PHW – Project House Water



Everyone knows the immediate consequences of flooding - but what remains after the water has drained off again? The direct damage caused by the water masses can be seen by everyone, but what risks do pollutants that are washed out of the soil during a flood, for example, pose to the water cycle again? A total of six institutes in the Water Project House are dealing with this and other questions relating to flood impact research. In addition to the economic analysis of a flood, the project also investigates how communication channels can be optimised in the event of a disaster and what technical options are available to safeguard water quality in appropriate situations.

Research Goals

The project house aims to bring together research activities and expertise on the subject of water at RWTH Aachen University in inter-faculty and interdisciplinary projects. While the current focus of research is on flooding, the project portfolio is to be continuously expanded in the coming years.


Professorships Involved

Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences – Faculty 1

Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat Henner Hollert
Department of Ecosystem Analysis (ESA)

Faculty of Civil Engineering – Faculty 3

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Schüttrumpf
Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management (IWW)

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering - Faculty 4

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Wessling
Chair of Chemical Process Engineering (AVT.CVT)

Faculty of Georesources and Materials Engineering - Faculty 5

Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat Frank Lehmkuhl
Chair of Physical Geography and Geoecology (PGG)

Faculty of Arts and Humanities – Faculty 7 (until 12/2017)

Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. Roger Häußling
Institute of Sociology

Business and Economics - Faculty 8

Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. pol. Peter Letmathe
Chair of Management Accounting (CON)


Infrastructure available

  • Hydraulic test hall (2,250m²) with mobile and permanently installed equipment (water circuit, flow/tipping channel, circular/stepped channel)
  • Ethohydraulic test benches
  • Software for numerical modelling (FEFLOW® DigiPacTM, Delft3D, SOBEK, OpenFoam®, SWAN)
  • Software programs for analog and digital remote sensing (evaluation and classification of satellite image scenes)
  • physical-geographic laboratory (particle/grain size analysis by laser diffraction and sedigraph, X-ray fluorescence analyzer, CNS analyzer)
  • Drilling equipment, surveying instruments, level recorders, multi-parameter probes


Six transdisciplinary projects are currently being carried out in the Water Project House as part of flood impact research:

  • Floodeconomics: Economic evaluation of pollutant dispersion after flood events
  • Floodhydrotox: Effect of sediment bound pollutants on aquatic organisms
  • Floodpollution: Geogenic and anthropogenic dispersion of pollutants due to flood events
  • Floodsim: Remobilisation of contaminated sediments by flood events
  • Floodsocia: Sociohydrology: Crisis communication in the event of flooding
  • Floodtec: Development of water treatment technologies for flood events


Current events of Projekthaus Wasser and the involved institutes can be found on the PHW Website.


Head of the office of Projekthaus Wasser
c/o Institute for Hydraulic Engineering & Water Management, RWTH Aachen University
Mies-van-der-Rohe-Straße 17
52056 Aachen
Phone: +49 241 80 257 60