Assessing flow regime alterations in a temporary river – the River Celone case study

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Abstract

In this paper, we present an approach to evaluate the hydrological alterations of a temporary river. In these rivers, it is expected that anthropogenic pressures largely modify low-flow components of the flow regime with consequences for aquatic habitat and diversity in invertebrate species. First, by using a simple hydrological index (IARI) river segments of the Celone stream (southern Italy) whose hydrological regime is significantly influenced by anthropogenic activities have been identified. Hydrological alteration has been further classified through the analysis of two metrics: the degree (Mf) and the predictability of dry flow conditions (Sd6). Measured streamflow data were used to calculate the metrics in present conditions (impacted). Given the lack of data from pristine conditions, simulated streamflow time series were used to calculate the metrics in reference conditions. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was used to estimate daily natural streamflow. Hydrological alterations associated with water abstractions, point discharges and the presence of a reservoir were assessed by comparing the metrics (Mf, Sd6) before and after the impacts. The results show that the hydrological regime of the river segment located in the upper part of the basin is slightly altered, while the regime of the river segment downstream of the reservoir is heavily altered. This approach is intended for use with ecological metrics in defining the water quality status and in planning streamflow management activities.

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