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Advances in Sustainable River Management: Reconciling Conflicting Interests under Climate Extremes

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (26 March 2023) | Viewed by 34328

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Guest Editor
CERIS—Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability, Instituto Superior Tecnico, University of Lisbon. Av. Rovisco Pais 1, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: climate change; water resources management; floods; droughts; hydraulic structures; river restoration; ecohydrology; ecohydraulics; renewable energy; hydropower impacts
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ever-increasing water exploitation mainly for water supply, irrigation and renewable energy have intensively degraded freshwater ecosystems, notably rivers. Further, the climate extremes and water scarcity enhanced by climate change induce additional stress in the freshwater ecosystems and may stimulate conflicts among water users. Therefore, assurance of optimal living conditions for aquatic organisms is one of the most important principles related to sustainable water management. Conservation and wellbeing of freshwater ecosystems are closely linked to the preservation of the natural hydrological regime. On the other side, human activities often alter not only the natural hydrologic regime but also habitat conditions for the aquatic ecosystem by substantially affecting several essential life-stages of aquatic organisms such as migration and spawning of fish, macroinvertebrates and other aquatic species. The problem is with the hydraulics structures (e.g., hydropower plants, dams, water intakes) within the catchments, planned or existing one, that may adversely affect the living conditions of aquatic organisms.

Also, we are aware that water is needed for several vital humans' activities, where agricultural and industrial seems to be the primary water consumer. In a situation where on the World are observed more frequent drought and water scarcity, water systems management requires the most advanced approaches and tools for rigorously addressing all the dimensions involved in the sustainability of its development. Therefore, the main objective of this Special Issue is to contribute in understanding and provide science-based knowledge, new ideas/approaches and solutions in sustainable river management, to improve water management policies and practices following different environmental requirements aspects.

In a broad view, interesting topics include but not limited to human impact on freshwater ecosystem with regards to climate extremes/change projections, successful practices in water supply and irrigation management, optimization of hydraulic structures to increase their efficiency and eco-sustainability, fish protection by implementing fish-friendly solutions (i.e., fish-friendly turbines and fishways), the optimization of hydropower schemes to reduce ecological impacts, environmental flows implementation, environmental assessments of hydropower plants and other water structures. Special attention will be given to those contributions that consider trade-offs and/or integration between some of the aspects/disciplines that drive the sustainability of water systems in the context of their development and management. In particular, the following topics are of high interest:

  • Sustainable renewable energy (hydropower, energy mix)
  • Irrigation
  • Water supply
  • Water structures
  • Heuristic methods in water management optimization
  • Water management under climate extremes/change  
  • Ecosystem preservation
  • Environmental flows implementation
  • Habitat modelling
  • River restoration
  • Hydrologic alteration
  • Eco-friendly solutions

Dr. Andrzej Wałęga
Dr. Alban Kuriqi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • E-flows
  • Indicators of hydrological alteration
  • Renewable energy
  • Water management optimization and modelling
  • Habitat modelling
  • Ecohydrology
  • Ecohydraulic
  • Hydropower
  • Water quality
  • Geomorphology
  • Climate change
  • Socio-hydrology
  • Irrigation

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 157 KiB  
Editorial
Preface to “Advances in Sustainable River Management: Reconciling Conflicting Interests under Climate Extremes’’
by Andrzej Wałęga and Alban Kuriqi
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10087; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810087 - 09 Sep 2021
Viewed by 990
Abstract
Safeguarding optimal living conditions for aquatic organisms is one of the most important principles of sustainable water management [...] Full article

Research

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23 pages, 3580 KiB  
Article
An Expert Approach to an Assessment of the Needs of Land Consolidation within the Scope of Improving Water Resource Management
by Jacek M. Pijanowski, Andrzej Wałęga, Leszek Książek, Andrzej Strużyński, Krzysztof Goleniowski, Jan Zarzycki, Tomasz Kowalik, Andrzej Bogdał, Maciej Wyrębek and Karol Szeremeta
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16651; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416651 - 12 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1029
Abstract
The objective of this study is to present the approach to assess needs of land consolidation to prepare rural areas for proper water resource management. The study presented links of water management with land consolidation, which is a new approach in rural development [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to present the approach to assess needs of land consolidation to prepare rural areas for proper water resource management. The study presented links of water management with land consolidation, which is a new approach in rural development planning in Central Europe. The results of this research are presented in the form of a needs assessment matrix for water retention. The matrix includes the main groups of parameters that are related to water resource management systems and rural development planning, which are classified into three groups: (1) water resources and retention, (2) technical systems and water management measures, and (3) information about land space distribution in rural areas. A verification of the proposed matrix was carried out for two sites that differ in terms of factors influencing the retention size; one is located in southern Poland in Lower Silesia—in the village of Mokrzeszów—and the other is located in Strzelce Wielkie—a village located in Lesser Poland. Both sites were evaluated using different needs assessment methods in terms of retention. The main factors influencing a reduced retention potential are related to the insufficient retention capacity of river channels and valleys and the inadequate maintenance of melioration systems. In Strzelce Wielkie, the land consolidation favours longer catchment response on rainfall, which is an advantage to mitigating drought and flood problems. The developed matrix can be applied for an assessment of the retention potential of rural areas based on the relatively accessible data. The method is universal and can be used in different regions. The approach presents practical tools dedicated to authorities to deciding on land consolidation in regards to water resources management; it aims at resolving agricultural land use conflicts and sustainably using space in order to manage water domains. Full article
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23 pages, 4683 KiB  
Article
Hydro-Economic Water Allocation Model for Water Supply Risk Analysis: A Case Study of Namhan River Basin, South Korea
by Gimoon Jeong and Doosun Kang
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6005; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116005 - 26 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2281
Abstract
Rational water resource management is used to ensure a stable supply of water by predicting the supply of and demand for future water resources. However, rational water allocation will become more difficult in the future owing to the effects of climate change, causing [...] Read more.
Rational water resource management is used to ensure a stable supply of water by predicting the supply of and demand for future water resources. However, rational water allocation will become more difficult in the future owing to the effects of climate change, causing water shortages and disputes. In this study, an advanced hydro-economic water allocation and management model (WAMM) was introduced by improving the optimization scheme employed in conventional models and incorporating the economic value of water. By relying upon economic valuation, the WAMM can support water allocation efforts that focus not only on the stability but also on the economic benefits of water supply. The water supply risk was evaluated following the different objective functions and optimization methods provided by the WAMM using a case study of the Namhan River basin in South Korea under a climate change scenario over the next 30 years. The water shortages and associated economic damage were compared, and the superior ability of WAMM to mitigate future water shortages using economic valuation and full-step linear programming (FSLP) optimization was demonstrated. It is expected that the WAMM can be applied to help resolve water shortages and disputes among river basin units under severe drought conditions. Full article
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19 pages, 6205 KiB  
Article
Bottom Sediments from a Dam Reservoir as a Core in Embankments—Filtration and Stability: A Case Study
by Karolina Koś, Andrzej Gruchot and Eugeniusz Zawisza
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1221; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031221 - 25 Jan 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1962
Abstract
A possibility of using bottom sediments from dam reservoirs in earth structures was considered. Sediments from the Rzeszow reservoir (Poland) were used as research material, which, according to geotechnical standards, were classified as low permeable silt with high organic content. As fine, cohesive [...] Read more.
A possibility of using bottom sediments from dam reservoirs in earth structures was considered. Sediments from the Rzeszow reservoir (Poland) were used as research material, which, according to geotechnical standards, were classified as low permeable silt with high organic content. As fine, cohesive soil with a low coefficient of permeability, the sediments can be used in sealing elements of hydraulic engineering embankments. In order to verify the suitability of the sediments, stability and filtration calculations were carried out for embankments with a sealing in the form of a core made of the sediments. It was stated that by using a core made of sediments, the volume of seepage on the downstream side during continuous or variable backwater was significantly lower in relation to an embankment without a core, and the phreatic line did not extend to the downstream slope. It is estimated that, in the case of a planned dredging in Rzeszow Reservoir, the amount of dredged sediment would exceed 1.5 million m3, and therefore, the possibility of their economic use is essential. The search for materials that could replace natural soil in earthen structures is an important issue from both the ecological and economic points of view. Full article
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24 pages, 5860 KiB  
Article
Artificial Neural Network Optimized with a Genetic Algorithm for Seasonal Groundwater Table Depth Prediction in Uttar Pradesh, India
by Kusum Pandey, Shiv Kumar, Anurag Malik and Alban Kuriqi
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8932; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218932 - 27 Oct 2020
Cited by 59 | Viewed by 4395
Abstract
Accurate information about groundwater level prediction is crucial for effective planning and management of groundwater resources. In the present study, the Artificial Neural Network (ANN), optimized with a Genetic Algorithm (GA-ANN), was employed for seasonal groundwater table depth (GWTD) prediction in the area [...] Read more.
Accurate information about groundwater level prediction is crucial for effective planning and management of groundwater resources. In the present study, the Artificial Neural Network (ANN), optimized with a Genetic Algorithm (GA-ANN), was employed for seasonal groundwater table depth (GWTD) prediction in the area between the Ganga and Hindon rivers located in Uttar Pradesh State, India. A total of 18 models for both seasons (nine for the pre-monsoon and nine for the post-monsoon) have been formulated by using groundwater recharge (GWR), groundwater discharge (GWD), and previous groundwater level data from a 21-year period (1994–2014). The hybrid GA-ANN models’ predictive ability was evaluated against the traditional GA models based on statistical indicators and visual inspection. The results appraisal indicates that the hybrid GA-ANN models outperformed the GA models for predicting the seasonal GWTD in the study region. Overall, the hybrid GA-ANN-8 model with an 8-9-1 structure (i.e., 8: inputs, 9: neurons in the hidden layer, and 1: output) was nominated optimal for predicting the GWTD during pre- and post-monsoon seasons. Additionally, it was noted that the maximum number of input variables in the hybrid GA-ANN approach improved the prediction accuracy. In conclusion, the proposed hybrid GA-ANN model’s findings could be readily transferable or implemented in other parts of the world, specifically those with similar geology and hydrogeology conditions for sustainable planning and groundwater resources management. Full article
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23 pages, 2628 KiB  
Article
Environmental Flows Assessment in Nepal: The Case of Kaligandaki River
by Naresh Suwal, Alban Kuriqi, Xianfeng Huang, João Delgado, Dariusz Młyński and Andrzej Walega
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8766; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218766 - 22 Oct 2020
Cited by 59 | Viewed by 4785
Abstract
Environmental flow assessments (e-flows) are relatively new practices, especially in developing countries such as Nepal. This study presents a comprehensive analysis of the influence of hydrologically based e-flow methods in the natural flow regime. The study used different hydrological-based methods, namely, the Global [...] Read more.
Environmental flow assessments (e-flows) are relatively new practices, especially in developing countries such as Nepal. This study presents a comprehensive analysis of the influence of hydrologically based e-flow methods in the natural flow regime. The study used different hydrological-based methods, namely, the Global Environmental Flow Calculator, the Tennant method, the flow duration curve method, the dynamic method, the mean annual flow method, and the annual distribution method to allocate e-flows in the Kaligandaki River. The most common practice for setting e-flows consists of allocating a specific percentage of mean annual flow or portion of flow derived from specific percentiles of the flow duration curve. However, e-flow releases should mimic the river’s intra-annual variability to meet the specific ecological function at different river trophic levels and in different periods over a year covering biotas life stages. The suitability of the methods was analyzed using the Indicators of Hydrological Alterations and e-flows components. The annual distribution method and the 30%Q-D (30% of daily discharge) methods showed a low alteration at the five global indexes for each group of Indicators of Hydrological Alterations and e-flows components, which allowed us to conclude that these methods are superior to the other methods. Hence, the study results concluded that 30%Q-D and annual distribution methods are more suitable for the e-flows implementation to meet the riverine ecosystem’s annual dynamic demand to maintain the river’s health. This case study can be used as a guideline to allocate e-flows in the Kaligandaki River, particularly for small hydropower plants. Full article
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17 pages, 3330 KiB  
Article
New Insights on Flood Mapping Procedure: Two Case Studies in Poland
by Andrea Petroselli, Jacek Florek, Dariusz Młyński, Leszek Książek and Andrzej Wałęga
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8454; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208454 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2061
Abstract
The use of the Mike11 one-dimensional (1D) hydraulic model, together with official hydrology, represents a standard approach of the National Water Management Authority (NWMA) in Poland for flood mapping procedures. A different approach, based on the hydrological Event-Based Approach for Small and Ungauged [...] Read more.
The use of the Mike11 one-dimensional (1D) hydraulic model, together with official hydrology, represents a standard approach of the National Water Management Authority (NWMA) in Poland for flood mapping procedures. A different approach, based on the hydrological Event-Based Approach for Small and Ungauged Basins (EBA4SUB) model and the Flood-2 Dimensional (FLO-2D) hydraulic model has here been investigated as an alternative procedure. For the analysis, two mountainous rivers in Poland were selected: Kamienica Nawojowska is characterized by a narrow valley, while Skawinka has a broad valley. It was found that the flood zones can enormously differ locally, with larger zones generated by the Mike11/NWMA model in some cases and by the EBA4SUB/FLO-2D model in other situations. The benefits of using the two-dimensional (2D) model are consistent in areas without drainage and where the connection to the main channel is insufficient. The use of 1D modeling is preferred for the possibility of mapping the entire river network in a short computational time. Full article
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17 pages, 2746 KiB  
Article
Stream Flow Changes and the Sustainability of Cruise Tourism on the Lijiang River, China
by Yuefeng Yao and Azim Mallik
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7711; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187711 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1994
Abstract
Water resources play a critical role in the sustainable development of river-based tourism. Reduced stream flow on the Lijiang River, south China, may negatively impact the development of cruise tourism. We explored the effects of stream flow changes on cruise tourism by determining [...] Read more.
Water resources play a critical role in the sustainable development of river-based tourism. Reduced stream flow on the Lijiang River, south China, may negatively impact the development of cruise tourism. We explored the effects of stream flow changes on cruise tourism by determining (1) cruise tourism development indicators, (2) stream flow regime characteristics and their impacts on cruise tourism development indicators, and (3) climate variability and socio-economic factors effecting stream flow. Cruise tourism on the river has experienced rapid growth in recent decades. Stream flow regimes displayed no significant changes between 1960 and 2016, although dry season stream flow was significantly lower than in other seasons. We found that stream flow changes did not have a significant impact on the development of cruise tourism. As precipitation has not changed significantly, policies, including regulated stream flow from hydroelectric reservoirs, are assumed to mitigate reduced stream flow. However, increased irrigation and economic development, combined with future climate change, may increase challenges to cruise tourism. Future reservoir operations should prepare for climate change-related increases in temperature and insignificant changes in precipitation, and adopt adaptive measures, such as rationing water use in various sectors, to mitigate water shortages for supporting sustainable tourism development. Full article
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17 pages, 3508 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Problems Related to the Calculation of Flood Frequency Using Rainfall-Runoff Models: A Case Study in Poland
by Dariusz Młyński
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7187; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177187 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2043
Abstract
This work aimed to quantify how the different parameters of the Snyder model influence the errors in design flows. The study was conducted for the Kamienica Nowojowska catchment (Poland). The analysis was carried out according to the following stages: determination of design precipitation, [...] Read more.
This work aimed to quantify how the different parameters of the Snyder model influence the errors in design flows. The study was conducted for the Kamienica Nowojowska catchment (Poland). The analysis was carried out according to the following stages: determination of design precipitation, determination of design hyetograph, sensitivity analysis of the Snyder model, and quality assessment of the Snyder model. Based on the conducted research, it was found that the Snyder model did not show high sensitivity to the assumed precipitation distribution. The parameters depending on the retention capacity of the catchment had much greater impact on the obtained flow values. The verification of the model quality showed a significant disproportion in the calculated maximum flow values with the assumed return period. Full article
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Review

