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The Catchment Runoff Attenuation Flux Tool, a minimum information requirement nutrient pollution model

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Russell Adams, Dr Paul Quinn



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


A model for simulating runoff pathways and waterquality fluxes has been developed using the minimum information requirement (MIR) approach. The model, the Catchment Runoff Attenuation Flux Tool (CRAFT), is applicableto mesoscale catchments and focusses primarily on hydrological pathways that mobilise nutrients. Hence CRAFT canbe used to investigate the impact of flow pathway management intervention strategies designed to reduce the loads ofnutrients into receiving watercourses. The model can helppolicy makers meet water quality targets and consider methods to obtain “good” ecological status.A case study of the 414 km2Frome catchment, Dorset,UK, has been described here as an application of CRAFTin order to highlight the above issues at the mesoscale. Themodel was primarily calibrated on 10-year records of weeklydata to reproduce the observed flows and nutrient (nitrate nitrogen – N; phosphorus – P) concentrations. Data from 2years with sub-daily monitoring at the same site were alsoanalysed. These data highlighted some additional signals inthe nutrient flux, particularly of soluble reactive phosphorus,which were not observable in the weekly data. This analysis has prompted the choice of using a daily time step as theminimum information requirement to simulate the processesobserved at the mesoscale, including the impact of uncertainty. A management intervention scenario was also run todemonstrate how the model can support catchment managersinvestigating how reducing the concentrations of N and P inthe various flow pathways. This mesoscale modelling toolcan help policy makers consider a range of strategies to meetthe European Union (EU) water quality targets for this typeof catchment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Adams R, Quinn PF, Bowes MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences

Year: 2015

Volume: 19

Issue: 4

Pages: 1641-1657

Print publication date: 09/04/2015

Online publication date: 09/04/2015

Acceptance date: 09/03/2015

Date deposited: 11/07/2016

ISSN (print): 1027-5606

ISSN (electronic): 1607-7938

Publisher: Copernicus GmbH


DOI: 10.5194/hess-19-1641-2015


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