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Volume 22, issue 2 | Copyright

Special issue: Coupled terrestrial-aquatic approaches to watershed-scale...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 1033-1050, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Feb 2018

Research article | 07 Feb 2018

The river absorption capacity determination as a tool to evaluate state of surface water

Paweł Wilk, Paulina Orlińska-Woźniak, and Joanna Gębala Paweł Wilk et al.
  • Section of Modelling Water Quality Surface – Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, National Research Institute, 01-673 Warsaw, 61 Podleśna St., Poland

Abstract. In order to complete a thorough and systematic assessment of water quality, it is useful to measure the absorption capacity of a river. Absorption capacity is understood as a pollution load introduced into river water that will not cause permanent and irreversible changes in the aquatic ecosystem and will not cause a change in the classification of water quality in the river profile. In order to implement the method, the Macromodel DNS/SWAT basin for the Middle Warta pilot (central Poland) was used to simulate nutrient loads. This enabled detailed analysis of water quality in each water body and the assessment of the size of the absorption capacity parameter, which allows the determination of how much pollution can be added to the river without compromising its quality class. Positive values of the calculated absorption capacity parameter mean that it is assumed that the ecosystem is adjusted in such a way that it can eliminate pollution loads through a number of self-purification processes. Negative values indicate that the load limit has been exceeded, and too much pollution has been introduced into the ecosystem for it to be able to deal with through the processes of self-purification. Absorption capacity thus enables the connection of environmental standards of water quality and water quality management plans in order to meet these standards.

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Polish Institute of Meteorology and Water Management – State Research Institute (IMGW-PIB) has been conducting research on the use of river absorption capacity (RAC) for 5 years. The research focuses on combining mathematical modelling with traditional RAC calculations. For this purpose, the Macromodel DNS (discharge–nutrient–sea) was developed in the IMGW-PIB, along with the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The study was conducted on a selected fragment of one of the largest rivers in Poland.
Polish Institute of Meteorology and Water Management – State Research Institute (IMGW-PIB) has...