Special Issue "Land Use and Water Quality"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2020).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Brian Kronvang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Vejsoevej 25, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
Interests: catchment science and management; water quality in surface waters; river and wetland restoration; functioning of riparian buffers
Ir. Dico Fraters
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Centre for Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Prof. Dr. Frank Wendland
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Forschungszentrum Juelich, Institute of Bio- and Geosciences (IBG), Institute 3: Agrosphere, 52425 Juelich, Germany

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agriculture provides food, fibre, energy, and, last but not least, a living for many people around the world. One potential drawback of agricultural production is pollution of the aquatic environment by nutrients, pesticides, and trace elements. Growth in agricultural production, as has occurred in Europe and North America since the 1950s and more recently in many other parts of the world, threatens the quality of groundwater and surface waters or has already led to deterioration of the quality of these waters. Typical hotspot areas with problems can be found in Denmark, the Netherlands, northern Italy, Germany, France, China, the United States, and New Zealand.

Policies to abate the deterioration of water quality have been developed and programmes to improve water quality have been implemented. For example, the European Union has adopted directives (the Nitrates Directive in 1991; the Water Framework Directive in 2000; and the Groundwater Directive in 2006) that should result in all waters having good quality by 2027. Experiences from the last 15 to 25 years make clear that it will be a great challenge to realise these objectives in the remaining years of this decade. Nevertheless, it is has become clear that realisation of the objectives of these policies has become more difficult, not only because the easy, low cost measures have already been implemented, but also because there is a pressure to increase agricultural production. Is the twin aim of increasing agricultural production and at the same time improving water quality a realistic one? Which measures are most effective for water quality improvement and at the same time the most cost-effective? Should measures be enforced by law or implemented on a voluntary basis? These are some of the issues that should be addressed in this Special Issue from the Land Use and Water Quality (LUWQ) conference series, of which LUWQ2019 was held at Aarhus University from 3 to 6 June 2019.

Prof. Dr. Brian Kronvang
Dr. Dico Dico Fraters
Prof. Dr. Frank Wendland
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Land Use and Water Quality
  • Groundwater Surface Waters
  • Water Quality Management
  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Water Quality Modelling
  • Implementation of Measures for Water Quality
  • Assessment of Policies for Water Quality

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Land Use and Water Quality
Water 2020, 12(9), 2412; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092412 - 28 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 851
Abstract
The interaction between land use and water quality is of great importance worldwide as agriculture has been proven to exert a huge pressure on the quality of groundwater and surface waters due to excess losses of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) through leaching and [...] Read more.
The interaction between land use and water quality is of great importance worldwide as agriculture has been proven to exert a huge pressure on the quality of groundwater and surface waters due to excess losses of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) through leaching and erosion processes. These losses result in, inter alia, high nitrate concentrations in groundwater and eutrophication of rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Combatting especially non-point losses of nutrients has been a hot topic for river basin managers worldwide, and new important mitigation measures to reduce the input of nutrients into groundwater and surface waters at the pollution source have been developed and implemented in many countries. This Special Issue of the Land use and Water Quality conference series (LuWQ) includes a total of 11 papers covering topics such as: (i) nitrogen surplus; (ii) protection of groundwater from pollution; (iii) nutrient sources of pollution and dynamics in catchments and (iv) new technologies for monitoring, mapping and analysing water quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Lag Time as an Indicator of the Link between Agricultural Pressure and Drinking Water Quality State
Water 2020, 12(9), 2385; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092385 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 979
Abstract
Diffuse nitrogen (N) pollution from agriculture in groundwater and surface water is a major challenge in terms of meeting drinking water targets in many parts of Europe. A bottom-up approach involving local stakeholders may be more effective than national- or European-level approaches for [...] Read more.
