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Cost-effective mitigation of diffuse pollution: setting criteria for river basin management at multiple locations

Hutchins, Mike; Fezzi, Carlo; Bateman, Ian; Posen, Paulette; Deflandre-Vlandas, Amelie. 2009 Cost-effective mitigation of diffuse pollution: setting criteria for river basin management at multiple locations. Environmental Management, 44 (2). 256-267. 10.1007/s00267-009-9306-8

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Abstract/Summary

A case study of the Yorkshire Derwent (UK) catchment is used to illustrate an integrated approach for assessing the viability of policy options for reducing diffuse nitrate losses to waterbodies. For a range of options, modeling methods for simulating river nitrate levels are combined with techniques for estimating the economic costs to agriculture of modifying those levels. By incorporating spatially explicit data and information on catchment residence times (which may span many decades particularly in areas of groundwater discharge) a method is developed for efficient spatial targeting of measures, for example, to the most at-risk freshwater environments. Combining hydrological and economic findings, the analysis reveals that, in terms of cost-effectiveness, the ranking of options is highly sensitive to both (i) whether or not specific stretches of river within a catchment are regarded as a priority for protection, and (ii) the criterion of nitrate concentration deemed most appropriate as an indicator of the health of the environment. Therefore, given the focus under European legislation upon ecological status of freshwaters, these conclusions highlight the need to improve understanding of mechanistic linkages between the chemical and biological dynamics of aquatic systems.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1007/s00267-009-9306-8
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water > WA03 Developing strategic data and knowledge at a catchment scale to enable the wiser management of the water environment
CEH Sections: Boorman
ISSN: 0364-152X
Additional Keywords: Water framework directive, Diffuse pollution, Nitrate, Cost-effectiveness
NORA Subject Terms: Management
Agriculture and Soil Science
Ecology and Environment
Hydrology
Related URLs:
Date made live: 02 Nov 2009 12:32
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/6749

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