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Themes and Topics

Contributions are solicited according to the following themes, themes A through F.

Themes

A.. Increasing system knowledge: research to increase understanding and improving modelling of the hydro(geo)logical, geochemical and biochemical reality

B.. Impact of climate change and weather variability: assessment of effect on groundwater and surface water quality and distinguishing from effect of human behaviour

C.. Assessment of national policy: assessment of effects of programmes of measures on water quality on a regional and national scale

D.. Field research and data interpretation: research (monitoring and modelling) at plot and field scale for quantifying effects of farming practices and changes in land use

E.. Managing protected areas: use of monitoring and modelling to improve water quality for drinking water supply areas and habitat and species protection areas

F and G.. Decision-making and implementation: role of policy, stakeholder and science in decision-making, and social and economic incentives and constraints for implementation (carrots and sticks)

Topics per theme

The topics listed with a theme are intended as an indication for the subjects relevant for a theme, without the intention to be limitative for a given theme.

A.. Increasing system knowledge: research to increase understanding and improving modelling of the hydro(geo)logical, geochemical and biochemical reality

Tools and methods to describe and increase knowledge about processes (water and mass flux, and chemical and biological reactions of pollutants) are a pre-requisite for sound and effective monitoring, modelling and predicting of effects of programmes of measures on water quality.

A.1.
Transport and transformation of nutrients and agrochemicals in groundwater, unsaturated zone, surface waters; field to catchment scale
A.2.
Groundwater – surface water interactions; field to catchment scale
A.3.
Effect of changes in groundwater quantity on groundwater and surface water quality
A.4.
Source apportionment; contribution of agricultural, natural, and other sources of nutrients and agrochemicals
A.5.
Source apportionment; contribution of agricultural, natural, and other sources of nutrients and agrochemicals
A.6.
Biological, hydrological and physical interactions and water quality management options
A.7.
Denitrification – an effective but temporary limited process reducing the nitrate concentration in groundwater?
A.8.
Groundwater – terrestrial ecosystems interactions, impact of nutrients and agrochemicals, and water abstraction by agriculture

 

B.. Impact of climate change and weather variability: assessment of effect on groundwater and surface water quality and distinguishing from effect of human behaviour

Year-to-year variability in weather may mask improvements in water quality, while climate change may hamper or strengthen water quality improvements achieved due to programmes of measures. These effects can lead to wrong conclusions about the effectiveness of the programmes. In addition, well-founded knowledge on effects of climate change on water quality is essential for making science-based predictions of the effectiveness of programmes of measures.

B.1.
Assessment of effects climate change on nutrients in groundwater and surface waters
B.2.
Assessment of effects climate change on changes in crop growth and organic matter (carbon cycle)
B.3.
Distinguishing between human activities and climate change/weather variability, when analysing trends in water quality (focus is on how to identify the impact of human activitie

 

C.. Assessment of national policy: assessment of effects of programmes of measures on water quality on a regional and national scale

All EU Member States have to monitor and model water quality in order to assess the effectiveness of Nitrate Directive action programmes and WFD river basin management plans on a national scale and to report to the European Commission. In addition, assessments on international scale are made for evaluation and renegotiation of international policies. This theme focuses on the discussion of methodologies and approaches for surveillance and operational monitoring, modelling for underpinning monitoring results and modelling to forecast future evolution of water quality.

C.1.
Methodologies and approaches of monitoring and / or modelling effects of programmes of measures
C.2.
Analysis of uncertainty in monitoring and modelling of effects
C.3.
Developments in use of models for interpretation of monitoring results
C.4.
Use of models for prediction of effect of programmes of measures
C.5.
Modelling delayed effects (time lag) in slowly responding groundwater systems
C.6.
Comparison of derogation and non-derogation areas or vulnerable and non-vulnerable zones concerning effects of measures

 

D.. Field research and data interpretation: research (monitoring and modelling) at plot and field scale for quantifying effects of farming practices and changes in land use

To show effects of specific farming practices (use of catch crops; amount, methods and timing of application of fertilisers and manure; grassland renewal, etcetera) on water quality. It gives the research perspective, approaches and results of investigative monitoring, field studies and modelling (including case studies) to show the effectiveness of specific farming practices incorporated or to be incorporated in programmes of measures. The scale of the studies is often on the plot or field level, but may include studies on farm or catchment scale.

D.1.
Land conversion; quantifying effects of conversion of agricultural land to other land uses
D.2.
Crop rotation and soil management; quantifying effects of grassland management, arable crop rotation and different soil tillage strategies
D.3.
The soil-water-plant system, quantifying water pollution as a consequence of use of nutrients and agrochemicals (pesticides, heavy metals)
D.4.
Management options to mitigate effects of land changes on water quality, i.e. specific possibilities to solve or diminish effects of land conversion, crop rotation and soil management and use of nutrients and agrochemicals
D.5.
Assessment of optimal land use (agricultural use) for water quality protection in relation to environmental (physical and chemical) boundary conditions
D.6.
Management and monitoring of agricultural point sources of pollution, for example, farmyard run-off and leaching from temporary manure deposits
D.7.
Prediction of the effects on water quality of cultivation of crops for biomass production as source for renewable energy

 

E.. Managing protected areas: use of monitoring and modelling to improve water quality for drinking water supply areas and habitat and species protection areas

WFD sets additional monitoring requirements for protected areas. Protected Areas include bodies of surface water and groundwater used for the abstraction of drinking water, and habitat and species protection areas identified under the Birds Directive or the Habitats Directive. This theme also deals with problems of classification of the ecological status of waters.

E.1.
Drinking water supply areas; observing and predicting quality of groundwater and surface water in abstraction areas
E.2.
Aquatic ecosystems; observing and predicting changes in ecological status of waters
E.3.
Chemical water quality as predictor for ecological status
E.4.
Terrestrial ecosystems: observing and predicting water quality in wetlands and nature areas with agriculture-related atmospheric N deposition
E.5.
Management options to mitigate effects on water quality in protected areas
E.6.
Management of nutrients and agrochemicals in drinking water supply areas (safe guard zones) – water quality protection versus water purification
E.7.
Designation and management of protection zones within vulnerable areas (NVZ) with use of additional measures

 

F and G.. Decision-making and implementation: role of policy, stakeholder and science in decision-making, and social and economic incentives and constraints for implementation (carrots and sticks)

Political, social and economic aspects play an important role in designing new programmes of measures, in decision-making, and in implementation of programmes of measures. Scientists evaluate programmes of measures based on results of research, monitoring and modelling. However, it is governments and members of parliament that discuss and decide on new measures and tightening of existing regulations. What is the importance of targets groups and science in this debate in the political arena? Which aspects play an important role in the success or failure of these programmes to realise the goals set in advance? These themes focus on good governance, successful implementation strategies and options to involve farmers and other stakeholders in monitoring and research.

F.. Decision-making on Programmes of Measures

F.1.
The influence of science in the political debate
F.2.
Policy evaluation and creation of programmes of measures; difference between countries in ways to abate pollution

 G.. Implementation of Programmes of Measures

G.1.
Socio-economic opportunities and constraints of implementing programmes of measures, successes and failures
G.2.
Pros and cons of involving policy makers and stakeholders in monitoring and research
G.3.
Cost effectiveness of measures (including, for example, the role of EU support schemes for the agricultural sector)
G.4.
Use and development of user-friendly conjunctive models (surface and groundwater) for policy makers to analyse water resources and demands
G.5.
Use of ‘carrots’ (voluntary measures, training courses and funding) or ‘sticks’ (laws and regulations) to reach good chemical status of groundwater and surface waters
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