Diffuse nitrogen (N) pollution from agriculture in groundwater and surface water is a major challenge in terms of meeting drinking water targets in many parts of Europe. A bottom-up approach involving local stakeholders may be more effective than national- or European-level approaches for addressing local drinking water issues. Common understanding of the causal relationship between agricultural pressure and water quality state, e.g., nitrate pollution among the stakeholders, is necessary to define realistic goals of drinking water protection plans and to motivate the stakeholders; however, it is often challenging to obtain. Therefore, to link agricultural pressure and water quality state, we analyzed lag times between soil surface N surplus and groundwater chemistry using a cross correlation analysis method of three case study sites with groundwater-based drinking water abstraction: Tunø and Aalborg-Drastrup in Denmark and La Voulzie in France. At these sites, various mitigation measures have been implemented since the 1980s at local to national scales, resulting in a decrease of soil surface N surplus, with long-term monitoring data also being available to reveal the water quality responses. The lag times continuously increased with an increasing distance from the N source in Tunø (from 0 to 20 years between 1.2 and 24 m below the land surface; mbls) and La Voulzie (from 8 to 24 years along downstream), while in Aalborg-Drastrup, the lag times showed a greater variability with depth—for instance, 23-year lag time at 9–17 mbls and 4-year lag time at 21–23 mbls. These spatial patterns were interpreted, finding that in Tunø and La Voulzie, matrix flow is the dominant pathway of nitrate, whereas in Aalborg-Drastrup, both matrix and fracture flows are important pathways. The lag times estimated in this study were comparable to groundwater ages measured by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs); however, they may provide different information to the stakeholders. The lag time may indicate a wait time for detecting the effects of an implemented protection plan while groundwater age, which is the mean residence time of a water body that is a mixture of significantly different ages, may be useful for planning the time scale of water protection programs. We conclude that the lag time may be a useful indicator to reveal the hydrogeological links between the agricultural pressure and water quality state, which is fundamental for a successful implementation of drinking water protection plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Conceptual Mini-Catchment Typologies for Testing Dominant Controls of Nutrient Dynamics in Three Nordic Countries
Water 2020, 12(6), 1776; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061776 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 921
Abstract
Optimal nutrient pollution monitoring and management in catchments requires an in-depth understanding of spatial and temporal factors controlling nutrient dynamics. Such an understanding can potentially be obtained by analysing stream concentration–discharge (C-Q) relationships for hysteresis behaviours and export regimes. Here, a classification scheme [...] Read more.
Optimal nutrient pollution monitoring and management in catchments requires an in-depth understanding of spatial and temporal factors controlling nutrient dynamics. Such an understanding can potentially be obtained by analysing stream concentration–discharge (C-Q) relationships for hysteresis behaviours and export regimes. Here, a classification scheme including nine different C-Q types was applied to a total of 87 Nordic streams draining mini-catchments (0.1–65 km2). The classification applied is based on a combination of stream export behaviour (dilution, constant, enrichment) and hysteresis rotational pattern (clock-wise, no rotation, anti-clockwise). The scheme has been applied to an 8-year data series (2010–2017) from small streams in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland on daily discharge and discrete nutrient concentrations, including nitrate (NO3), total organic N (TON), dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP), and particulate phosphorus (PP). The dominant nutrient export regimes were enrichment for NO3 and constant for TON, DRP, and PP. Nutrient hysteresis patterns were primarily clockwise or no hysteresis. Similarities in types of C-Q relationships were investigated using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) considering effects of catchment size, land use, climate, and dominant soil type. The PCA analysis revealed that land use and air temperature were the dominant factors controlling nutrient C-Q types. Therefore, the nutrient export behaviour in streams draining Nordic mini-catchments seems to be dominantly controlled by their land use characteristics and, to a lesser extent, their climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Agricultural Production and Policy on Water Quality during the Dry Year 2018, a Case Study from Germany
Water 2020, 12(6), 1519; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061519 - 26 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1036
Abstract
The hot summer of 2018 posed many challenges with regard to water shortages and yield losses, especially for agricultural production. These agricultural impacts might further pose consequent threats for the environment. In this paper, we deduce the impact of droughts on agricultural land [...] Read more.
The hot summer of 2018 posed many challenges with regard to water shortages and yield losses, especially for agricultural production. These agricultural impacts might further pose consequent threats for the environment. In this paper, we deduce the impact of droughts on agricultural land management and on water quality owing to nitrate pollution. Using national statistics, we calculate a Germany-wide soil surface nitrogen budget for 2018 and deduce the additional N surplus owing to the dry weather conditions. Using a model farm approach, we compare fertilization practices and legal restrictions for arable and pig breeding farms. The results show that, nationwide, at least 464 kt of nitrogen were not transferred to plant biomass in 2018, which equals an additional average nitrogen surplus of 30 kg/ha. The surplus would even have amounted to 43 kg/ha, if farmers had continued their fertilization practice from preceding years, but German farmers applied 161 kt less nitrogen in 2018 than in the year before, presumably as a result of the new implications of the Nitrates Directive, and, especially on grassland, owing to the drought. As nitrogen surplus is regarded as an “agri-drinking water indicator” (ADWI), an increase of the surplus entails water pollution with nitrates. The examples of the model farms show that fertilization regimes with high shares of organic fertilizers produce higher nitrogen surpluses. Owing to the elevated concentrations on residual nitrogen in soils, the fertilization needs of crops in spring 2019 were less pronounced than in preceding years. Thus, the quantity of the continuously produced manure in livestock farms puts additional pressure on existing storage capacities. This may particularly be the case in the hot-spot regions of animal breeding in the north-west of Germany, where manure production, biogas plants, and manure imports are accumulating. The paper concludes that water shortages under climate change not only impact agricultural production and yields, but also place further challenges and threats to nutrient management and the environment. The paper discusses preventive and emergency management options for agriculture to support farmers in extremely dry and hot conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Implementing a Statewide Deficit Analysis for Inland Surface Waters According to the Water Framework Directive—An Exemplary Application on Phosphorus Pollution in Schleswig-Holstein (Northern Germany)
Water 2020, 12(5), 1365; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051365 - 12 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 881
Abstract
Deficit analysis—which principally deals with the question “how big are the gaps between current water status and good ecological status?”—has become an essential element of the river basin management plans prescribed by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). In a research project on [...] Read more.
Deficit analysis—which principally deals with the question “how big are the gaps between current water status and good ecological status?”—has become an essential element of the river basin management plans prescribed by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). In a research project on behalf of the Ministry of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment, Nature and Digitalization Schleswig-Holstein (MELUND), a deficit analysis based on distributed results from the water balance and phosphorus emission model system GROWA-MEPhos at high spatial resolution was performed. The aim was, inter alia, to identify absolute and relative required reduction in total phosphorus at any river segment or lake within the state territory as well as to highlight significant emission sources. The results of the deficit analysis were successfully validated and show an exceedance of the phosphorus target concentrations in 60% of the analyzed subcatchments. Statewide, 269 tons of phosphorus needs to be reduced yearly, which corresponds to approximately 31% of the total emission. Detailed data as well as maps generated by the deficit analysis benefit the planning and implementation of regionally efficient measures, which are indispensable with regard to meeting the environmental quality objectives set by the WFD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Nitrogen Surplus—A Unified Indicator for Water Pollution in Europe?
Water 2020, 12(4), 1197; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041197 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1675
Abstract
Pollution of ground-and surface waters with nitrates from agricultural sources poses a risk to drinking water quality and has negative impacts on the environment. At the national scale, the gross nitrogen budget (GNB) is accepted as an indicator of pollution caused by nitrates. [...] Read more.
Pollution of ground-and surface waters with nitrates from agricultural sources poses a risk to drinking water quality and has negative impacts on the environment. At the national scale, the gross nitrogen budget (GNB) is accepted as an indicator of pollution caused by nitrates. There is, however, little common EU-wide knowledge on the budget application and its comparability at the farm level for the detection of ground-and surface water pollution caused by nitrates and the monitoring of mitigation measures. Therefore, a survey was carried out among experts of various European countries in order to assess the practice and application of fertilization planning and nitrogen budgeting at the farm level and the differences between countries within Europe. While fertilization planning is practiced in all of the fourteen countries analyzed in this paper, according to current legislation, nitrogen budgets have to be calculated only in Switzerland, Germany and Romania. The survey revealed that methods of fertilization planning and nitrogen budgeting at the farm level are not unified throughout Europe. In most of the cases where budgets are used regularly (Germany, Romania, Switzerland), standard values for the chemical composition of feed, organic fertilizers, animal and plant products are used. The example of the Dutch Annual Nutrient Cycling Assessment (ANCA) tool (and partly of the Suisse Balance) shows that it is only by using farm-specific “real” data that budgeting can be successfully applied to optimize nutrient flows and increase N efficiencies at the farm level. However, this approach is more elaborate and requires centralized data processing under consideration of data protection concerns. This paper concludes that there is no unified indicator for nutrient management and water quality at the farm level. A comparison of regionally calculated nitrogen budgets across European countries needs to be interpreted carefully, as methods as well as data and emission factors vary across countries. For the implementation of EU nitrogen-related policies—notably, the Nitrates Directive—nutrient budgeting is currently ruled out as an entry point for legal requirements. In contrast, nutrient budgets are highlighted as an environment indicator by the OECD and EU institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Land Use on Stream Water Quality in the Rapidly Urbanized Areas: A Multiscale Analysis
Water 2020, 12(4), 1123; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041123 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 918
Abstract
The land use and land cover changes in rapidly urbanized regions is one of the main causes of water quality deterioration. However, due to the heterogeneity of urban land use patterns and spatial scale effects, a clear understanding of the relationships between land [...] Read more.
The land use and land cover changes in rapidly urbanized regions is one of the main causes of water quality deterioration. However, due to the heterogeneity of urban land use patterns and spatial scale effects, a clear understanding of the relationships between land use and water quality remains elusive. The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of land use on water quality across multi scales in a rapidly urbanized region in Hangzhou City, China. The results showed that the response characteristics of stream water quality to land use were spatial scale-dependent. The total nitrogen (TN) was more closely related with land use at the circular buffer scale, whilst stronger correlations could be found between land use and algae biomass at the riparian buffer scales. Under the circular buffer scale, the forest and urban greenspace were more influential to the TN at small buffer scales, whilst significant positive or negative correlations could be found between the TN and the areas of industrial land or the wetland and river as the buffer scales increased. The redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that more than 40% variations in water quality could be explained by the landscape metrics at all circular and riparian buffer scales, and this suggests that land use pattern was an important factor influencing water quality. The variation in water quality explained by landscape metrics increased with the increase of buffer size, and this implies that land use pattern could have a closer correlation with water quality at larger spatial scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Nitrogen Transport in the Qiandao Lake Basin, a Large Hilly Monsoon Basin of Southeastern China
Water 2020, 12(4), 1075; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041075 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 669
Abstract
The Qiandao Lake Basin (QLB), which occupies low hilly terrain in the monsoon region of southeastern China, is facing serious environmental challenges due to human activities and climate change. Here, we investigated source attribution, transport processes, and the spatiotemporal dynamics of nitrogen (N) [...] Read more.
