Report by Melina Forêt (Law Student)
In a three-day seminar from May 31st to June 2nd, 20 students from a wide range of disciplines dealt with topics related to water and water shortages.
Prof. Dr. Frieder Enzmann introduced the participants to hydrogeology on the first afternoon of the seminar. The students not only learned about the water cycle, but also about terms such as soil and groundwater, groundwater landscapes and aquifers, as well as aquifers/non-conductors and groundwater properties.
On the following day, Dr. Thomas Lenhart continued with the geological perspective and spoke about water supply, precipitation and groundwater in Germany. Topics related to practical measurements and insights into the work in the ministry were also discussed. In the afternoon, Prof. Dr. Katharina Lenhart added a biological perspective to the seminar and the students learned about the water balance of plants. Topics included water availability to plants and water stress, but adaptation strategies and the water requirements of crops were discussed as well. Student input was provided in the form of short impulse presentations researched in advance of the seminar, as well as a short group discussion in which social problems associated with water scarcity in communities were touched upon.
Friday was the highlight of the seminar for the students, as a field trip to the farm "Streuobstziege" in Linden was scheduled. There, an experiment awaited the participants, in which they could measure the field capacity of forest and field soil themselves. In addition, a somewhat improvised infiltration test was carried out to analyze the water absorption capacity of the soil. Afterwards, Thomas and Katharina Lenhart led a tour of their farmland and provided practical applications of many theoretical aspects of the previous days by showing the students the soil properties, some of which varied greatly. However, it was above all the many cute (baby) goats, which stood in the fields and greeted us bleating, that triggered enthusiasm. In beautiful weather, there was plenty of time for all questions about the farm before the seminar came to a close with a joint barbecue.
It was a very intensive seminar with a lot of content, especially geological aspects. In particular, the field trip was very enjoyable for the participants, as it made theoretical knowledge more vivid and a day out after the seminar days was very good for everyone. However, since the social perspective and the strongly increasing problem of water shortage were somewhat neglected during the three seminar days, the idea arose to take up the political and social significance of the topic of water in another Q+ seminar. There is definitely a need for discussion on the part of the students!