Changes in nutrient emissions, fluxes and retention in a northeastern European lowland drainage basin

D. S.J. Mourad, M. Van Der Perk, K. Piirimäe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Despite dramatic reductions in the 1990s of N and P emissions in the drainage basin, Lake Peipsi/Chudskoe (Estonia/Russia) is still suffering from algal blooms, probably caused by low N:P ratios of the lake water. To quantify the sources and changes of N and P inputs to the lake as a result of economic changes, we modelled emissions, transfer and in-stream retention using a GIS model. The model was calibrated using river monitoring data from the 1985-1999 period, and used to simulate emissions and loads for five future scenarios for 2015-2019. During the 1985-1999 period, diffuse P emissions decreased relatively more than N diffuse emissions, but this was not reflected in the loads to the lake. P loads decreased relatively less than N loads, which caused a decrease in the N:P ratio of the rivers. About 30-45 % of diffuse N emissions and only 3-10 % of diffuse P emissions reaches the river network. In-stream retention reduces N and P loads to the lake by about 62 % and 72 %, respectively. Point sources contribute negligibly to the N load to the lake, but form about one-third of the P load. A target/fast development scenario is the most likely scenario for the 2015-2019 period, resulting in higher nutrient loads than in recent years. We conclude that effective load reductions can be achieved by focussing on diffuse N and P emissions close (< 50 km) to the lake and by upgrading P removal capacity in wastewater treatment plants of towns.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaterns of nutrient transfer in lowland catchments
Subtitle of host publicationA case study from northeastern Europe
Pages53-81
Number of pages29
Edition370
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

NameNederlandse Geografische Studies
Number370
ISSN (Print)0169-4839

Keywords

  • Estonia
  • Eutrophication
  • Geographical information systems
  • Lake Peipsi/Chudskoe
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Russia
  • Scenarios

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