Surface runoff (overland flow) is the main element of the water cycle and is also crucial in the delivery of phosphorus and nitrogen from catchments to water bodies. Watercourses and reservoirs in agricultural catchments are particularly vulnerable to the delivery of biogenic compounds via surface runoff. Forested riparian buffers are considered effective in reducing nutrients and sediment loads in runoff from agricultural areas. Regrettably, the concentration of surface runoff may significantly limit the buffering capacity of vegetation strips, as channelised overland flow tends to avoid buffers without making optimal use of their ability to retain nutrients and sediment. The aim of the undertaken research was to delineate surface runoff pathways from surrounding areas to a drinking water reservoir as well as to identify potential concentration spots of overland flow. The research was conducted for the Dobromierz drinking water reservoir (GPS N: 50°54′27″, E: 16°14′37″). The reservoir is situated in a submountain catchment, where rainfall is an important factor taking part in driving diffuse P and N loads from land to water. Presented GIS-based method using high resolution Digital Terrain Model obtained from Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) allowed to determine areas with a tendency for high accumulation (concentration) of overland flow in the direct catchment of the reservoir. As main surface runoff areas, three sites each exceeding 100 ha were designated. The analysis of spatial data also allowed to establish the risk of agricultural diffuse pollution transfer via channelised overland flow to the reservoir from individual accumulation areas. It was found that in the forested part of the catchment (serving as a riparian buffer) there is no visible tendency for concentration of surface runoff, but simultaneously the vegetation strip does not prevent the transfer of runoff waters from agricultural areas through the privileged pathways of concentrated flow.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited