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Special Issue "Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Resources and Sustainable Utilization".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 September 2023 | Viewed by 14572

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mariusz Sojka
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Land Improvement, Environmental Development and Spatial Management, Faculty of Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Piątkowska 94, 60-649 Poznań, Poland
Interests: GIS; remote sensing; climate change; multivariate statistical analysis; lake and river water temperature changes; agricultural water management; water chemistry; bottom sediment geochemistry
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Dariusz Młyński
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sanitary Engineering and Water Management, Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Geodesy, the University of Agriculture in Krakow, 30-059 Krakow, Poland
Interests: hydrology; hydrometeorology; water management; hydrological modelling; floods; climate change; ecohydrology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water is the most important environmental resource for life, ecosystem services, and social and economic development. In recent years, in many regions of the world, access to water has been increasingly restricted. The main factor affecting water resources is human activity, which leads to a change in the natural water cycle through land use and land cover modification and construction of dams and weirs. Overconsumption and pollution of surface and groundwater resources contribute to a reduction of available water resources. In addition, periodic droughts, floods, and the projected impact of climate change on water resources make access to water increasingly limited and uncertain. At present, new methods for water management are searched for, and the currently used methods are optimized in all economic sectors in order to make efficient use of available water resources. It is preferred to close water cycles or to recycle water using highly efficient waste treatment technologies. Sustainable water management, which is crucial for the protection of water resources and reasonable use of water, should take into account the requirements of ecosystems. Therefore, strategies of water resource management and planning aspects are very important to solve the water problem around the world. This Special Issue would explore cross-disciplinary approaches, methodologies, and applications helping sustainable water resource management. This Special Issue invites researchers in environment protection, environmental engineering, civil engineering, spatial planning, geography, and other disciplines and cross-disciplinary fields. The coverage extends to these closely related topics:

  • Sustainable water management strategies, solutions, and techniques in urban, industry, agriculture, and forestry;
  • Climate change impact and mitigation–adaptation strategies in water management;
  • Sociohydrology as a tool for helping sustainable water management;
  • Challenges of spatial management and planning in the context of sustainable water management;
  • Quantity and quality of water resources;
  • Role of environmental flow and ecohydrology for sustainable water management;
  • Mitigation of the effects of drought and flood;
  • Application of remote sensing and geographical information systems in water management;
  • Environmental, economic, and social aspects of water demand and use;
  • Modern technologies in water management;
  • River training close to nature;
  • Administration and maintenance of water resource systems;
  • Modeling of water resource and management systems.

Prof. Mariusz Sojka
Dr. Dariusz Młyński
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 2000 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

  • Water resources
  • Water quality
  • Water demand
  • Sustainable water management
  • Climate change
  • Drought and flood
  • Environmental flows
  • Water policy
  • Water technologies and techniques

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Article
Toward an Integrated and Sustainable Water Resources Management in Structurally-Controlled Watersheds in Desert Environments Using Geophysical and Remote Sensing Methods
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 4004; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13074004 - 03 Apr 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1227
Abstract
Sustainable water resources management in desert environment has yet to be reached due to the limited hydrological datasets under such extreme arid conditions. In the Eastern Sahara, the tectonic activity associated with the opening of the Red Sea adds more complexity to developing [...] Read more.
Sustainable water resources management in desert environment has yet to be reached due to the limited hydrological datasets under such extreme arid conditions. In the Eastern Sahara, the tectonic activity associated with the opening of the Red Sea adds more complexity to developing sustainable water management by creating multiple aquifers within subsided half-grabens along the Red Sea extension. To overcome these difficulties, a two-fold approach is adopted including integrated remote sensing and geoelectrical methods using Wadi Al-Ambagi watershed in the Eastern Desert of Egypt as a test site. First, the total discharge is estimated as 15.7 × 106 m3 following the application of a uniform storm of 10 mm effective precipitation, which exceeds the storage capacity of existing mitigation measures (5.5 × 106 m3), and thus additional dams are required. Second, the subsurface geometry of alluvium and sedimentary aquifers, within subsided blocks in the Arabian–Nubian shield (ANS), is delineated using 1D direct current and 2D electrical-resistivity tomography (ERT). Findings indicate that significant thicknesses of more than 80 m of permeable sedimentary units occur within the subsided blocks. Therefore, the scarce water resources can be managed by controlling the flash floods and suggesting proper dam sites at the location of thick alluvium and sedimentary rocks, where aquifers can be recharged representing a sustainable source for freshwater. The proposed approach is transferable and can be applied in similar arid rift-related watersheds in Saudi Arabia and worldwide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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Article
Determination of Changes in the Quality of Surface Water in the River—Reservoir System
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3457; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063457 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1134
Abstract
Assessing the changing parameters of water quality at different points in the river–reservoir system can help prevent river pollution and implement remedial policies. It is also crucial in modeling water resources. Multivariate statistical analysis is useful for the analysis of changes in surface [...] Read more.
