The application of scientific methods to develop and manage the scarce water resources in the Negev desert was begun at the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research during the mid-nineteen-seventies. Today, members of the Department of Environmental Hydrology and Microbiology combine advanced theoretical/numerical methods with laboratory testing and field experiments to study optimal exploitation of conventional and non-conventional water sources for agriculture, industry, and domestic use. They also investigate issues of water management and the use of water for specialized purposes.
Departmental research into environmental hydrology incorporates water resource management. Activities include: detecting and developing new water sources; utilizing brackish and fossil waters; the treatment, quality-control, and reuse of wastewater; the use of mathematical modeling for predicting the location and flow of groundwater and the transport of pollutants; and the optimal management of different exploitation scenarios.
Research in applied microbiology focuses on aquatic and terrestrial environments that are adversely affected by human activity. Researchers aim to restore the natural balance in these ecosystems by studying the biological processes that shape them. Bioremediation and industrial wastewater treatment technologies are being developed to overcome ecological erosion. Scientists from Israel and abroad participate in the ongoing research projects.