Integrating water management, habitat modelling and water quality at basin scale environmental flow assessment - Tormes River (Spain)

Autores UPV
Revista Hydrological Sciences Journal


Multidisciplinary models are useful for integrating different disciplines when addressing water planning and management problems. We combine water resources management, water quality and habitat analysis tools that were developed with the Decision Support System AQUATOOL at a basin scale. The water management model solves the allocation problem through network flow optimisation and considers the environmental flows in some river stretches. Once volumes and flows are estimated, the water quality model is applied. Furthermore, the flows are evaluated from an ecological perspective by using time series of aquatic species habitat indicators. This approach was applied in the Tormes River Water System, where agricultural demands jeopardise the environmental needs of the river ecosystem. Additionally, water quality problems in the lower part of the river result from wastewater loading and agricultural pollution. Our methodological framework can be used to define water management rules that maintain water supply, aquatic ecosystem and water quality legal standards. The integration of ecological and water management criteria in a software platform with objective criteria and heuristic optimisation procedures allows for the realistic assessment and application of environmental flows. Here, we improve the general methodological framework by assessing the hydrological alteration of selected environmental flow regime scenarios.