The Qiandao Lake Basin (QLB), which occupies low hilly terrain in the monsoon region of southeastern China, is facing serious environmental challenges due to human activities and climate change. Here, we investigated source attribution, transport processes, and the spatiotemporal dynamics of nitrogen (N) movement in the QLB using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a physical-based model. The goal was to generate key localized vegetative parameters and agronomic variables to serve as credible information on N sources and as a reference for basin management. The simulation indicated that the basin’s annual average total nitrogen (TN) load between 2007 and 2016 was 11,474 tons. Steep slopes with low vegetation coverage significantly influenced the spatiotemporal distribution of N and its transport process. Monthly average TN loads peaked in June due to intensive fertilization of tea plantations and other agricultural areas and then dropped rapidly in July. Subsurface flow is the key transport pathway, with approximately 70% of N loads originating within Anhui Province, which occupies just 58% of the basin area. The TN yields of sub-basins vary considerably and have strong spatial effects on incremental loads entering the basin’ major stream, the Xin’anjiang River. The largest contributor to N loads was domestic sewage (21.8%), followed by livestock production (20.8%), cropland (18.6%), tea land (15.5%), forest land (10.9%), atmospheric deposition (5.6%), orchards (4.6%), industry (1.4%), and other land (0.8%). Our simulation underscores the urgency of increasing the efficiency of the wastewater treatment, conserving slope land, and optimizing agricultural management as components of a comprehensive policy to control N pollution in the basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Farming Intensity and Climate on Lowland Stream Nitrogen
Water 2020, 12(4), 1021; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041021 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1199
Abstract
Nitrogen lost from agriculture has altered the geochemistry of the biosphere, with pronounced impacts on aquatic ecosystems. We aim to elucidate the patterns and driving factors behind the N fluxes in lowland stream ecosystems differing about land-use and climatic-hydrological conditions. The climate-hydrology areas [...] Read more.
Nitrogen lost from agriculture has altered the geochemistry of the biosphere, with pronounced impacts on aquatic ecosystems. We aim to elucidate the patterns and driving factors behind the N fluxes in lowland stream ecosystems differing about land-use and climatic-hydrological conditions. The climate-hydrology areas represented humid cold temperate/stable discharge conditions, and humid subtropical climate/flashy conditions. Three complementary monitoring sampling characteristics were selected, including a total of 43 streams under contrasting farming intensities. Farming intensity determined total dissolved N (TDN), nitrate concentrations, and total N concentration and loss to streams, despite differences in soil and climatic-hydrological conditions between and within regions. However, ammonium (NH4+) and dissolved organic N concentrations did not show significant responses to the farming intensity or climatic/hydrological conditions. A high dissolved inorganic N to TDN ratio was associated with the temperate climate and high base flow conditions, but not with farming intensity. In the absence of a significant increase in farming N use efficiency (or the introduction of other palliative measures), the expected farming intensification would result in a stronger increase in NO3, TDN, and TN concentrations as well as in rising flow-weighted concentrations and loss in temperate and subtropical streams, which will further exacerbate eutrophication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting the Trend of Dissolved Oxygen Based on the kPCA-RNN Model
Water 2020, 12(2), 585; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020585 - 20 Feb 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1206
Abstract
Water quality forecasting is increasingly significant for agricultural management and environmental protection. Enormous amounts of water quality data are collected by advanced sensors, which leads to an interest in using data-driven models for predicting trends in water quality. However, the unpredictable background noises [...] Read more.
