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Construction of a typology system for rivers in Chile based on the European Water Framework Directive (WFD)

Abstract

To assess the current status of surface waters, it is necessary, as a first step, to have a system that includes a set of criteria for classifying and describing each existing surface water body. In this article, a new river typology system for Chile based on the Water Framework Directive of the European Union is shown. This system was created following a top down and a priori approach and was based on an accurate review of scientific literature, interviews and workshops with experts in Chilean aquatic ecosystems. The system consisted of five ecoregions (large areas with homogenous hydrological and climatic conditions) and a set of abiotic criteria with their classes. It was assumed that each abiotic criterion was a control factor for freshwater ecosystems. It is expected that this system will organise knowledge about the biocenosis distribution of the Chilean freshwater ecosystem and also provide an operative tool for water quality monitoring based on biological indicators.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank to the Ministry of Environment (ex Comisión Nacional del Medio Ambiente, CONAMA), whose funding to the 1588-160-LE09 project permitted the development of this study. We also thank all of the experts who disinterestedly shared their knowledge to develop this continental water body classification that leads us to a typology of water bodies at a national level.

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Correspondence to Rodrigo Fuster.

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Fuster, R., Escobar, C., Lillo, G. et al. Construction of a typology system for rivers in Chile based on the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Environ Earth Sci 73, 5255–5268 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-014-3772-x

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Keywords

  • Typology system
  • Water bodies
  • Water resources management
  • Rivers