alexa The impact of agricultural Best Management Practices on water quality in a North German lowland catchment.
Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences

Hydrology: Current Research

Author(s): Lam QD, Schmalz B, Fohrer N

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Abstract Research on water quality degradation caused by point and diffuse source pollution plays an important role in protecting the environment sustainably. Implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) is a conventional approach for controlling and mitigating pollution from diffuse sources. The objectives of this study were to assess the long-term impact of point and diffuse source pollution on sediment and nutrient load in a lowland catchment using the ecohydrological model Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and to evaluate the cost and effectiveness of BMPs for water quality improvement in the entire catchment. The study area, Kielstau catchment, is located in the North German lowlands. The water quality is not only influenced by the predominating agricultural land use in the catchment as cropland and pasture, but also by six municipal wastewater treatment plants. Diffuse entries as well as punctual entries from the wastewater treatment plants are implemented in the model set-up. Results from model simulations indicated that the SWAT model performed satisfactorily in simulating flow, sediment, and nutrient load in a daily time step. Two approaches to structural and nonstructural BMPs have been recommended in relation to cost and effectiveness of BMPs in this study. These BMPs include extensive land use management, grazing management practice, field buffer strip, and nutrient management plan. The results showed that BMPs would reduce fairly the average annual load for nitrate and total nitrogen by 8.6\% to 20.5\%. However, the implementation of BMPs does not have much impact on reduction in the average annual load of sediment and total phosphorus at the main catchment outlet. The results obtained by implementing those BMPs ranged from 0.8\% to 4.9\% and from 1.1\% to 5.3\% for sediment and total phosphorus load reduction, respectively. This study also reveals that reduction only in one type of BMP did not achieve the target value for water quality according to the European Water Framework Directive. The combination of BMPs improved considerably water quality in the Kielstau catchment, achieving a 53.9\% and a 46.7\% load reduction in nitrate and total nitrogen load, respectively, with annual implementation cost of 93,000 Euro. This article was published in Environ Monit Assess and referenced in Hydrology: Current Research

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