Water quality forecasting is increasingly significant for agricultural management and environmental protection. Enormous amounts of water quality data are collected by advanced sensors, which leads to an interest in using data-driven models for predicting trends in water quality. However, the unpredictable background noises introduced during water quality monitoring seriously degrade the performance of those models. Meanwhile, artificial neural networks (ANN) with feed-forward architecture lack the capability of maintaining and utilizing the accumulated temporal information, which leads to biased predictions in processing time series data. Hence, we propose a water quality predictive model based on a combination of Kernal Principal Component Analysis (kPCA) and Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) to forecast the trend of dissolved oxygen. Water quality variables are reconstructed based on the kPCA method, which aims to reduce the noise from the raw sensory data and preserve actionable information. With the RNN’s recurrent connections, our model can make use of the previous information in predicting the trend in the future. Data collected from Burnett River, Australia was applied to evaluate our kPCA-RNN model. The kPCA-RNN model achieved R 2 scores up to 0.908, 0.823, and 0.671 for predicting the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the upcoming 1, 2 and 3 hours, respectively. Compared to current data-driven methods like Feed-forward neural network (FFNN), support vector regression (SVR) and general regression neural network (GRNN), the predictive accuracy of the kPCA-RNN model was at least 8%, 17% and 12% better than the comparative models in these three cases. The study demonstrates the effectiveness of the kPAC-RNN modeling technique in predicting water quality variables with noisy sensory data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Model-Based Analysis of Nitrate Concentration in the Leachate—The North Rhine-Westfalia Case Study, Germany
Water 2020, 12(2), 550; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020550 - 15 Feb 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1096
Abstract
Reaching the EU quality standard for nitrate (50 mg NO3/L) in all groundwater bodies is a challenge in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westfalia (Germany). In the research project GROWA+ NRW 2021 initiated by the Federal States’ Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, [...] Read more.
Reaching the EU quality standard for nitrate (50 mg NO3/L) in all groundwater bodies is a challenge in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westfalia (Germany). In the research project GROWA+ NRW 2021 initiated by the Federal States’ Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, Nature and Consumer Protection, amongst other aspects, a model-based analysis of agricultural nitrogen inputs into groundwater and nitrate concentration in the leachate was carried out. For this purpose, the water balance model mGROWA, the agro-economic model RAUMIS, and the reactive N transport model DENUZ were coupled and applied consistently across the whole territory of North Rhine-Westfalia with a spatial resolution of 100 m × 100 m. Besides agricultural N emissions, N emissions from small sewage plants, urban systems, and NOx deposition were also included in the model analysis. The comparisons of the modelled nitrate concentrations in the leachate of different land use influences with observed nitrate concentrations in groundwater were shown to have a good correspondence with regard to the concentration levels across all regions and different land-uses in North Rhine-Westphalia. On the level of ground water bodies (according to EU ground water directive) N emissions exclusively from agriculture led to failure of the good chemical state. This result will support the selection and the adequate dimensioning of regionally adapted agricultural N reduction measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
How Can Decision Support Tools Help Reduce Nitrate and Pesticide Pollution from Agriculture? A Literature Review and Practical Insights from the EU FAIRWAY Project
Water 2020, 12(3), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030768 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1580
Abstract
The FAIRWAY project reviewed approaches for protecting drinking water from nitrate and pesticide pollution. A comprehensive assessment of decision support tools (DSTs) used by farmers, advisors, water managers and policy makers across the European Union as an aid to meeting CAP objectives and [...] Read more.
The FAIRWAY project reviewed approaches for protecting drinking water from nitrate and pesticide pollution. A comprehensive assessment of decision support tools (DSTs) used by farmers, advisors, water managers and policy makers across the European Union as an aid to meeting CAP objectives and targets was undertaken, encompassing paper-based guidelines, farm-level and catchment level software, and complex research models. More than 150 DSTs were identified, with 36 ranked for further investigation based on how widely they were used and/or their potential relevance to the FAIRWAY case studies. Of those, most were farm management tools promoting smart nutrient/pesticide use, with only three explicitly considering the impact of mitigation methods on water quality. Following demonstration and evaluation, 12 DSTs were selected for practical testing at nine diverse case study sites, based on their pertinence to local challenges and scales of interest. Barriers to DST exchange between member states were identified and information was collected about user requirements and attitudes. Key obstacles to exchange include differences in legislation, advisory frameworks, country-specific data and calibration requirements, geo-climate and issues around language. Notably, DSTs from different countries using the same input data sometimes delivered very different results. Whilst many countries have developed DSTs to address similar problems, all case study participants were able to draw inspiration from elsewhere. The support and advice provided by skilled advisors was highly valued, empowering end users to most effectively use DST outputs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Water Quality)
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