On September 28-29, the first hybrid meeting of the COST Action WATSON ‘WATer isotopeS in the critical zONe’ will take place at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering in Ljubljana.
The COST Action focusses on the Critical Zone, i.e. the dynamic skin of the Earth that extends from vegetation canopy to groundwater, which is vital for addressing key environmental problems linked to the sustainable management of water resources. The main aim of WATSON is to collect, integrate, and synthesize current interdisciplinary scientific knowledge on the partitioning and mixing of water in the Critical Zone taking advantage of the unique tracing capability of water isotopes. These efforts will allow going beyond the current fragmented knowledge providing a novel conceptual framework on the interactions between groundwater recharge, soil water storage, and vegetation transpiration useful for water resources management across a variety of climatic settings.
The COST Action activities are based on a network of early career and senior scientists from different complementary disciplines who are experts in the use of water isotopes, and stakeholders from governmental agencies and private companies from 36 COST countries and two near neighbour countries. Slovenia is represented in the action by researchers from University of Ljubljana (Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering), Jožef Stefan Institute, Geological Survey of Slovenia and Slovenian Forestry Institute.
Meetings and training events will involve scientists and water managers facilitating the communication between academia and stakeholders, promoting the transfer of the latest scientific findings, and helping to identify research gaps and management priorities. The ultimate goal of the network is to build capacity in the use of robust isotope approaches for water resource management. The deliverables include practical tools, such as maps of groundwater recharge and water sources used by vegetation in different European regions that will enable the translation of scientific cutting-edge knowledge into tangible recommendations to support European and local agencies responsible for water management in agroforest systems.
The Department of Geology is actively involved in the COST Action’s Science communication managing, Stakeholder committee and Working Group 4 “Networking and dissemination” that stimulates networking among the other WGs, promotes the activities of WATSON, and disseminates the Action products. We are also part of all other Working Groups of the project.
More information about the COST Action WATSON and how to get involved can be found here: