Surface water in streams and rivers is a valuable resource and pollution events, if not tackled in time, may have dramatic impacts on aquatic ecosystems. As such, in order to prepare pollution prevention plans and measures or to set-up timely remedial options, especially in the early stages of pollution incidents, simulation tools are of great help for authorities, with specific reference to environmental protection agencies and river basin authorities. In this paper, we present the development and testing of the ORGANICS plugin embedded in QGIS. The plugin is a first attempt to embed surface water solute transport modelling into GIS for the simulation of the concentration of a dissolved substance (for example an organic compound) in surface water bodies including advection dispersion and degradation. This tool is based on the analytical solution of the popular advection/dispersion equation describing the transport of contaminants in surface water. By providing as input data the concentration measured at the entry point of a watercourse (inlet boundary condition) and the average speed of the surface water, the model simulates the concentration of a substance at a certain distance from the entry point, along the profile of the watercourse. The tool is first tested on a synthetic case. Then data on the concentration of the pharmaceutical carbamazepine monitored at the inlet and outlet of a vegetated channel, in a single day, are used to validate the tool in a real environment. The ORGANICS plugin aims at popularizing the use of simple modelling tools within a GIS framework, and it provides GIS experts with the ability to perform approximate, but fast, simulations of the evolution of pollutants concentration in surface water bodies.
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