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Monitoring stream flow, precipitation, and water quality parameters at selected locations on critical streams

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by Piotr Matczak, Darryn McEvoy, Ilona Banaszak, Adam Chorynski

[other options]

Drought-related monitoring and reporting activities provide a baseline of information and provide a barometer of change in climatic conditions that may indicate the inception of drought. The most frequently encountered parameters of stream droughts are: the lowest stream flow of drought, cumulative water deficiency volume, and drought duration. The two last of them depend on some discharge so called truncation level (threshold flow). A number of criteria are assumed for determining of truncation level. They base either on hydrological premises treating the truncation level as a function of the selected flow characteristics or on economic premises, i.e. ones taking into account the needs of water users. Also water quality parameters are monitored, since composition affects the aquatic environment and soil erosion processes. In headwater streams, suspended sediment concentration increases rapidly with stream flow and typically peaks before stream flow. Erosion is usually highest at the start of a runoff event when sediments are readily available for transport by overland flow to the stream channel. Sediment concentrations drop rapidly as the supply of readily eroded sediment is diminished.
Extreme event: Drought; Floods
Type of option: Management best practice; Scientific
Risk management: Risk identification and assessment
Sector: Agriculture; Fishery; Other
Landscape type: Urban; Rural
Location: Poland; other
Drivers of change: Socio-economic: Progress in technology and civilization which makes the socio-economic life of countries dependent on availability of water.

Policy: Water related policies require development of monitoring systems.
How and who:
Implementation: Regioal, local.
Institutional context: Option involves public sector.
Potential barriers: Coordination between institutions that collect data is necessary and it is not easy to achieve.
Implications for sustainable development:
Implications for sustainable development: Option has no direct influence on environment but ultimately coping with droughts have positive impacts on environment. It can help to reduce soil salinization.
Option has no direct influence on social sustainability, but water shortage can cause social tensions, conflicts and stress. Thus coping with drought increases social resilience. Water parameters can also affect spreading of diseases.
Option helps to reduce losses in agriculture caused by droughts. If excessive quantities of certain parameters (e.g. nitrogen) are present or applied in irrigated water, production of several commonly grown crops may be upset because of over-stimulation of growth, delayed maturity or poor quality.
knowledge transfer:
Stream flow monitoring program

Watershed monitoring in Canada

Water quality monitoring
Evaluation: Unless a water quality monitoring program addresses specific objectives, resources can be spent with little return to the investment. Potential errors must be minimized during design and recognized during data interpretation.
Scientific references:
Byczkowski, A., W. Meyer (2001). Hydrological drought. Objectives criteria of its evaluation. Proceeding of the 19th European Regional Conference on Sustainable Use of Land and Water. Brno, 48-48.
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