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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  11 Sep 2020

11 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Using soil water isotopes to infer the influence of contrasting urban green space on ecohydrological partitioning

Lena-Marie Kuhlemann1,2, Doerthe Tetzlaff1,2,3, Aaron Smith1, Birgit Kleinschmit4, and Chris Soulsby3,5,1 Lena-Marie Kuhlemann et al.
  • 1Department of Ecohydrology, Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Müggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany
  • 2Department of Geography, Humboldt University of Berlin, Rudower Chaussee 16, 12489 Berlin, Germany
  • 3Northern Rivers Institute, University of Aberdeen, St. Mary’s Building, Kings College, Old Aberdeen, AB24 3UE, Scotland
  • 4Institute of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, Technical University Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni 145 10623 Berlin, Germany
  • 5Chair of Water Resources Management and Modeling of Hydrosystems, Technical University Berlin, Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25, 13355 Berlin, Germany

Abstract. Many urban areas are facing challenges in balancing domestic and industrial water demands while simultaneously maintaining the water supply for green infrastructure. Consequently, quantitative knowledge about ecohydrological partitioning in different types of urban green space is crucial for balancing sustainable water needs in cities during future challenges of increasing urbanization and climate warming. Using isotopic tracers in precipitation and soil water, along with conventional hydrometric measurements in a plot-scale study in Berlin, Germany, we investigated water partitioning under different generic types of urban vegetation (grassland, shrub and trees). This allowed assessment of effects on subsequent evapotranspiration, subsurface flow paths and storage during a prolonged drought period with episodic rainfall. Water losses under forest were slightly higher than grassland over the monitoring in the growing season of 2019. Despite higher soil evaporation losses under urban grassland, higher interception and transpiration likely contributed to slower turnover of soil water and older groundwater recharge under urban trees. Shrub vegetation seemed to be most resilient to prolonged drought periods, with lower evapotranspiration losses. Our results contribute to a better understanding of ecohydrological partitioning under mixed urban vegetation communities and an evidence base for better adaptive management of urban water and irrigation strategies to sustainably meet the water demands of urban green spaces.

Lena-Marie Kuhlemann et al.

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Lena-Marie Kuhlemann et al.

Lena-Marie Kuhlemann et al.


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Latest update: 28 Sep 2020
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Short summary
To sustainably manage competing urban water demands, knowledge about ecohydrological partitioning in urban green spaces is crucial. Using isotope and hydrometric data, we investigated water partitioning under urban vegetation plots in Berlin, Germany, following the exceptionally warm and dry conditions of 2018-2019. We gained valuable insights into how different types of urban vegetation partition water under conditions of increasing water stress, as they may occur more frequently in the future.
To sustainably manage competing urban water demands, knowledge about ecohydrological...