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Environmental management of water systems under uncertainty
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering.
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.
Series
Trita-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 1034
Keyword [en]
Water Resources Engineering
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4396ISBN: 978-91-7178-670-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-4396DiVA: diva2:12122
Public defence
2007-06-07, D2, Lindstedtsvägen 5, KTH, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2012-03-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Economic Analysis of Mine Water Pollution Abatement in a Catchment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Economic Analysis of Mine Water Pollution Abatement in a Catchment
2004 (English)In: Mine Water and the Environment, ISSN 1025-9112, E-ISSN 1616-1068, Vol. 1, 57-68 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7183 (URN)10.1007/s10230-004-0028-0 (DOI)
Note
QC 20100623Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. The influence of metal source uncertainty on cost-effective allocation of mine water pollution abatement in catchments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The influence of metal source uncertainty on cost-effective allocation of mine water pollution abatement in catchments
2006 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Management, ISSN 0301-4797, E-ISSN 1095-8630, Vol. 78, no 2, 138-148 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In mine water pollution abatement, it is commonly assumed that known mine waste sites are the major pollution sources, thus neglecting the possibility of significant contribution from other old and diffuse sources within a catchment. We investigate the influence of different types of pollution source uncertainty on cost-effective allocation of abatement measures for mine water pollution. A catchment-scale cost-minimization model is developed and applied to the catchment of the river Dalalven, Sweden, in order to exemplify important effects of such source uncertainty. Results indicate that, if the pollution distribution between point and diffuse sources is partly unknown, downstream abatement measures, such as constructed wetlands, at given compliance boundaries are often cost-effective. If downstream abatement measures are not practically feasible, the pollution source distribution between point and diffuse mine water sources is critical for cost-effective solutions to abatement measure allocation in catchments. In contrast, cost-effective solutions are relatively insensitive to uncertainty in total pollutant discharge from mine water sources.

Keyword
cost effectiveness; mine water; pollution abatement; heavy metals
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7184 (URN)10.1016/j.jenvman.2005.03.013 (DOI)000235053300004 ()2-s2.0-30944432099 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100623Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
3. Subsurface Water System Contributions to Surface Water Zinc Loads in Mining Areas
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Subsurface Water System Contributions to Surface Water Zinc Loads in Mining Areas
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7185 (URN)
Note
QC 20100623Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2010-06-23Bibliographically approved
4. Novel Quantification of Coupled Natural and Cross-Sectoral Water and Nutrient/Pollutant Flows for Environmental Management.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Novel Quantification of Coupled Natural and Cross-Sectoral Water and Nutrient/Pollutant Flows for Environmental Management.
2005 (English)In: Environmental Science and Technology, ISSN 0013-936X, E-ISSN 1520-5851, Vol. 39, no 16, 6182-6190 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Human water use and anthropogenic water pollution and ecosystem deterioration have increased so much that it is now a strategic challenge to maximize benefits from various possible water uses, while ensuring that basic human needs are met and the environment is protected. We propose and develop a novel use of input-output flow analysis as a relatively simple, compact and powerful tool for quantification of coupled natural and cross-sectoral flows of water, nutrients, and pollutants in catchments. The tool quantifies implications of various environmental regulation and management scenarios for both natural water systems and engineered-economic systems and sectors that use and impact natural waters for meeting human needs. Specific case study application to water and nitrogen flows in the Swedish Norrstrom drainage basin indicates considerable nitrogen load contributions to surface and coastal waters from slow groundwater flow paths and legacies of accumulated nitrogen in subsurface and immobile water pools. This implies that effective nitrogen load abatement cannot focus only on active sources but must also include downstream measures, which can capture and abate nitrogen/pollutant loading from different types of known and yet unknown point and diffuse sources within associated catchments.

Keyword
RIVER-BASIN; NITROGEN; TRANSPORT; MODEL; EUTROPHICATION; AGRICULTURE; POLLUTION; FLUXES; SWEDEN
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7186 (URN)10.1021/es050522k (DOI)000231203100039 ()2-s2.0-23844469767 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100623Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
5. Estimating subsurface nitrogen accumulation–depletion in catchments by input–output flow analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Estimating subsurface nitrogen accumulation–depletion in catchments by input–output flow analysis
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.

Keyword
input-output analysis; nitrogen accumulation-depletion; water quality; transport pathways
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7187 (URN)10.1016/j.pce.2006.07.007 (DOI)000242679100004 ()2-s2.0-33750629081 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100623Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
6. Uncertainty-Accounting Environmental Policy and Management of Water Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Uncertainty-Accounting Environmental Policy and Management of Water Systems
2007 (English)In: Environmental Science and Technology, ISSN 0013-936X, E-ISSN 1520-5851, Vol. 41, no 10, 3635-3659 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Environmental policies for water quality and ecosystem management do not commonly require explicit stochastic accounts of uncertainty and risk associated with the quantification and prediction of waterborne pollutant loads and abatement effects. In this study, we formulate and investigate a possible environmental policy that does require an explicit stochastic uncertainty account. We compare both the environmental and economic resource allocation performance of such an uncertainty-accounting environmental policy with that of deterministic, risk-prone and risk-averse environmental policies under a range of different hypothetical, yet still possible, scenarios. The comparison indicates that a stochastic uncertainty-accounting policy may perform better than deterministic policies over a range of different scenarios. Even in the absence of reliable site-specific data, reported literature values appear to be useful for such a stochastic account of uncertainty.

Keyword
COST-EFFECTIVE POLICIES; LOCAL CONCENTRATION STATISTICS; ALTERNATIVE DISTRIBUTIONS; SOLUTE FLUX; BALTIC SEA; TRANSPORT; POLLUTION; PREDICTION; RISK; EUTROPHICATION
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7188 (URN)10.1021/es061515e (DOI)000246371800046 ()2-s2.0-34250815228 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100623Available from: 2007-05-28 Created: 2007-05-28 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved

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