Assessing the changing parameters of water quality at different points in the river–reservoir system can help prevent river pollution and implement remedial policies. It is also crucial in modeling water resources. Multivariate statistical analysis is useful for the analysis of changes in surface water quality. It helps to identify indicators that may be responsible for the eutrophication process of a reservoir. Additionally, the analysis of the water quality profile and the water quality index (WQI) is useful in assessing water pollution. These tools can support and verify the results of a multivariate statistical analysis. In this study, changes in water quality parameters of the Turawa reservoir (TR), and the Mała Panew river at the point below the Turawa reservoir (bTR) and above the Turawa reservoir (aTR), were analyzed. The analyzed period was from 2019 to 2020 (360 samples were analyzed). It was found that TN, NO2-N, and NO3-N decreased after passing through the Turawa reservoir. Nevertheless, principal component analysis (PCA) and redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that NO2-N and NO3-N contribute to the observed variability of the water quality in the river-reservoir system. PCA showed that pH and PO4-P had a lower impact on the water quality in the reservoir than nitrogen compounds. Additionally, RDA proved that the values of the NO3-N and NO2-N indicators obtained the highest values at the aTR point, PO4-P at the bTR, and pH at the TR. This allows the conclusion that the Turawa reservoir reduced the concentration of NO2-N and NO3-N in comparison with the concentration of these compounds flowing into the reservoir. PCA and RDA showed that both parameters (NO2-N and NO3-N) may be responsible for the eutrophication process of the Turawa reservoir. The analysis of short-term changes in water quality data may reveal additional sources of water pollution. High temperatures and alkaline reaction may cause the release of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds from sediments, which indicates an increased concentration of TP, PO4-P, and Norg in the waters at the TR point, and TP, PO4-P, and NH4-N concentrations at the bTR point. The water quality profile combined with PCA and RDA allows more effective monitoring for the needs of water management in the reservoir catchment area. The analyzed WQI for water below the reservoir (bTR) was lower than that of the reservoir water (TR), which indicates an improvement in water after passing through the reservoir. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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Article
Numerical Analysis of the Effect of Ground Dampness on Heat Transfer between Greenhouse and Ground
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3084; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063084 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 673
Abstract
This paper deals with the problem of the influence of ground dampness on heat exchange between greenhouse and ground. The effect of humidity on the distribution of ground temperature fields was analyzed. The analysis was performed based on the analytical numerical method in [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the problem of the influence of ground dampness on heat exchange between greenhouse and ground. The effect of humidity on the distribution of ground temperature fields was analyzed. The analysis was performed based on the analytical numerical method in the WUFI®plus software. The computational tool was used after a validation process. Research and simulations were conducted on the example of a real single-span greenhouse located in Southern Poland. The results of indoor and outdoor air temperature measurements were used to determine the boundary conditions, while the measured ground temperatures were used to compare with the results of theoretical calculations. Three variants were used for calculation analysis, assuming different levels of ground dampness. Analysis of the test results showed that during the summer period, dry ground provides 8% more thermal energy to the interior of the greenhouse than the damp ground, and provides 30% more thermal energy than wet ground. In the transition period (autumn/spring), the ground temperature fields are arranged parallel to the floor level, while the heat flux is directed from the ground to the interior of the greenhouse, regardless of the ground dampness level. During this period, the ground temperature ranges from 4.0 °C to 13.0 °C. Beneficial effect of dry ground, which contributes to maintaining an almost constant temperature under the greenhouse floor, was found in winter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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Article
AHP as a Useful Tool in the Assessment of the Technical Condition of Hydrotechnical Constructions
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1304; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031304 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 859
Abstract
The key challenge for sustainable water management is to carry out a proper assessment of the technical condition of hydrotechnical constructions. Maintaining them in a good state is a prerequisite for ensuring the safety of objects, as well as adjacent areas. This paper [...] Read more.
