Assessment procedure Hydrological Quality

Catchment oriented assessment of runoff and solute dynamics - Development of the assessment procedure "Hydrological Quality" into an expert system for river basin management

Project coordination: Prof Dr. Ch. Leibundgut
Project staff: Dr. M. Eisele, Dipl.-Hyd. A. Hildebrand, Dipl-. Hyd. A. Steinbrich
Finacial support:
BW-PLUS (Programm Lebensgrundlage Umwelt und ihre Sicherung), Ministerium für Umwelt und Verkehr
Duration: 01.10.1999 to 30.09.2001 (BWC 99011); 01.06.2002 to 30.11. 2004 (BWC 21013)

In the framework of the project "hydrological quality" a spatially orientated assessment procedure for the human impact on river basins was developed. The project was focused on the development of an adequate methodology and its applications in a set of test-catchments. The main objective in the continuation project (BWC 21013) was the improvement of the procedure - mainly regarding its technical solution - towards an expert system, which is operationally applicable to meso-scale river basins (10 to 5000 km²). In addition parts of the methodology were improved and completed according to experiences gained in previous applications and the needs of water resource management. The general applicability was demonstrated by applying the procedure in various catchments covering almost the complete area of the state of Baden-Württemberg. Figure 1 illustrates the conception of the assessment procedure.

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Pressures on water resources are identified using criteria of land-use structure, river morphology, population density, water consumption, water abstraction and transfer and the storage volume of dams and reservoirs. The amount of anthropogenic pressure is quantified for each of the single aspects. By calculating the "Index of Human Pressures" using an aggregation procedure the general pressure on the water resources in the river basin can be estimated. Additionally, human induced alterations of magnitude and variability of stream flow are evaluated based on discharge time series. For the assessment of alteration different variables have been selected due to their ecological relevance. They are calculated from stream flow time series. The assessment of the hydrological alteration is based on the comparison of the younger parts of the time series (evaluation periods) and the older parts of the time series (reference periods) in which human pressures are assumed to be less pronounced. Climatic effects are taken into account by analysing time series of precipitation and temperature. To identify the character and amount of the human impact a research procedure using the catchment data base and optionally additional investigations is carried out.
An assessment of the nutrient balance is achieved based on nitrogen and phosphorus emissions from diffuse and point sources. The emissions are calculated using the nutrient balance model MONERIS (extended version including spatially differentieated calculation of water balance and diffuse emmisions). for the actual and the potential natural state of the catchment. Water quality and solute dynamics are parameterised based on measured or simulated concentrations of solutes in surface waters and assessed referring to actual water quality standards. More detailed descriptions of the methodology of the assessment procedure are available in
in Leibundgut et al. (2001 and 2005, in German), Eisele & Leibundgut (2006, in German) and Eisele et al. (2003a, 2003b, 2004).

In Figure 2 the "Index of Human Pressures" calculated for the basic river basin units of Baden-Württemberg is shown. Table 1 provides the corresponding results for each single aspect. Figure 3 shows the assessment of anthropogenic impacts on stream flow dynamics in the four main assessment groups for all investigated gauging stations [Table 2]

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Table 3 provides the results of the nutrient emission simulation and its assessment for the aggregated river basin units of Baden-Württemberg. Figure 4 shows a map of the assessment of nutrient emissions. In Figure 5 a map of the assessment of water quality at the existing water quality stations in Baden-Württemberg is shown. The corressponding results of the calculation and assessment of the parameters for water quality are given in Table 4.

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The aim of the assessment procedure is to provide tools for the estimation of“significant human impacts” on surface and groundwater in the river basin management plans according to the European water framework directive. The results of the application in Baden-Württemberg demonstrate that the proposed methodology is capable of establishing a spatially orientated assessment of pressures on the water resources of meso-scale catchments for large regions. When applied along with the biologically based assessment of the ecological status of surface waters a holistic approach regarding water protection can be achievd, in which the catchment and its water bodies are treated as a hydrological unit. Based on the idendified hydrological deficits possible measures for the improvement of the quality status of the water bodies can be proposed. A catalogue of possible management measures is based on cause-effect relations between identified deficits and the related human pressures in the catchment. The proposed measures have to be evaluated regarding their effect, applicability and costs. In the test catchment of the Seefelder Aach a tool to predict effects of measures for the improvement of water quality was developed and successfully applied. The model concept for monthly based nitrogen transport is based on an existing water balance model (Eisele & Leibundgut 2002). 


