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Water SA

versión On-line ISSN 1816-7950
versión impresa ISSN 0378-4738

Water SA vol.34 no.4 Pretoria abr. 2008


Integrated nutrient transport modelling with respect to the implementation of the European WFD: The Weiβe Elster Case Study, Germany



Michael RodeI; Bernd KlauerII; Daniel PetryIV; Martin VolkIII; Gerald WenkI; Dierk WagenscheinI

IUFZ-Helmholtz Centre of Environmental Research, Germany: Department of Aquatic Ecosystem Analysis and Management, Brueckstrasse 3a, 39114 Magdeburg, Germany
IIUFZ-Helmholtz Centre of Environmental Research, Germany: Department of Economics, PO Box 500 136, 04301 Leipzig, Germany
IIIUFZ-Helmholtz Centre of Environmental Research, Germany: Department of Landscape Ecology, PO Box 500 136, 04301 Leipzig, Germany
IVUFZ-Helmholtz Centre of Environmental Research, Germany: Global Water System Project, International Project Office, Walter-Flex-Str. 3, 53113 Bonn, Germany





The goal of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) is to protect and enhance the status of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. To reach this objective an integrated methodology for the implementation of the WFD is essential. The methodology presented was developed within an interdisciplinary research project on the highly polluted 4th order Weiβe Elster River basin, a large subcatchment of the Saale basin (Germany), which is part of the UNESCO-IHP HELP program. The project focuses on nutrient management in order to achieve a good ecological status of surface waters. The paper focuses on an integrated modelling of nitrogen transport and comprises combined terrestrial and in-stream transport processes. The mitigation of diffuse and point sources pollution is thereby essential to meet the environmental objectives. Land-use scenarios on both organic farming systems and best management practices were analysed and compared with different strategies to reduce point source. The results show that the possible reduction of nitrogen inputs from point sources is much lower compared to the reduction of diffuse inputs from agricultural land use. The results on in-stream nitrogen transformation show that different morphological factors influence the nitrogen retention considerably. The potential of management measures to reduce nitrogen loads by river restoration measures seems to be limited. This is caused by infrastructural facilities that restrict attaining a natural state of river morphology.

Keywords: river basin management, nutrient transport, river restoration, SWAT, WASP


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