Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Comparative study of ecosystem management and services in contrasting Slovenian freshwater systems

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.20.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Hydrology   

Code Science Field
T270  Technological sciences  Environmental technology, pollution control 

Code Science Field
2.07  Engineering and Technology  Environmental engineering  
ecosystem services, management, modelling, catchemnts, stressors
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (23)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publications
1.  15622  PhD Primož Banovec  Hydrology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  487 
2.  34426  PhD Ermira Begu  Interdisciplinary research  Junior researcher  2014 - 2015  47 
3.  05221  PhD Anton Brancelj  Biology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  592 
4.  34959  PhD Barbara Debeljak  Biology  Junior researcher  2014 - 2017  50 
5.  19724  Vesna Fajon    Technician  2014 - 2017  296 
6.  11790  PhD Tjaša Griessler Bulc  Biology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  492 
7.  05027  PhD Milena Horvat  Chemistry  Researcher  2014 - 2017  1,812 
8.  27712  PhD Maša Ignjatović  Biology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  39 
9.  34903  Klara Jarni  Biology  Researcher  2015 - 2016  49 
10.  18341  Andreja Jerebic    Technician  2014 - 2017  24 
11.  21543  PhD Tjaša Kanduč  Geology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  467 
12.  25622  PhD David Kocman  Control and care of the environment  Principal Researcher  2014 - 2017  320 
13.  03540  PhD Boris Kompare  Hydrology  Researcher  2014  865 
14.  15814  PhD Jože Kotnik  Geology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  373 
15.  35324  Ines Levačić  Interdisciplinary research  Researcher  2014 - 2017  25 
16.  22615  PhD Nataša Mori  Biology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  145 
17.  11279  PhD Nives Ogrinc  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2014 - 2017  1,046 
18.  35473  PhD Majda Pavlin  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2014 - 2017  116 
19.  15129  PhD Tatjana Simčič  Biology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  160 
20.  33748  PhD Jasna Smolar  Civil engineering  Researcher  2014 - 2015  277 
21.  18359  PhD Janez Ščančar  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2014 - 2017  658 
22.  31633  PhD Mateja Škerjanec  Hydrology  Researcher  2015 - 2017  52 
23.  35748  Janja Vrzel  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2014 - 2015  41 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,217 
2.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  85,605 
3.  0792  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering  Ljubljana  1626981  25,903 
4.  1014  Ecological Engineering Institute  Maribor  5295149000  382 
The proposed project is driven by the limitations of water quality management, as defined by the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) which is also implemented in Slovenia. Within the project consortium, the problem has been recognised from different perspectives: biogeochemical (JSI), ecological (NIB) and hydrological (UL FGG). The current monitoring of chemical and ecological status of water bodies is based on environmental indicators that are derived on the basis of physical, chemical, biological and hydro-morphological measurements. The main drawbacks of the current approach are that it (i) does not provide any insight into the processes that lead to a particular state due to the presence of various stressors, and in particular (ii) does not take into account the synergistic effect of these stressors at the catchments scale. To this end, we propose a novel approach based on the implementation of mathematical models. The key challenge we want to address within the project is therefore to shift the process of water (quality) management from the current approach which is solely based on the monitoring of the environmental indicators to a comprehensive water quality modelling approach. The difference between the two approaches lies in the fact that the water management, based only on the environmental indicators, uses the monitoring data for the direct induction of the measures. Thus, it does not take into account all the possible processes that could lead to the identified state. Also, while implementing the measures to improve the state of the system, it exposes the observed system (i.e., the selected catchment) to uncontrollable experimenting.   The proposed approach is based on the water quality modeling at the catchment scale and on the hypothesis that the mathematical model is the basic tool that can be used to support decisions. The mathematical model encompasses pressures (stressors), their dynamics and mechanisms for their transport and metabolism, which are to a large extent related to the generated water fluxes. In this context, measured data are used especially for the calibration and validation of the models. The main advantage of the proposed approach is that it can be simultaneously used for the identification of the anomalies (deviations between the simulated and measured values of the selected variables) through the validation procedure. Therefore, the catchment scale water quality model enables testing of different hypotheses and model-aided selection of the most optimal solutions.   