Modelling indicators of water security, water pollution and aquatic biodiversity in Europe

Dumont, Egon; Williams, Richard; Keller, Virginie; Voss, Anja; Tattari, Sirkka. 2012 Modelling indicators of water security, water pollution and aquatic biodiversity in Europe. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 57 (7). 1378-1403.

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The GWAVA (Global Water AVailability Assessment) model for indicating human water security has been extended with a newly developed module for calculating pollutant concentrations. This module is first described and then illustrated by being used to model nitrogen, phosphorus and organic matter concentrations. The module uses solely input variables that are likely to be available for future scenarios, making it possible to apply the module to such scenarios. The module first calculates pollutant loading from land to rivers, lakes and wetlands by considering drivers such as agriculture, industry and sewage treatment. Calculated loadings are subsequently converted to concentrations by considering aquatic processes, such as dilution, downstream transport, evaporation, human water abstraction and biophysical loss processes. Aquatic biodiversity is indicated to be at risk if modelled pollutant concentrations exceed certain water quality standards. This is indicated to be the case in about 35% of the European area, especially where lakes and wetlands are abundant. Human water security is indicated to be at risk where human water demands cannot be fulfilled during drought events. This is found to be the case in about 10% of the European area, especially in Mediterranean, arid and densely-populated areas. Modelled spatial variation in concentrations matches well with existing knowledge, and the temporal variability of concentrations is modelled reasonably well in some river basins. Therefore, we conclude that the updated GWAVA model can be used for indicating changes in human water security and aquatic biodiversity across Europe.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Boorman (to September 2014)
ISSN: 0262-6667
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Hydrological Sciences Journal, 57 (7). 1378-1403. Copyright IAHS Press. Available online at: 10.1080/02626667.2012.715747
Additional Keywords: water resources, eutrophication, modelling, BOD, nitrogen, phosphorus, Europe, GWAVA, water scarcity, water quality, EU Water Framework Directive
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 13 Sep 2012 14:18 +0 (UTC)

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