Special Issue "Watershed Modelling and Management for Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Georgia Destouni
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Guest Editor
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: hydrology; water resources; environmental change; climate change; Arctic change
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Dr. Zahra Kalantari
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Guest Editor
Department of Physical Geography and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: sustainable urban and rural development; climate change; water-related disasters and conflicts; adaptive land-use planning; nature-based solutions; and ecosystem services
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Dr. Fernando Jaramillo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: freshwater consumption; hydroclimatic change; water footprinting; wetland flow and connectivity; freshwater system; Budyko framework
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Dr. Jerker Jarsjö
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: hydrology; water resources; substance transport; land use change; climate change
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Dr. Josefin Thorslund Eriksson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: hydrology; water quality; water scarcity; wetlands; nature-based solutions; global change
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The journal Sustainability is hosting a Special Issue on “Watershed Modelling and Management for Sustainability”. This Special Issue aims at providing new insights and a coherent overview of modeling approaches and scientific advancements that can support sustainable resource management in watersheds (drainage basins) of various scales. Of particular interest are contributions on the following themes (though other relevant topics will also be considered) with regard to modelling and management approaches, assessments, and cases studies with local/regional/global, national/international, and/or single/multiple watershed/basin perspectives:

  • Water availability, quality, security, safety, extreme event, and/or other water-related sustainability risks and challenges;
  • Linked land- and water-use changes, drivers, impacts, feedbacks, and their sustainability implications;
  • Nexus of water, food, energy, and climate changes and development challenges towards sustainability;
  • Synergies and/or conflicts of water-related sustainable development goals;
  • Water-related links, interactions, and sustainability implications of coupled social-ecological systems dynamics;
  • Systems dynamics modelling and water-related management-solution pathways towards sustainability.

This Special Issue will benefit natural and social water and sustainability scientists, engineers, managers, and other stakeholders with watershed/drainage basin perspectives.

Prof. Georgia Destouni
Dr. Zahra Kalantari
Dr. Fernando Jaramillo
Dr. Jerker Jarsjö
Dr. Josefin Thorslund Eriksson
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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 1900 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

  • Sustainable development
  • Drainage basin
  • Watershed
  • Water resources management
  • Modelling
  • Hydroclimatic changes
  • Land use changes
  • Climate–land–energy–water nexus
  • Social-ecological systems