The key challenge for sustainable water management is to carry out a proper assessment of the technical condition of hydrotechnical constructions. Maintaining them in a good state is a prerequisite for ensuring the safety of objects, as well as adjacent areas. This paper compares the results of field research obtained by three methods to assess the technical condition of structures located on the Wełna River. The main objective is to determine the differences between the methods and to indicate the most important assessment elements and criteria. Moreover, it was checked if the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) can be used to carry out the correct assessment of hydrotechnical construction. An assessment that will be based on the hierarchy of factors, which is not often used in other methods. The AHP was applied for the first time to assess the technical condition of hydrotechnical constructions. Based on AHP, three variants of different weights for factors, including exploitation problems and damage to construction elements, were selected. The new variants developed by the authors allow for a more accurate, multifactor assessment. The use of scales to determine the importance of individual elements contributes to the actual representation of the technical condition of the object, which is often over- or underestimated by other assessment methods. The analysis shows that the AHP method is a useful tool to support the assessment of the technical condition of hydrotechnical construction. The use of AHP as a universal assessment method will compare the technical condition of hydrotechnical constructions located all over the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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Article
Superiority of Hybrid Soft Computing Models in Daily Suspended Sediment Estimation in Highly Dynamic Rivers
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 542; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020542 - 08 Jan 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 1080
Abstract
Estimating sediment flow rate from a drainage area plays an essential role in better watershed planning and management. In this study, the validity of simple and wavelet-coupled Artificial Intelligence (AI) models was analyzed for daily Suspended Sediment (SSC) estimation of highly dynamic Koyna [...] Read more.
Estimating sediment flow rate from a drainage area plays an essential role in better watershed planning and management. In this study, the validity of simple and wavelet-coupled Artificial Intelligence (AI) models was analyzed for daily Suspended Sediment (SSC) estimation of highly dynamic Koyna River basin of India. Simple AI models such as the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Adaptive Neuro-Fuzzy Inference System (ANFIS) were developed by supplying the original time series data as an input without pre-processing through a Wavelet (W) transform. The hybrid wavelet-coupled W-ANN and W-ANFIS models were developed by supplying the decomposed time series sub-signals using Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT). In total, three mother wavelets, namely Haar, Daubechies, and Coiflets were employed to decompose original time series data into different multi-frequency sub-signals at an appropriate decomposition level. Quantitative and qualitative performance evaluation criteria were used to select the best model for daily SSC estimation. The reliability of the developed models was also assessed using uncertainty analysis. Finally, it was revealed that the data pre-processing using wavelet transform improves the model’s predictive efficiency and reliability significantly. In this study, it was observed that the performance of the Coiflet wavelet-coupled ANFIS model is superior to other models and can be applied for daily SSC estimation of the highly dynamic rivers. As per sensitivity analysis, previous one-day SSC (St-1) is the most crucial input variable for daily SSC estimation of the Koyna River basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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Article
Conceptual Model of Drainage-Sub Irrigation System Functioning-First Results from a Case Study of a Lowland Valley Area in Central Poland
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010107 - 24 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 773
Abstract
The search for simple models of drainage–irrigation systems functioning and management has still been an important research objective. Therefore, we presented a conceptual model based on groundwater dynamics equation along with proper assumptions on water equivalent of transient porosity-i.e., storage in the soil [...] Read more.
The search for simple models of drainage–irrigation systems functioning and management has still been an important research objective. Therefore, we presented a conceptual model based on groundwater dynamics equation along with proper assumptions on water equivalent of transient porosity-i.e., storage in the soil profile based on the long-term experience of the research on drainage-sub-irrigation systems. Several parameters have been incorporated in the model to effectively and comprehensively describe drainage/irrigation time, leakage from the soil profile, the soil moisture content in the root zone, and the shape of the groundwater table on the drainage–sub-irrigation plot. The model was successfully validated on groundwater level data in ditch midspacing on an experimental site located within a valley sub-irrigation system with the advantage of a relatively simple representation of flows through the soil profile. The robust character of the conceptual equation of groundwater dynamics, as well as the approach to its’ parameters, were proved through a close match between the model and observations. This promotes the capacities of the proposed modeling procedure to conceptualize drainage-irrigation development with the impact of external and internal sources of water. The potential was offered for the evaluation of water management practices in a valley system influenced by horizontal inflows from surrounding areas as indicated by calibration results. Future challenges were revealed in terms of water exchange between the plots and validation of soil moisture content modeling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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Article
Identification of the Relationship between Rainfall and the CN Parameter in Western Carpathian Mountain Catchments in Poland
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9317; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229317 - 10 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 645
Abstract
The aim of this study was to identify the form of the dependence describing the relationship between rainfall (P) and the curve number (CN) parameter using the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS-CN) method in the mountain catchments [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to identify the form of the dependence describing the relationship between rainfall (P) and the curve number (CN) parameter using the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS-CN) method in the mountain catchments of the Western Carpathians. The study was carried out in 28 catchments areas in the Western Carpathians in the Upper Vistula Basin, Poland. The study was conducted in the following stages: determination of the volume of the direct runoff using the NRCS-CN method, determination of the PCN relationship using asymptotic functions, kinetic equation and complementary error function; determination of the volume of the direct runoff from the catchment area, accounting for the correction of the decline; determination of the value of the efficiency coefficient of the analysed models. On the basis of the conducted study, a strong relationship was found between the direct runoff and the rainfall that caused it. The study showed that the empirical values of the CN parameter differed from the values determined on the basis of the volume of rainfall and runoff. The vast majority of study catchments were characterised by a standard PCN relationship. The kinetic model was found to be the best model to describe the PCN relationship. The asymptotic model showed the greatest stability for high rainfall episodes. It was shown that the application of the catchment slope correction improved the quality of the NRCS-CN model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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Article
Efficiency of Polder Modernization for Flood Protection. Case Study of Golina Polder (Poland)
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8056; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198056 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 920
Abstract
This paper presents an analysis of the effectiveness of variants of the reconstruction of a polder, which is part of the flood protection system of a large urban agglomeration. The Golina polder, located in the floodplain of the Warta River, was selected as [...] Read more.
