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Nitrate Sinks and Sources as Controls of Spatio-temporal Water Quality Dynamics in an Agricultural Headwater Catchment : Volume 12, Issue 8 (31/08/2015)

By Schuetz, T.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004012460
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 38
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Nitrate Sinks and Sources as Controls of Spatio-temporal Water Quality Dynamics in an Agricultural Headwater Catchment : Volume 12, Issue 8 (31/08/2015)  
Author: Schuetz, T.
Volume: Vol. 12, Issue 8
Language: English
Subject: Science, Hydrology, Earth
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Weiler, M., Gascuel-Odoux, C., Durand, P., & Schuetz, T. (2015). Nitrate Sinks and Sources as Controls of Spatio-temporal Water Quality Dynamics in an Agricultural Headwater Catchment : Volume 12, Issue 8 (31/08/2015). Retrieved from

Description: Chair of Hydrology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany. Several controls are known to affect water quality of stream networks during flow recession periods such as solute leaching processes, surface water – groundwater interactions as well as biogeochemical in-stream retention processes. Throughout the stream network combinations of specific water and solute export rates and local in-stream conditions overlay the biogeochemical signals from upstream sections. Therefore, upstream sections can be considered as functional units which could be distinguished and ordered regarding their relative contribution to nutrient dynamics at the catchment outlet. Based on synoptic sampling of flow and nitrate concentrations along the stream in an agricultural headwater during the summer flow recession period, we determined spatial and temporal patterns of water quality for the whole stream. A data-driven, in-stream-mixing-and-removal model was developed and applied for analyzing the spatio-temporal in-stream retention processes and their effect on the spatio-temporal fluxes of nitrates from sub-catchments. Thereby, we have been able to distinguish between nitrate sinks and sources per stream reaches and sub-catchments. For nitrate sources we have determined their permanent and temporally impact on stream water quality and for nitrate sinks we have found increasing nitrate removal efficiencies from up- to downstream. Our results highlight the importance of distinct nitrate source locations within the watershed for in-stream concentrations and in-stream removal processes, respectively. Thus, our findings contribute to the development of a more dynamic perception of water quality in streams and rivers concerning ecological and sustainable water resources management.

Nitrate sinks and sources as controls of spatio-temporal water quality dynamics in an agricultural headwater catchment

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