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Future Climate Change Renders Unsuitable Conditions for Paramo Ecosystems in Colombia
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8373; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208373 - 12 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 756
Abstract
Paramo ecosystems are tropical alpine grasslands, located above 3000 m.a.s.l. in the Andean mountain range. Their unique vegetation and soil characteristics, in combination with low temperature and abundant precipitation, create the most advantageous conditions for regulating and storing surface and groundwater. However, increasing [...] Read more.
Paramo ecosystems are tropical alpine grasslands, located above 3000 m.a.s.l. in the Andean mountain range. Their unique vegetation and soil characteristics, in combination with low temperature and abundant precipitation, create the most advantageous conditions for regulating and storing surface and groundwater. However, increasing temperatures and changing patterns of precipitation due to greenhouse-gas-emission climate change are threatening these fragile environments. In this study, we used regional observations and downscaled data for precipitation and minimum and maximum temperature during the reference period 1960–1990 and simulations for the future period 2041–2060 to study the present and future extents of paramo ecosystems in the Chingaza National Park (CNP), nearby Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá. The historical data were used for establishing upper and lower precipitation and temperature boundaries to determine the locations where paramo ecosystems currently thrive. Our results found that increasing mean monthly temperatures and changing precipitation will render 39 to 52% of the current paramo extent in CNP unsuitable for these ecosystems during the dry season, and 13 to 34% during the wet season. The greatest loss of paramo area will occur during the dry season and for the representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenario 8.5, when both temperature and precipitation boundaries are more prone to be exceeded. Although our initial estimates show the future impact on paramos and the water security of Bogotá due to climate change, complex internal and external interactions in paramo ecosystems make it essential to study other influencing climatic parameters (e.g., soil, topography, wind, etc.) apart from temperature and precipitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Watershed Modelling and Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Hydroclimatic Effects of a Hydropower Reservoir in a Tropical Hydrological Basin
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6795; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176795 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 791
Abstract
The consequent change in land cover from vegetation to water surface after inundation is the most obvious impact attributed to the impoundment of reservoirs and dam construction. However, river regulation also alters the magnitude and variability of water and energy fluxes and local [...] Read more.
The consequent change in land cover from vegetation to water surface after inundation is the most obvious impact attributed to the impoundment of reservoirs and dam construction. However, river regulation also alters the magnitude and variability of water and energy fluxes and local climatic parameters. Studies in Mediterranean, temperate and boreal hydrological basins, and even a global-scale study, have found a simultaneous decrease in the variation of runoff and increase in the mean evaporative ratio after impoundment. The aim here is to study the existence of these effects on a regulated tropical basin in Colombia with long-term data, as such studies in tropical regions are scarce. As expected, we observed a decrease in the long-term coefficient of variation of runoff of 33% that can be attributed to the impoundment of the reservoir. However, we did not find important changes in precipitation or the expected increasing evaporative ratio-effect from the impoundment of the reservoir, founding for the latter rather a decrease. This may be due to the humid conditions of the region where actual evapotranspiration is already close to its potential or to other land cover changes that decrease evapotranspiration during the studied period. Our study shows that the effects from impounded reservoirs in tropical regulated basins may differ from those found in other climatic regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Watershed Modelling and Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Exploring the Optimal Cost-Benefit Solution for a Low Impact Development Layout by Zoning, as Well as Considering the Inundation Duration and Inundation Depth
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4990; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124990 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 594
Abstract
Urban flooding now occurs frequently and low impact development (LID) has been widely implemented as an effective resilience strategy to improve storm water management. This study constructed the inundation curve to dynamically simulate the disaster, and established an inundation severity indicator (ISI) and [...] Read more.
Urban flooding now occurs frequently and low impact development (LID) has been widely implemented as an effective resilience strategy to improve storm water management. This study constructed the inundation curve to dynamically simulate the disaster, and established an inundation severity indicator (ISI) and cost-effectiveness indicator (CEI) to quantify the severity and cost effectiveness at each site. The study set 10 different density scenarios using a zonal approach. The results showed that LID could reduce the overall ISI value, but as the construction increased, the CEI exhibited a downward trend, showing that there is a marginal utility problem in LID. However, the performance of CEI differed slightly in areas of different severity. In the vulnerable resilience zone, the CEI increased initially and then decreased, and the optimal cost–benefit combination was 60% permeable pavement +20% green roof +50% vegetative swale. The mutual effects of LID measures in different zones led to synergistic or antagonistic effects on LID. This study explored the tradeoff between the resilience enhancement effect and strategy transformation cost, and determined the optimal combination of the LID strategy, thereby providing a new analytical perspective for the sustainable development of sponge cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Watershed Modelling and Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Disproportionate Water Quality Impacts from the Century-Old Nautanen Copper Mines, Northern Sweden
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1394; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041394 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
Pollution from small historical mining sites is usually overlooked, in contrast to larger ones. Especially in the Arctic, knowledge gaps remain regarding the long-term mine waste impacts, such as metal leakage, on water quality. We study the small copper (Cu) mines of Nautanen, [...] Read more.