This paper presents an analysis of the effectiveness of variants of the reconstruction of a polder, which is part of the flood protection system of a large urban agglomeration. The Golina polder, located in the floodplain of the Warta River, was selected as the case study. The multi-criteria decision support methods AHP and Fuzzy AHP were used to assess the effectiveness of individual variants. Information on the floods from 1997 and 2010, data on land cover, land development, nature and historical objects were used to estimate the value of the coefficients for the multi-criteria decision methods. It was shown that the planned deep modernization of the hydrotechnical infrastructure and the purchase of land in the polder area is less effective than maintaining the current state of development of the polder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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Article
Ameliorating the Drought Stress for Wheat Growth through Application of ACC-Deaminase Containing Rhizobacteria along with Biogas Slurry
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6022; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156022 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 1244
Abstract
The temperature increase around the world is leading to generation of drought, which is a big threat to the productivity of crops. Abiotic stresses like drought increase the ethylene level in plants. In higher plants, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) is considered as the immediate precursor [...] Read more.
The temperature increase around the world is leading to generation of drought, which is a big threat to the productivity of crops. Abiotic stresses like drought increase the ethylene level in plants. In higher plants, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) is considered as the immediate precursor of ethylene biosynthesis. The application of ACC-deaminase (ACCD) possessing rhizobacteria could ameliorate the harmful results of drought stress by transforming ACC into non-harmful products. Biogas slurry (BGS) improves the water-holding capacity and structure of the soil. Thus, we speculated that the integrated application of ACCD possessing rhizobacteria and BGS might be an efficient approach to mitigate the drought stress for better wheat productivity. A field experiment was conducted under skipped irrigation situations. On the tillering stage (SIT) and flowering stage (SIF), the irrigations were skipped, whereas the recommended four irrigations were maintained in the control treatment. The results of this field experiment exposed that the ACCD possessing rhizobacterial inoculations with BGS considerably improved the stomatal and sub-stomatal conductance, transpiration and photosynthetic rates up to 98%, 46%, 38%, and 73%, respectively, compared to the respective uninoculated controls. The Pseudomonas moraviensis with BGS application improved the grain yield and plant height up to 30.3% and 24.3%, respectively, where irrigation was skipped at the tillering stage, as compared to the uninoculated controls. The data obtained revealed that the P. moraviensis inoculation + BGS treatment significantly increased the relative water content (RWC), catalase (CAT) activity, ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activity, as well as grain and shoot phosphorus contents, up to 37%, 40%, 75%, 19%, and 84%, respectively, at SIF situation. The results depicted that the P. moraviensis with BGS application under drought stress could be applied for enhancing the physiological, yield, and growth attributes of wheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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Article
Improvement of Credal Decision Trees Using Ensemble Frameworks for Groundwater Potential Modeling
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2622; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072622 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 1688
Abstract
Groundwater is one of the most important sources of fresh water all over the world, especially in those countries where rainfall is erratic, such as Vietnam. Nowadays, machine learning (ML) models are being used for the assessment of groundwater potential of the region. [...] Read more.
