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Open AccessArticle
Peer-Review Record

Multiannual Assessment of the Risk of Surface Water Erosion and Metal Accumulation Indices in the Flysch Stream Using the MARS Model in the Polish Outer Western Carpathians

Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7189; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247189
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7189; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247189
Received: 20 October 2019 / Revised: 4 December 2019 / Accepted: 12 December 2019 / Published: 15 December 2019
(This article belongs to the collection Eutrophication and Sustainable Management of Water)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

Review

The manuscript titled "Multiannual assessment of the risk of surface water erosion and metal accumulation indices in the flysch stream using the MARS (multivariate adaptive regression splines) model in the Polish Outer Westen Carpathians” by Halecki et al., assessed the physiographic characterisation of the upland flysch catchment dominated by agricultural land, evaluation of quality indices using multivariate statistics methods, assessment of anthropogenic pressures and interactions of various factors on heavy metal concentrations, estimation of the degree of risk and intensity of water erosion and the impact of land use on surface water quality. The work is interesting. Please check all the detailed comments and questions provided below. Some are particular relevant to consider my recommendation for acceptance.

Detailed Comments

Abstract

The “Abstract” should include the core findings of the article. And all the abbreviations should be defined when first mentioned.

Introduction

There is no comparison between this topic and research in the world. I suggest to complete.

Materials and Methods

Whether information about the catchment areas is the Authors' research or literature. If from literature please include

Materials and Methods

How many times and when samples were taken in 2007-2018?.

Results and Discussion

Please attach the results of the F-Welch test

 

Author Response

 

            The manuscript titled "Multiannual assessment of the risk of surface water erosion and metal accumulation indices in the flysch stream using the MARS (multivariate adaptive regression splines) model in the Polish Outer Westen Carpathians” by Halecki et al., assessed the physiographic characterisation of the upland flysch catchment dominated by agricultural land, evaluation of quality indices using multivariate statistics methods, assessment of anthropogenic pressures and interactions of various factors on heavy metal concentrations, estimation of the degree of risk and intensity of water erosion and the impact of land use on surface water quality. The work is interesting. Please check all the detailed comments and questions provided below. Some are particular relevant to consider my recommendation for acceptance.

Thank you for a nice review. We have no intention to develop a general evaluation of water quality index procedure to be transferable to other catchment, but we follow an approach that should account directly in the calibration for the (future or observed) water quality dynamics in a study period, and maybe sufficient for ecosystem maintenance that use almost no direct point-soil measurements in the study area.

 

Detailed Comments

Abstract

            The “Abstract” should include the core findings of the article. And all the abbreviations should be defined when first mentioned.

Thank you for raising this point. These fragments of the text was modified. We improved this text accoriding to Reviewer’s suggestion. Please check the Abstract chapter.

 

Introduction

            There is no comparison between this topic and research in the world. I suggest to complete.

Thank you for your attention. Indeed, only three studies clearly reported information about the management using water quality  index in Poland. In five studies, the choice soil and water was based on the score, but further management of agricuultural area confirmed that it was not specified. In another study, soils with revegeation were referred for appropriate management according to standard land reclamation. In the remaining ten studies, the management of agricultural area using indices was not reported. We have added fololwing sentence in lines 47-51: “The reason for our study is the presence in the agricultural areas of forests in the mulch of which humus soils occur that may cause greater pollution of water with mineral-organic substances than the extensively used (meadows, arable land) mineral soils [5]. The results are strongly inscribed in water-related policies and European Union legislation aimed at rational management of water resources, including socio-economic and climate change [6]”.

 

Materials and Methods

            Whether information about the catchment areas is the Authors' research or literature. If from literature please include

            Thank you for this suggestion. We added following sentence in line 179: “Physiographic elaboration of the research catchment was done by the authors”.

 

Materials and Methods

            How many times and when samples were taken in 2007-2018?

            You have raised an important point here. We improved this text accoriding to Reviewer’s suggestion in line 213-217: “Hydrochemical tests were carried out at six measurement and check-control spots in the years 2007–2018. Moreover, the concentrations of 6 heavy metals and the values of 2 microbiological indices were examined once a quarter. In total, 864 water samples were collected in the research period”.

 

Results and Discussion

Please attach the results of the F-Welch test

             Thank you for raising this point. Yes, we agree with Reviewer. Therefore, we have to expound this issue. It would have been interesting to explore this aspect. However, in the case of our study, it seems slightly out of scope. The discussion regarding which functioning model (with or MARS model), if any, will prevail can lead to an endless debate. As explained above, we believe the MARS model not to be the result of many misconceptions and misunderstandings. This idea has already been refuted by field tests, meaning that the quality of spoiled water samples have to be permanently monitored, and would only apply to a second, optional ratio used for non-safety applications. The solution proposed by our method needs an estimation of the optimal ratio. We attached results of the F-Welch test under the Table 2. We may add full results, if really neceesery. Conclusion has been corrected accordingly, therefore then easily and quickly be continued at the same, or another catchment.