Pollution from small historical mining sites is usually overlooked, in contrast to larger ones. Especially in the Arctic, knowledge gaps remain regarding the long-term mine waste impacts, such as metal leakage, on water quality. We study the small copper (Cu) mines of Nautanen, northern Sweden, which had been in operation for only six years when abandoned approximately 110 years ago in 1908. Measurements from field campaigns in 2017 are compared to synthesized historical measurement data from 1993 to 2014, and our results show that concentrations of Cu, Zn, and Cd on-site as well as downstream from the mining site are order(s) of magnitude higher than the local background values. This is despite the small scale of the Nautanen mining site, the short duration of operation, and the long time since closure. Considering the small amount of waste produced at Nautanen, the metal loads from Nautanen are still surprisingly high compared to the metal loads from larger mines. We argue that disproportionately large amounts of metals may be added to surface water systems from the numerous small abandoned mining sites. Such pollution loads need to be accounted for in sustainable assessments of total pollutant pressures in the relatively vulnerable Arctic environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Watershed Modelling and Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Watershed-Based Evaluation of Automatic Sensor Data: Water Quality and Hydroclimatic Relationships
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010396 - 03 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1673
Abstract
Water is a fundamental resource and, as such, the object of multiple environmental policies requiring systematic monitoring of its quality as a main management component. Automatic sensors, allowing for continuous monitoring of various water quality variables at high temporal resolution, offer new opportunities [...] Read more.
Water is a fundamental resource and, as such, the object of multiple environmental policies requiring systematic monitoring of its quality as a main management component. Automatic sensors, allowing for continuous monitoring of various water quality variables at high temporal resolution, offer new opportunities for enhancement of essential water quality data. This study investigates the potential of sensor-measured data to improve understanding and management of water quality at watershed level. Self-organizing data maps, non-linear canonical correlation analysis, and linear regressions are used to assess the relationships between multiple water quality and hydroclimatic variables for the case study of Lake Mälaren in Sweden, and its total catchment and various watersheds. The results indicate water discharge from dominant watersheds into a lake, and lake water temperature as possible proxies for some key water quality variables in the lake, such as blue-green algae; the latter is, in turn, identified as a potential good proxy for lake concentration of total nitrogen. The relationships between water discharges into the lake and lake water quality dynamics identify the dominant contributing watersheds for different water quality variables. Seasonality also plays an important role in determining some possible proxy relationships and their usefulness for different parts of the year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Watershed Modelling and Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Agent-Based Modelling of a Coupled Water Demand and Supply System at the Catchment Scale
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6178; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216178 - 05 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1158
Abstract
Water is of uttermost importance for human well-being and a central resource in sustainable development. Many simulation models for sustainable water management, however, lack explanatory and predictive power because the two-way dynamic feedbacks between human and water systems are neglected. With Agent-based Modelling [...] Read more.
Water is of uttermost importance for human well-being and a central resource in sustainable development. Many simulation models for sustainable water management, however, lack explanatory and predictive power because the two-way dynamic feedbacks between human and water systems are neglected. With Agent-based Modelling of Resources (Aqua.MORE; here, of the resource water), we present a platform that can support understanding, interpretation and scenario development of resource flows in coupled human–water systems at the catchment scale. Aqua.MORE simulates the water resources in a demand and supply system, whereby water fluxes and socioeconomic actors are represented by individual agents that mutually interact and cause complex feedback loops. First, we describe the key steps for developing an agent-based model (ABM) of water demand and supply, using the platform Aqua.MORE. Second, we illustrate the modelling process by application in an idealized Alpine valley, characterized by touristic and agricultural water demand sectors. Here, the implementation and analysis of scenarios highlights the possibilities of Aqua.MORE (1) to easily deploy case study-specific agents and characterize them, (2) to evaluate feedbacks between water demand and supply and (3) to compare the effects of different agent behavior or water use strategies. Thereby, we corroborate the potential of Aqua.MORE as a decision-support tool for sustainable watershed management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Watershed Modelling and Management for Sustainability)
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Article
GIS-Based Site Selection for Check Dams in Watersheds: Considering Geomorphometric and Topo-Hydrological Factors
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5639; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205639 - 13 Oct 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1178
Abstract
Check dams are widely used watershed management measures for reducing flood peak discharge and sediment transport, and increasing lag time and groundwater recharge throughout the world. However, identifying the best suitable sites for check dams within the stream networks of various watersheds remains [...] Read more.
Check dams are widely used watershed management measures for reducing flood peak discharge and sediment transport, and increasing lag time and groundwater recharge throughout the world. However, identifying the best suitable sites for check dams within the stream networks of various watersheds remains challenging. This study aimed to develop an open-source software with user-friendly interface for screening the stream network possibilities and identifying and guiding the selection of suitable sites for check dams within watersheds. In this developed site selection software (SSS), multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) was integrated into geographic information systems (GIS), which allowed for numerous spatial data of the multiple criteria to be relatively simply and visually processed. Different geomorphometric and topo-hydrological factors were considered and accounted for to enhance the SSS identification of the best locations for check dams. The factors included topographic wetness index (TWI), terrain ruggedness index (TRI), topographic position index (TPI), sediment transport index (STI), stream power index (SPI), slope, drainage density (DD), and stream order (SO). The site identification performance of the SSS was assessed using the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve method, with results for the case study example of the Poldokhtar watershed in Iran showing excellent performance and identifying 327 potential sites for efficient check dam construction in this watershed. The SSS tool is not site-specific but is rather general, adaptive, and comprehensive, such that it can and should be further applied and tested across different watersheds and parts of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Watershed Modelling and Management for Sustainability)
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