Leibundgut, Ch. (1996): Abflussdynamik - unbekannte Größe für den Gewässerschutz !? In: LAWA: Lebensraum Gewässer - nachhaltiger Gewässerschutz im 21. Jahrhundert, 37-51, Intern. LAWA-Symposium, 28.-29. November 1996, Heidelberg.

Leibundgut, Ch. & Hildebrand, A. (1999): Natürlicher Abfluß und Abflußdynamik. In: Geller, W. (Hrsg.): Flußeinzugsgebietsmanagement – Herausforderung an die Forschung. Tagungsband der internationalen Fachtagung am 8. und 9. Juni 1999. Bericht des UFZ Leipzig-Halle GmbH, Sektion Gewässerforschung, 31/1999.[pdf-file]

Hildebrand, A., Eisele, M., Schneider, P. & Leibundgut, Ch. (2000): Das neue Bewertungsverfahren Hydrologische Güte. In: ATV-DVWK: Gewässerlandschaften - Aquatic Landscapes-Tagungsband Teil II, 9. Magdeburger Gewässerschutzseminar - River Basin Management, ATV-DVWK-Schriftenreihe 22. Hennef.[pdf-file]

Eisele, M., Kiese, R., Krämer, A. & Leibundgut, Ch. (2001): Application of a catchment water quality model for assessment and prediction of nitrogen budgets. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth (B), Vol. 26, No. 7-8, 547-551.

Leibundgut, Ch., Eisele, M., Hildebrand, A. & Steinbrich, A.  (2001): Einzugsgebietsbezogene Bewertung der Abfluss- und  Stoffdynamik als Grundlage eines Bewertungsverfahrens „Hydrologische Güte“ zum operationellen Einsatz im nachhaltigen Flussgebietsmanagement. Abschussbericht des Projektvorhabens BWC 99011. Forschungsbericht FZKA-BW-PLUS.  Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe. [pdf-file]

Eisele, M. &  Leibundgut, Ch. (2002): Modeling nitrogen dynamics for a meso-scale catchment with a Minimum-Information Requirement (MIR) concept. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 47, 5, 753-768.

Eisele M., Steinbrich A. & Leibundgut Ch. (2002): Anwendung des einzugsgebietsbezogenen Bewertungsverfahrens „Hydrologische Güte“. In: Die Elbe – neue Horizonte des Flussgebietsmanagements. 10. Magdeburger Gewässerschutzseminar. Geller, W., Puncochar, P., Guhr, H., v. Tümpling jun., W., Medeck, J., Smrt’ak, J., Uhlmann, O., (Hrsg.). UFZ - Umweltforschungszentrum Leipzig-Halle GmbH, Teubner, Stuttgart, Leipzig, Wiesbaden. 243-246.[pdf-file]

Leibundgut, Ch., Eisele, M. & Steinbrich, A.  (2003): Weiterentwicklung des  Bewertungsverfahrens „Hydrologische Güte“ als Expertensystem zum operationellen Einsatz im Flussgebietsmanagement. Zwischenbericht zum Projektvorhaben BWC 21013. Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe. [pdf-file]

Eisele M. (2003): Stoffhaushalt und Stoffdynamik in Flusseinzugsgebieten: Ein Beitrag zum Bewertungsverfahren "Hydrologische Güte". Freiburger Schriften zur Hydrologie, Bd. 18, 183 S, Freiburg i. Br. [abstract]

Eisele, M., Steinbrich, A. &  Leibundgut, Ch. (2003): Hydrologische Güte – Ein neues einzugsgebietsbezogenes Bewertungsverfahren. Wasser & Boden, 55, 5, 22-27.

