Nutrient Load Apportionment to Support the Identification of Appropriate Water Framework Directive Measures

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Title: Nutrient Load Apportionment to Support the Identification of Appropriate Water Framework Directive Measures
Authors: Mockler, Eva M.
Deakin, Jenny
Archbold, Marie A.
Daly, Donal
Bruen, Michael
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Date: 2016
Abstract: A model for predicting the sources of nutrient loads (phosphorus and nitrogen) to water has been developed to support Water Framework Directive (WFD) implementation. This model integrates catchment data and pressure information to enable characterisation of Source-Pathway-Receptor relationships. The Source Load Apportionment Model (SLAM) is a flexible framework for incorporating national data and research to quantify nutrient losses from both point discharges (urban wastewater, industry and septic tank systems) and diffuse sources (pasture, arable, forestry, peatlands etc.). Hydrogeological controls have a strong impact on nutrient fluxes, particularly in agricultural catchments, and have been incorporated into the diffuse agricultural model, the Catchment Characterisation Tool (CCT). This paper describes the SLAM framework, including the CCT, along with the data inputs and assumptions. Results for the Suir catchment matched the measured loads of nitrogen and phosphorus well, and showed that pasture is the dominant source of nitrogen across all sub-catchments. The main sources of phosphorus in sub-catchments varied between diffuse agriculture, wastewater and industrial discharges. A relatively small proportion (13%) of the Suir catchment area requires a reduction in phosphorus emissions to achieve Good Status. In these areas, model results can be used in conjunction with knowledge from local authorities and investigative assessments gathered through the WFD characterisation process to identify significant pressures that contribute excessive nutrient loads. An example of assessing load reduction scenarios is presented to illustrate how modelling can support catchment scientists and managers in identifying appropriate measures. 
Funding Details: Environmental Protection Agency
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Royal Irish Academy
Journal: Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy
Volume: 116B
Issue: 3
Start page: 245
End page: 263
Copyright (published version): 2016 Royal Irish Academy
Keywords: PhosphorusNitrogenScenario AnalysisNutrient load apportionment modellingIntegrated catchment managementWater framework directive
DOI: 10.3318/BIOE.2016.22
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Centre for Water Resources Research Collection
Earth Institute Research Collection
Civil Engineering Research Collection

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