Management of regional German river catchments (REGFLUD) impact of nitrogen reduction measures on the nitrogen load in the River Ems and the River Rhine.

Water science and technology : a journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research

PubMedID: 15850202

Kunkel R, Bogena H, Goemann H, Kreins P, Wendland F. Management of regional German river catchments (REGFLUD) impact of nitrogen reduction measures on the nitrogen load in the River Ems and the River Rhine. Water Sci Technol. 2005;51(3-4):291-9.
The REGFLUD-project, commissioned by Germany's Federal Research Ministry (BMBF), addresses the problem of reducing diffuse pollution from agricultural production. The objective of the project is the development and application of multi-criteria scientific methods, which are able to predict diffuse pollution in river basins subject to economic feasibility and social acceptability. The selected river basins (Ems and Rhine basins) cover a variety of landscape units with different hydrological, hydrogeological and socio-economic characteristics. This paper focuses on the analysis of the effects of certain policy measures to reduce diffuse pollution by nitrogen. For this purpose a model system consisting of an agricultural sector model, a water balance model and a residence time/denitrification model was developed and applied. First results indicate a wide range of annual nitrogen surpluses for the rural areas between less than 10 kg N/ha up to 200 kg N/ha or more depending on the type and intensity of farming. Compared to the level of nitrogen surpluses the level of nitrogen inputs into the surface waters is relatively moderate because of degradation processes during transport in soil and groundwater. Policy impact analysis for a nitrogen tax and a limitation of the livestock density stress the importance of regionally tailored measures.