Eisele, M., Steinbrich, A. & Leibundgut, Ch. (2003): The significance of hydrological criteria for the assessment of the ecological quality in river basins. Physics & Chemistry of the Earth. Parts A, B and C. 28, 12-13, 529-536. [pdf-file]

Eisele, M., Steinbrich, A. & Leibundgut, Ch. (2003): Identifying human induced pressures and their impact on water resources - the assessment of the Hydrological Quality in river basins. In: Franks. S., Blöschl G., Kumagai, M., Musiake, K. & Rosberg, D. (Eds.): Water Resources Systems - Water Availability and Global Change. IAHS-Publ. 280, 239-246. 

Eisele M., Steinbrich A., Leibundgut Ch. (2003): Anwendung des Bewertungsverfahrens "Hydrologische Güte" in Flusseinzugsgebieten Baden-Württembergs. Tagungsband zum Tag der Hydrologie, 20.-21. März 2003; Kleeberg (Hsrg.): Klima - Wasser - Flussgebietsmanagement - im Lichte der Flut. Forum für Hydrologie und Wasserbewirtschaftung, Band 2, 147-150.

Leibundgut, Ch., Eisele, M. & Steinbrich, A.  (2004): Weiterentwicklung des  Bewertungsverfahrens „Hydrologische Güte“ als Expertensystem zum operationellen Einsatz im Flussgebietsmanagement. Zwischenbericht zum Projektvorhaben BWC 21013. Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe. [pdf-file]

Eisele, M., Leibundgut, Ch. (2004): Kopplung von Wasserhaushaltsmodellen und Stofftransportansätzen für mesoskalige Modellprognosen. In.: Brostert, A., Thieken, A., Merz, B., Rode, M., Menzel, L. (Eds.): Wasser- und Stofftransport in heterogenen Einzugsgebieten. Beiträge zum Tag der Hydrologie 2004, 22.-23. März in Potsdam. Band 1 - Vorträge. 77-84.

Eisele, M., Steinbrich, A., Leibundgut, Ch. (2004): Assessment of the human impact on the temporal variability of stream flow in meso-scale river basins. In: Webb, B. (Ed.): Science & Practice for the 21st Century. Volume 2, British Hydrological Society. 375-382. [pdf-file]

Leibundgut, Ch. & Eisele, M. (2005): Weiterentwicklung des  Bewertungsverfahrens „Hydrologische Güte“ als Expertensystem zum operationellen Einsatz im Flussgebietsmanagement. Abschlussbericht zum Projektvorhaben BWC 21013. Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe. [pdf-file]

Eisele M. & Leibundgut, Ch. (2006): Hydrologische Güte - ein Beitrag zur erweiterten Bewertung von Flusseinzugsgebieten im Gewässerschutz. Freiburger Schriften zur Hydrologie, Bd. 21, 90 S, Freiburg i. Br. [abstract]

Poster presentations

Eisele, M., Steinbrich A. & Leibundgut, Ch. (2004): Assessment of impacts on stream flow magnitude and variability based on the Natural Flow Paradigm. European Geosciences Union - 1st. General Assembly, Nice, France,  25 - 30 April 2004. [pdf-file]

Eisele, M., Behrendt H. & Leibundgut, Ch. (2003): Assessment of nutrient budgets at regional scales based on spatially distributed water and nutrient balances.  EGS - AGU - EUG - Joint Assembly, Nice, France,  6 -11 April 2003. [pdf-file]

Eisele, M., Steinbrich A. & Leibundgut, Ch. (2003): Anwendung des Bewertungsverfahrens "Hydrologische Güte" in Flusseinzugsgebieten Baden-Württembergs. Tag der Hydrologie am 20 und 21. März 2003 in Freiburg i. Br.: Klima, Wasser, Flussgebietsmanagement - im Lichte der Flut. [pdf-file]

Hildebrand, A., Eisele, M. & Leibundgut, Ch. (2000): "Hydrologische Güte": Ein neues Bewertungsverfahren. ).9. Magdeburger Gewässerschutzseminar, Internationale Fachtagung Gewässerlandschaften des BMBF, Berlin, Oktober 2000. [pdf-file]

Eisele, M., Kiese, R., Krämer, A. & Leibundgut, Ch. (2000): Application of a catchment water quality model for  assessment and prediction of solute budgets. European Geophysical Society: Millennium Conference on Earth,  Planetary & Solar Systems Sciences, Nice, France, April 2000. [pdf-file]


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