Consequences of adaptation: Assessing multi-benefits and challenges in the transfer to more resilient and sustainable urban water systems (CONQUAD)


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  • Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. techn. Manfred Kleidorfer (project coordinator, UIBK)
  • DI Tanja Vonach (UIBK - until 2018)
  • Yannick Back, Msc (UIBK - since 2018)
  • Thomas Einfalt (hydro & meteo)
  • Met. Alrun Jasper-Tönnies (hydro & meteo)
  • DI Heiko Kinzel (hydro-IT)
  • Christian Urich (Monash University)
  • -HTL-Ing. Walter Peer (Communalp)

Funding period: 06/2017 – 05/2020

Hinge Park
Figure: Hinge Park by Payton Chung, FlickrCC BY 2.0


With the challenges posed by climate change cities are facing more frequent and extreme rain events causing severe floods. A well-guided adaptation through new water management practices increases the sustainability and resilience of water services. However, the unintended consequences of such measures, positive and negative in nature are not well understood. Positive effects of decentralized stormwater treatment systems are for example an increased amenity due to positive effects of green infrastructure on the urban microclimate or an improved groundwater balance as on-site infiltration is closer to the natural water cycle. A positive effect of traditional technical measures (increase of pipe diameters) is passive rehabilitation of aging water infrastructure, one of the main challenges for our aging infrastructure systems. Negative effects are increased complexity of responsibility, management and maintenance of these systems, unknown service life, consumption of land in usually densely populated expensive areas, etc.

Consequently the aim of this project is to

  • evaluate consequences of adaptation by considering positive and negative effects of adaptation measures
  • evaluate and compare hybrid infrastructure solutions (consisting of decentralized and centralized technologies) with traditional systems with respect to their ability to fulfil people’s needs, their adaptability to changes in an uncertain future and their resilience to disruptions
  • consider the influence of scales in the planning of adaptation strategies (are the same solutions feasible for big cities and small municipalities?)
  • identify needs of 2nd order adaptation (adaptation to adaptation) on technical, institutional and legal level
  • identify remaining research / knowledge gaps which contradict transition to more resilient and sustainable systems
  • evaluate the true life-cycle costs of adaptation with considering positive and negative aspects of adaptations as well as required 2nd order adaptation


Publications & presentations


University Innsbruck
Dr. Manfred Kleidorfer
Technikerstrasse 13
6020 Innsbruck

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