Groundwater is one of the most important sources of fresh water all over the world, especially in those countries where rainfall is erratic, such as Vietnam. Nowadays, machine learning (ML) models are being used for the assessment of groundwater potential of the region. Credal decision trees (CDT) is one of the ML models which has been used in such studies. In the present study, the performance of the CDT has been improved using various ensemble frameworks such as Bagging, Dagging, Decorate, Multiboost, and Random SubSpace. Based on these methods, five hybrid models, namely BCDT, Dagging-CDT, Decorate-CDT, MBCDT, and RSSCDT, were developed and applied for groundwater potential mapping of DakLak province of Vietnam. Data of 227 groundwater wells of the study area were utilized for the construction and validation of the models. Twelve groundwater potential conditioning factors, namely rainfall, slope, elevation, river density, Sediment Transport Index (STI), curvature, flow direction, aspect, soil, land use, Topographic Wetness Index (TWI), and geology, were considered for the model studies. Various statistical measures, including area under receiver operating characteristic (AUC) curve, were applied to validate and compare the performance of the models. The results show that performance of the hybrid CDT ensemble models MBCDT (AUC = 0.770), BCDT (AUC = 0.731), Dagging-CDT (AUC = 0.763), Decorate-CDT (AUC = 0.750), and RSSCDT (AUC = 0.766) improved significantly in comparison to the single CDT (AUC = 0.722) model. Therefore, these developed hybrid models can be applied for better ground water potential mapping and groundwater resources management of the study area as well as other regions of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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Article
Possibilities of Controlling the River Outlets by Weirs on the Example of Noteć Bystra River
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2369; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062369 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 922
Abstract
The possibility of effective control of selected dams in the Noteć Bystra river is analyzed. Such a control is expected to permit inundation of selected arable areas, e.g., peat grasslands, to avoid flooding of the city of Czarnków and the terrains located downstream. [...] Read more.
The possibility of effective control of selected dams in the Noteć Bystra river is analyzed. Such a control is expected to permit inundation of selected arable areas, e.g., peat grasslands, to avoid flooding of the city of Czarnków and the terrains located downstream. The chosen case study is the reach of the Noteć River between the dams Pianowka–Mikolajewo–Rosko. The analysis was made on the basis of simulations of the flow and regulation of dams in flood conditions. The flow peaks of hypothetical flood waves were designed according to the directions of the ISOK project (Informatyczny System Osłony Kraju przed nadzwyczajnymi zagrożeniami—IT System of the Country’s Protection Against Extreme Hazards) as the maximum flows over 10-years (p = 10%), 100-years (p = 1%), and 500-years (p = 0.2%). The obtained results are presented as longitudinal profiles of the water surface, maps of inundated areas and maps of inundated soils. The main conclusion is that the robust control of dams reduces the peak of flow during flood wave propagation and forces inundation of the a priori selected areas. It helps to decrease the spatial range of the flood hazard and significantly reduces risk related to floods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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Review

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Review
A Systemic View on Circular Economy in the Water Industry: Learnings from a Belgian and Dutch Case
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3313; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063313 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1821
Abstract
Water is fundamental to our existence and has increasingly been put under pressure by soaring population growth, urbanization, agricultural farming and climate change; all, of which impact the quantity and quality of our water resources. Water utilities (WUs) are challenged to provide clean, [...] Read more.
Water is fundamental to our existence and has increasingly been put under pressure by soaring population growth, urbanization, agricultural farming and climate change; all, of which impact the quantity and quality of our water resources. Water utilities (WUs) are challenged to provide clean, safe drinking water when faced with aging, costly infrastructure, a price of water that is not reflective of its true value and the need for infrastructure to remain resilient in a time when threats of floods and droughts are pervasive. In the linear take-use-discharge approach, wastewater is treated only to be returned to waterways and extracted again for treatment before drinking. This can no longer sustain our water resources as it is costly, energy-intensive and environmentally unsound. Circular economy (CE) has been gaining attention in the water industry to tackle this. It follows the 6Rs strategy of reduce, reuse, recycle, reclaim, recover and restore to keep water in circulation for longer and reduce the burden on natural systems. The aim of this study is to determine what the economic and operational system effects of CE are on WUs, informing them of CE’s potential to change their business operations and business model while highlighting its associated challenges. Based on a review of literature, input from expert interviews (Q4 2019) and case studies, an economic view of the urban water system is qualitatively modeled, on top, of which a circular water economy system is designed using a causal loop-diagramming system mapping tool. Digitalization, water reuse and resource recovery were determined to underpin circularity in water, providing operational benefits through efficiencies and diversification of revenue streams. However, issues of investment and a missing enabling legal framework are slowing the rate of uptake. On this basis, CE represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the water industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Challenges in the Sustainable Water Management)
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