Department Environmental Chemistry

Integrated River Water Quality Management - iWaQa

Over the next decades, environmental and societal changes are expected to affect many drivers of river water quality and the ecological status of running waters may be strongly impacted. To deal with these changes, a decision support framework is needed that enables us to manage river water quality in a consistent and comprehensive way. The goal of this project was to develop a prototype of such a framework, to test it in selected case studies, and to assess how water quality may be influenced by future climate and societal changes.

Four socio-economic scenarios and eight management alternatives have been designed and analysed for two medium-sized catchments in the Swiss Plateau (Gürbe, Mönchaltorfer Aa). The results clearly suggest that future water quality and the ecological status are predominantly determined by human activities in each catchment as reflected in the socio-economic scenarios and the management alternatives. Climate change has generally a much weaker influence except for water temperature

For management, the results imply that tackling today’s problems will also alleviate most of the foreseen problems in the future – at least if we limit the time horizon to the middle of the 21st century. The effects of the warming climate on maximum stream temperature can be compensated by restoring the riparian vegetation, but this does not prevent the increase of average water temperatures.

Project collaborators

Dr. Ivana Logar Group Leader, Cluster: EnvEco Tel. +41 58 765 5504 Send Mail
Dr. Jörg Rieckermann Group Leader Tel. +41 58 765 5397 Send Mail
Rosi Siber GIS Support Tel. +41 58 765 5566 Send Mail


Honti, M.; Schuwirth, N.; Rieckermann, J.; Stamm, C. (2017) Can integrative catchment management mitigate future water quality issues caused by climate change and socio-economic development?, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 21(3), 1593-1609, doi:10.5194/hess-21-1593-2017, Institutional Repository
Honti, M.; Stamm, C.; Reichert, P. (2013) Integrated uncertainty assessment of discharge predictions with a statistical error model, Water Resources Research, 49(8), 4866-4884, doi:10.1002/wrcr.20374, Institutional Repository
Honti, M.; Scheidegger, A.; Stamm, C. (2014) The importance of hydrological uncertainty assessment methods in climate change impact studies, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18(8), 3301-3317, doi:10.5194/hess-18-3301-2014, Institutional Repository
Reichert, P.; Langhans, S. D.; Lienert, J.; Schuwirth, N. (2015) The conceptual foundation of environmental decision support, Journal of Environmental Management, 154, 316-332, doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.01.053, Institutional Repository
Reichert, P.; Schuwirth, N.; Langhans, S. D. (2011) MCWM – Ein Konzept für multikriterielle Entscheidungsunterstützung im Wassermanagement, Wasser, Energie, Luft, 103(2), 139-148, Institutional Repository
Reichert, P.; Schuwirth, N.; Langhans, S. (2013) Constructing, evaluating and visualizing value and utility functions for decision support, Environmental Modelling and Software, 46, 283-291, doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2013.01.017, Institutional Repository
Robinson, C. T.; Schuwirth, N.; Baumgartner, S.; Stamm, C. (2014) Spatial relationships between land-use, habitat, water quality and lotic macroinvertebrates in two Swiss catchments, Aquatic Sciences, 76(3), 375-392, doi:10.1007/s00027-014-0341-z, Institutional Repository
Schuwirth, N.; Reichert, P. (2012) Das Vorkommen von Lebewesen vorhersagen, Eawag News [dtsch. Ausg.], 72, 14-17, Institutional Repository
Schuwirth, N.; Kattwinkel, M.; Stamm, C. (2015) How stressor specific are trait-based ecological indices for ecosystem management?, Science of the Total Environment, 505, 565-572, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.10.029, Institutional Repository
Schuwirth, N.; Reichert, P. (2013) Bridging the gap between theoretical ecology and real ecosystems: modeling invertebrate community composition in streams, Ecology, 94(2), 368-379, doi:10.1890/12-0591.1, Institutional Repository