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Estimating subsurface nitrogen accumulation–depletion in catchments by input–output flow analysis
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering.
2006 (English)In: Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, ISSN 1474-7065, E-ISSN 1873-5193, Vol. 31, no 17, 1030-1037 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We use input-output analysis of nitrogen flows between various sources-sectors and natural waters in the Swedish Norrstrom drainage basin for investigating and bounding the implication range of some uncertainty sources for results of subsurface nitrogen accumulation-depletion in this basin. We quantify different possible base and extreme assumptions of nitrogen discharges and transport pathways from agriculture to surface and groundwater in the basin. The results are robust in showing considerable nitrogen accumulation-depletion flow interactions taking place between the basin's mobile water and accumulated nitrogen pools in soils, sediments and/or relatively immobile subsurface water zones for all different scenario assumptions. Similar scenario robustness is also found in resulting relative contributions of different active nitrogen source-sectors to nitrogen flows in natural water systems. In the Norrstrom basin, and possibly more generally, nitrogen accumulation-depletion flows to and from accumulated legacies for the future or from the past appear therefore to be more important for water quality than current nitrogen discharges from active source-sectors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 31, no 17, 1030-1037 p.
Keyword [en]
input-output analysis; nitrogen accumulation-depletion; water quality; transport pathways
National Category
Water Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7187DOI: 10.1016/j.pce.2006.07.007ISI: 000242679100004ScopusID: 2-s2.0-33750629081OAI: diva2:12120
QC 20100623Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2010-12-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Environmental management of water systems under uncertainty
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental management of water systems under uncertainty
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Hydrological drainage/river basins constitute highly heterogeneous systems of coupled natural and anthropogenic water and pollutant flows across political, national and international boundaries. These flows need to be appropriately understood, quantified and communicated to stakeholders, in order to appropriately guide environmental water system management. In this thesis, various uncertainties about water and pollutant flows in drainage/river basins and their implications for effective and efficient water pollution abatement are investigated, in particular for mine-related heavy metal loadings in the Swedish Dalälven River basin and for nitrogen loadings in the Swedish Norrström drainage basin. Economic cost-minimization modeling is used to investigate the implications of pollutant load uncertainties for the cost-efficiency of catchment-scale abatement of water pollution.

Results indicate that effective and efficient pollution abatement requires explicit consideration of uncertainties about pollution sources, diffuse contributions of the subsurface water system to downstream pollutant observations in surface waters, and downstream effects of different possible measures to reduce water pollution. In many cases, downstream load abatement measures must be used, in addition to source abatement, in order to reduce not only expected, but also uncertainties around expected pollutant loads. Effective and efficient environmental management of water systems must generally also consider the entire catchments of these systems, rather than focusing only on discrete pollutant sources. The thesis presents some relatively simple, catchment-scale pollutant flow analysis tools that may be used to decrease uncertainties about unmonitored water and pollutant flows and subsurface pollutant accumulation-depletion and diffuse loading to downstream waters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Mark- och vattenteknik, 2007
Trita-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 1034
Water Resources Engineering
National Category
Water Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4396 (URN)978-91-7178-670-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-06-07, D2, Lindstedtsvägen 5, KTH, 10:00
Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2012-03-19Bibliographically approved

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