Environmental Modeling & Assessment

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 589–611 | Cite as

Implementing In-Stream Nutrient Processes in Large-Scale Landscape Modeling for the Impact Assessment on Water Quality

  • Cornelia Hesse
  • Valentina Krysanova
  • Anja Voß


For a long time, watershed models focused on the transport of chemicals from the terrestrial part of the watershed to the surface water bodies by leaching and erosion. After the substances had reached the surface water, they were routed through the channel network often without any further transformation. Today, there is a need to extend watershed models with in-stream processes to bring them closer to natural conditions and to enhance their usability as support tools for water management and water quality policies. This paper presents experience with implementing in-stream processes in a ecohydrological dynamic watershed model and its application on the large scale in the Saale River basin in Germany. Results demonstrate that new implemented water quality parameters like chlorophyll a concentrations or oxygen amount in the reach can be reproduced quite well, although the model results, compared with results achieved without taking into account algal and transformation processes in the river, show obvious improvement only for some of the examined nutrients. Finally, some climate and water management scenarios expected to impact in-stream processes in the Saale basin were run. Their results illustrate the relative importance of physical boundary conditions on the amount and concentration of the phytoplankton, which leads to the conclusion that measures to improve water quality should not only take nutrient inputs into account but also climate influences and river morphology.


Water quality modeling In-stream processes Nutrients Dissolved oxygen Chlorophyll a Impact assessment SWIM 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cornelia Hesse
    • 1
  • Valentina Krysanova
    • 1
  • Anja Voß
    • 2
  1. 1.Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)PotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Center for Environmental Systems Research (CESR)University of KasselKasselGermany

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