Reviewer 2 Report

This paper presents a hydrochemical assessment of surface water quality for the catchment of the Korzen stream located in the southern part of Poland. I believe that the subject matter of this paper will be of great interest to the readers. Although I cannot find any significant novelty in this paper, the research problems addressed by the authors are quite interesting, and the research findings are much needed in water resources community. In addition, this paper is more like a technical report rather than a research paper. Thus I strongly suggest the authors to highlight the most significant contribution of this paper to the research community.

Furthermore, results analysis is too short and simple. In particular, sections 3.2 and 3.3 have only one paragraphs, which are absolutely unacceptable. Also, the authors should improve the quality of tables and figures. For example, the quality of Table 1 is poor. Please reorganize Table 1 to improve its readability. 

Author Response

This paper presents a hydrochemical assessment of surface water quality for the catchment of the Korzen stream located in the southern part of Poland. I believe that the subject matter of this paper will be of great interest to the readers.

 

            Thank you for a good respond. We thank the reviewer for these constructive encouraging comments. Since it targets a different quantity, which is at the end a water stored in the upper part of catchment, it should be less seen from a perspective of a heterogeneous land distribution such as in classical soil physics, but rather from a landscape, or remote sensing perspective. This solution detected is used for comparison with point-measurements and link to models, in the sense of presenting a good average of the water properties and other physicochemical parameter in its considerably large footprint.

 

            Although I cannot find any significant novelty in this paper, the research problems addressed by the authors are quite interesting, and the research findings are much needed in water resources community.

              Thank you for bringing this inconsistency to our attention. We have changed the wording of the relevant. Since we are focusing on the dynamic changes of the  water chemistry. Though other studies may investigate in detail how the heterogeneity of the surface water contamination influences the detected average heavy metals, by applying a huge network of soil measurements, we follow another approach that improves the applicability specifically for soil erosion, and in a flexible way. This approach will enable an application of the method to land-use, revegetation, or even small water retention with no permanently fixed instrumentation, but short-term accompanying measurements that can be removed before management and other agricultural engineering measures. We have added following sentences to Abstract section of the revised manuscript that explains the conceptual model of the hydrochemical paramters in the Korzeń catchment in lines 29-32:

 

             We recommend small retention reservoirs as a potential management measures to improve the quality of the surface water at regional scale. This study has great potential to mitigate degradation processes related to insufficient storage capacity, and to promote the natural water retention.

 

 

            In addition, this paper is more like a technical report rather than a research paper. Thus I strongly suggest the authors to highlight the most significant contribution of this paper to the research community.

             Thank you for this comment. We would like to pay attention that we do not intend to present an upscaling approach, or scale transfer of heavy metals, but the effect of land-use. To clarify the mentioned aspect on the advantages, we also added comment before Discussion section in lines 475-481: ”Our technique might be suitable to understand risk assessment and ecological consequences such as pollution associated with anthropogenic implication. Statistical analysis and water quality indices can effectively be imposed for land-related policies We confirmed methodological strengths benefitting from natural water retention measures This article raise awareness of decision makers to formulate appropriate policies for farmers. Study exposed that visual land use mapping may be applied to show the value of innovative design features, and favorable natural condition in the context of water storage structures”.

 

             Furthermore, results analysis is too short and simple. In particular, sections 3.2 and 3.3 have only one paragraphs, which are absolutely unacceptable.

             Thank you for pointing this out. We agree with this comment. We have modified text in the revised manuscpirt in the Result section. In the revised manuscript we will present a function to accomplish simple water measurement. We have adapted this issue. The following title paragraphs have been changed to clarify the problem:

3.1. Physicochemical indices

3.2. Relation between land-use and physicochemical indices

3.3. Evaluation of erosive intensity

3.4. Evaluation of metal accumulation factors

               The mechanism proposed in this paper is really interesting, and we will surely investigate its performance with close attention in the future. However, there are some important differences between our approach and the one proposed by others Authors - the study is focused on the problem of calculating the optimal managements between the soil erosion parameters and progress of water monitring for revitalization success. Since we now would like to go one step further and suggest a correction function for the calibration to account for the water quality, we will tailor the story line in this direction. We would like to emphasize that study does not intend to develop new ways of calibrating the water quality parameters, and nor to provide transferable functions for different surface water area. Instead, we provided way for evaluatng MARS mode in order to demonstrate that our conclusions regarding to soil erosion influence are independent on the fitting approach. Therefore, we implemented this sentence in lines 429-430:We also observed relation between TDS and TSS (Table 3, Figure. 6).

 

              Also, the authors should improve the quality of tables and figures. For example, the quality of Table 1 is poor. Please reorganize Table 1 to improve its readability.

               It was done.

 

 

Sincerely,

Wiktor Halecki, Tomasz Kowalik, Andrzej Bogdał

Round 2

Reviewer 2 Report

The authors have addressed all my comments and suggestions. 

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