formerly Donabaum & Wolfram OEG) was involved with key expert Dr. Georg Wolfram as limnological consultant.

Client: IC Consulenten

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1999 Chlorophyll-a analyses from lakes in Sri Lanka

Tasks: Analyses of algal pigments from reservoirs in Sri Lanka

Client: University of Vienna, Institute of Limnology

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1998 Identification of chironomids from the Franz Josef Land

Tasks: Chironomid analyses from running waters at the subarctic Franz Josef Land

Client: University of Vienna, Institute of Limnology

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