History of the Institute of Hydrology SAS
The necessity to understand basic laws of water cycle as a precondition to improve water management of Slovakia was the reason of establishing the Institute of Hydrology, Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS). The resolution of the Presidium of the Slovak Academy of Sciences on September 22, 1953, established the institute as the Water Management Laboratory of SAS. Founder of the Institute – and its first director – was prof. Ing. Oto Dub. The aim of this Institute was to develop theoretical hydrology and solution of actual problems related to surface and subsurface water. Water Management Laboratory was renamed (by the resolution of the Presidium of SAS on December 17, 1959) to the Institute of Hydrology and Hydraulics SAS. Significant changes of the Institute were performed after year 1989. The staff number decreased from 108 to 50, funding of the Institute was changed from budgetary to those which activity are covered from the state budget only partially (since January 1, 1993). To characterize contemporary institutes activity focused to hydrology, since March 1, 1993 its name is the Institute of Hydrology SAS. In 2022, the Institute of Hydrology SAS changed its legal form to a so-called public research institution with modified funding rules.
The research activities of the Institute of Hydrology SAS as the only workplace are covering the whole topic of hydrology, both hydrology of surface and subsurface water. Hydrology as a natural science is based on general natural laws, but in applications basic information about hydrosphere of Slovakia should be estimated. This is one of the roles of the Institute. The research program of the Institute of Hydrology is focused mainly on the solution of problems related to:
- Hydrology of watercourses and changes of water balance structure of water basins,
- Movement of water and soluted stuff in the Groundwater-Soil-Plant-Atmosphere System and its quantification,
- Quantification of the surface and subsurface water and soluted and dispersed stuff movement,
- Impact of anthropogenic factors on hydrological processes and on pollution of surface water and groundwater,
- Identification and prognosis of surface and subsurface water regime by expected climate changes.
Different subdisciplines of hydrology are using specific methodological approaches and equipments, this is reflected even in structure of the Institute. Institute is divided into two departments:
Territory of Slovakia is morphologically diversified and research under different natural conditions needs specific methodology and equipment; the remoted workplaces for particular regions were established; they are focused on research in the field conditions:
- Research base for Mountain Hydrology, Liptovský Mikuláš, (research of water movement and runoff formation into condition of mountainous catchments),
- Research base for Lowland Hydrology, Michalovce (soil hydrology of lowlands, with accent to East Slovakia Lowland).
The aim of research conducted by the Institute of Hydrology, Slovak Academy of Sciences is to acquire new knowledge about quantitative and qualitative characteristics of water movement in ecosystems influenced by human activity and global changes (climate change is one of many global changes).
Those goals can be reached by the combined laboratory and field activities; field research is the source of primary information about the system and allows to design mathematical models and its results can be used for their validation. Mathematical models, designed at the Institute of Hydrology SAS are valuable tools to diagnose and to prognose water regime of surface and subsurface water.
Results of research are disseminated by journals published by the Institute of Hydrology SAS (Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics and Acta Hydrologica Slovaca), in foreign journals, monographies and are presented at the conferences.
Increasing demand on water supply, higher level of prevention to floods and droughts needs new knowledge about water cycle, to be able – together with another institutions in this field – cover increasing water need and prevention to extreme hydrological phenomena.