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Article

Improved Representation of Flow and Water Quality in a North-Eastern German Lowland Catchment by Combining Low-Frequency Monitored Data with Hydrological Modelling

Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of Rostock, 18051 Rostock, Germany
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Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4812; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124812
Received: 21 May 2020 / Revised: 8 June 2020 / Accepted: 10 June 2020 / Published: 12 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Quality Management in the Changing Environment)
Achievements of good chemical and ecological status of groundwater (GW) and surface water (SW) bodies are currently challenged mainly due to poor identification and quantification of pollution sources. A high spatio-temporal hydrological and water quality monitoring of SW and GW bodies is the basis for a reliable assessment of water quality in a catchment. However, high spatio-temporal hydrological and water quality monitoring is expensive, laborious, and hard to accomplish. This study uses spatio-temporally low resolved monitored water quality and river discharge data in combination with integrated hydrological modelling to estimate the governing pollution pathways and identify potential transformation processes. A key task at the regarded lowland river Augraben is (i) to understand the SW and GW interactions by estimating representative GW zones (GWZ) based on simulated GW flow directions and GW quality monitoring stations, (ii) to quantify GW flows to the Augraben River and its tributaries, and (iii) to simulate SW discharges at ungauged locations. Based on simulated GW flows and SW discharges, NO3-N, NO2-N, NH4-N, and P loads are calculated from each defined SW tributary outlet (SWTO) and respective GWZ by using low-frequency monitored SW and GW quality data. The magnitudes of NO3-N transformations and plant uptake rates are accessed by estimating a NO3-N balance at the catchment outlet. Based on sensitivity analysis results, Manning’s roughness, saturated hydraulic conductivity, and boundary conditions are mainly used for calibration. The water balance results show that 60–65% of total precipitation is lost via evapotranspiration (ET). A total of 85–95% of SW discharge in Augraben River and its tributaries is fed by GW via base flow. SW NO3-N loads are mainly dependent on GW flows and GW quality. Estimated SW NO3-N loads at SWTO_Ivenack and SWTO_Lindenberg show that these tributaries are heavily polluted and contribute mainly to the total SW NO3-N loads at Augraben River catchment outlet (SWO_Gehmkow). SWTO_Hasseldorf contributes least to the total SW NO3-N loads. SW quality of Augraben River catchment lies, on average, in the category of heavily polluted river with a maximum NO3-N load of 650 kg/d in 2017. Estimated GW loads in GWZ_Ivenack have contributed approximately 96% of the total GW loads and require maximum water quality improvement efforts to reduce high NO3-N levels. By focusing on the impacts of NO3-N reduction measures and best agricultural practices, further studies can enhance the better agricultural and water quality management in the study area. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater and surface water interactions; integrated hydrology; lowlands; MIKE SHE; MIKE 11; water management; water quality groundwater and surface water interactions; integrated hydrology; lowlands; MIKE SHE; MIKE 11; water management; water quality
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MDPI and ACS Style

Waseem, M.; Schilling, J.; Kachholz, F.; Tränckner, J. Improved Representation of Flow and Water Quality in a North-Eastern German Lowland Catchment by Combining Low-Frequency Monitored Data with Hydrological Modelling. Sustainability 2020, 12, 4812. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124812

AMA Style

Waseem M, Schilling J, Kachholz F, Tränckner J. Improved Representation of Flow and Water Quality in a North-Eastern German Lowland Catchment by Combining Low-Frequency Monitored Data with Hydrological Modelling. Sustainability. 2020; 12(12):4812. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124812

Chicago/Turabian Style

Waseem, Muhammad, Jannik Schilling, Frauke Kachholz, and Jens Tränckner. 2020. "Improved Representation of Flow and Water Quality in a North-Eastern German Lowland Catchment by Combining Low-Frequency Monitored Data with Hydrological Modelling" Sustainability 12, no. 12: 4812. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124812

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