Within the project, we will develop GIS supported model of pollution sources, which will allow the identification and classification of emission sources. By using the results of the GIS model, the input data will be generated which are required for the comprehensive modelling at the catchment scale. In addition to the basic fluxes (water, nutrients), we will also address the releases of the selected pollutants in three contrasting experimental catchments, each facing specific environmental problems (Kamniška Bistrica, Idrijca and Pesnica). If needed, we will use hydraulic model based on high resolution LIDAR data for modelling sediment, nutrient and pollutant transport in rivers. All models will be calibrated and validated by using series of laboratory and field measurements of physicochemical parameters and biological indicators of stress. Applicability of the model, including the analysis of a variety of environmental scenarios, will be tested in all three experimental catchments. Such modelling approach has many potential uses and is of great importance for our project partner from the industry (IEI) that is primarily working on the applicative projects within the field of water management.
Significance for science
Water quality management has a vast historical background in the general water management framework with the first systematic approach traceable back to the Roman Empire. Modern water quality management is addressing conventional pollutants, priority substances, and emerging pollutants (i.e. nanoparticles and pharmaceuticals), making the domain of water quality management extremely complex and thus subject to very active scientific work. The innovative relevance of the results of the project could be recognized in the following characteristics of the project: 1) We offer a new approach to water quality management, where used/generated catchment-scale water quality models can be used as reference tools for decision making and searching for optimal solutions/measures in order to improve water quality. In this context, measured data are not used for the decision-making process directly, but only for the calibration/validation purposes and identification of new modelling hypothesis in case they cannot be validated by the model. 2) We offer an interlaced interdisciplinary approach where all the project partners very actively participated in the development of the project proposal and clearly identified their role in the achievement of the project results. 3) Public participation in the project (in terms of consultations with people living in experimental catchments and representatives of the concerned municipalities) significantly contributes to the relevance of the project results. 4) Validation of the approach in the contrasting catchments will provide for the possible extrapolation of the project results to other freshwater catchments not only in Slovenia but also internationally. With the outlined characteristics described above the project could be recognized as innovative and relevant for the scientific domain of water quality management.
Significance for the country
The direct impact on the Slovenian economy and society could be recognized in terms of improved implementation process of Water Framework Directive. The directive is setting very ambitious goals, which are not fully supported yet. What is missing is a clearly defined decision-making process, which should be based on the implementation of mathematical models. The project provides conceptually innovative approach to the catchment-scale water quality assessment, which supports the decision-making process and leads to an efficient and effective environmental management. The currently applied decision-making is inadequate and clearly shows absence of any systematic analytic/modelling procedures. Developed site-specific approaches, tools and models can be used in order to: (i) check the effects of water quality management alternatives which will in turn minimise the uncertainties in the decision-making process, and (ii) select and design the Programme of Measures, which is of paramount importance for our partner from industry, the IEI d.o.o. The proposed solutions can support the implementation of the River Basin Management Plans, e.g., to more explicitly test the effects of expected climate change. One of the main challenges/objectives of all projects dealing with environmental issues is public participation. Within the project, we successfully communicated with the local public in experimental catchments, which can serve as an example for the future development of the active participatory processes in other areas of water management and in other catchments. In Slovenia, one of the key marketing components is the concept of “green” country which is as such attracting tourist and potential investors. Generally, Slovenian water bodies are considered very clean and thus play an important role in perception of the green and clean Slovenia. In order to ensure the profitability of the presented concept, we must follow the latest achievements in development of approaches, models and procedures that will enable the maintenance and improvement of the current state of our water bodies. Our project is fully in line with this goal as it provides a scientific and operational framework for the development of more efficient and successful water quality management procedures. At the same time, a large database of knowledge was created within the project, which is (on request) available to the wider scientific and engineering community, resulting in a positive spin-off effect. The transfer of knowledge is clearly evident from the cooperation of project partners with IEI d.o.o. as a partner from the economic sector.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
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