Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.169460
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) How a reservoir modulates downstream water quality under declining upstream loading and progressing climate change
Author Nakulopa, F. ORCID logo ; Bärlund, I.; Borchardt, D.
Source Titel Science of the Total Environment
Year 2024
Department ASAM
Volume 912
Page From art. 169460
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords Nutrient pollution; Water management; Water quality; Total Nitrogen; Total phosphorus
Abstract Reservoirs regulate water flow and pollutant transport in catchments. However, climate change can significantly impact their ability to perform this function. This study analysed a multi-decadal time series of data to examine the complex relationship between climate and nutrient pollution trends in the Möhne reservoir catchment. The study aimed at understanding the effect of the reservoir on downstream nutrient pollution in the face of a changing climate. The analysis revealed that upstream nutrient concentrations were higher than downstream, indicating a general nutrient-trapping effect of the reservoir. Upstream stations exhibited a declining trend in total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) concentrations. This was due to improved wastewater management and reduced nutrient mobilisation resulting from decreasing surface runoff and streamflow. At the downstream station, whereas TN concentrations decreased, TP concentrations mildly increased. These opposite downstream trends were likely due to rising temperatures and declining dissolved oxygen concentration within the reservoir, which might have favoured nitrogen denitrification and internal phosphorus loading, causing the decline and increase in downstream TN and TP concentrations, respectively. The contrasting downstream TN and TP trends alter the nutrient stoichiometry, which can profoundly affect the ecosystem's biogeochemical functioning. Therefore, in a warming climate, reservoirs may modulate nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients differently, leading to ecological discontinuities along river networks due to changes in TN-to-TP ratios. The study highlights the need to develop adaptable and precise nutrient pollution management strategies in reservoir catchments to address the challenges of climate change effectively.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Nakulopa, F., Bärlund, I., Borchardt, D. (2024):
How a reservoir modulates downstream water quality under declining upstream loading and progressing climate change
Sci. Total Environ. 912 , art. 169460 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.169460