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16 pages, 3043 KiB  
Review
The Thames: Arresting Ecosystem Decline and Building Back Better
by Martin Richardson and Mikhail Soloviev
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6045; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116045 - 27 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4804
Abstract
The Thames is an iconic river of cultural and historical importance. A cyclical process of deterioration during the last two centuries, followed by technology-driven restorations, including two major sanitation projects with a third currently underway, has produced detrimental effects on the Thames ecosystem. [...] Read more.
The Thames is an iconic river of cultural and historical importance. A cyclical process of deterioration during the last two centuries, followed by technology-driven restorations, including two major sanitation projects with a third currently underway, has produced detrimental effects on the Thames ecosystem. This paper overviews the river ecology, pollution and other anthropogenic pressures, which lead to biodiversity loss and the proliferation of non-native, pollution-tolerant species. This article further reviews past and current management, sampling and assessments trends and provides an objective overview of remediation, restoration and monitoring needs, practices and research gaps. Here, we argue that restoration work, if maladapted, can be ineffective in improving resilience or have unexpected side effects that make matters worse rather than better. We explain the need for a broader view of river restoration and management including consideration of species transplants in achieving overall sustainability against a backdrop of accelerating change in the Anthropocene. Full article
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31 pages, 13585 KiB  
Review
Sustainable Use of Geosynthetics in Dykes
by Pietro Rimoldi, Jonathan Shamrock, Jacek Kawalec and Nathalie Touze
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4445; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084445 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5952
Abstract
Dykes, or levees, are structures designed and constructed to keep the water in a river within certain bounds in the event of a flood. In relation with climate change, more frequent floods, of higher intensity, can be expected due to anthropogenic emissions of [...] Read more.
Dykes, or levees, are structures designed and constructed to keep the water in a river within certain bounds in the event of a flood. In relation with climate change, more frequent floods, of higher intensity, can be expected due to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The objective of this review paper is to address the many ways in which geosynthetics contribute to sustainable construction of dykes and thus to water systems management. This review paper, prepared by the four Technical Committees and the Sustainability Committee of the International Geosynthetics Society, briefly describes geosynthetics and their function, dykes and dyke failure modes, before presenting the main focus of the use of geosynthetics for the design and construction of durable dykes to ensure the protection of life and infrastructure. The optimization of dyke construction with geosynthetics to increase their resilience not only results in performance advantages, but also in economic advantages. The way geosynthetics can contribute to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions for a sustainable river management is discussed. This is done not only by allowing more economic construction methods to be implemented, but also solutions with increased resilience to face the extreme stresses related to climate change, while at the same time bringing about a positive contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions during the construction process itself. Finally, it is shown that by following state of the art standards and design practice any possible risk associated with the use of geosynthetics in dykes can be mitigated. Full article
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