Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 23, pp 22861–22871 | Cite as

Study of ecological compensation in complex river networks based on a mathematical model

  • Xiao Wang
  • Chunqi ShenEmail author
  • Jun Wei
  • Yong Niu
Research Article


Transboundary water pollution has resulted in increasing conflicts between upstream and downstream administrative districts. Ecological compensation is an efficient means of restricting pollutant discharge and achieving sustainable utilization of water resources. The tri-provincial region of Taihu Basin is a typical river networks area. Pollutant flux across provincial boundaries in the Taihu Basin is hard to determine due to complex hydrologic and hydrodynamic conditions. In this study, ecological compensation estimation for the tri-provincial area based on a mathematical model is investigated for better environmental management. River discharge and water quality are predicted with the one-dimensional mathematical model and validated with field measurements. Different ecological compensation criteria are identified considering the notable regional discrepancy in sewage treatment costs. Finally, the total compensation payment is estimated. Our study indicates that Shanghai should be the receiver of payment from both Jiangsu and Zhenjiang in 2013, with 305 million and 300 million CNY, respectively. Zhejiang also contributes more pollutants to Jiangsu, and the compensation to Jiangsu is estimated as 9.3 million CNY. The proposed ecological compensation method provides an efficient way for solving the transboundary conflicts in a complex river networks area and is instructive for future policy-making.


Water pollution Ecological compensation Taihu Basin River networks 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Water Special Project of China (2012ZX07506-007).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_2316_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 2093 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HYDROCHINA Huadong Engineering Corporation LtdHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Chesapeake Biological LabUniversity of Maryland Center for Environmental ScienceSolomonsUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina

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