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Sediment sourcing in the Demer basin, Belgium - EU diffuse pollution project - WQ0120

Description
The project focuses upon assembling reliable empirical information on the principal sources of sediment pollution originating from the agricultural sector in a representative study catchment for the Flemish region of Belgium. Reliable sediment source information is an essential prerequisite for helping to target sediment abatement methods appropriately. Diffuse sediment pollution is a major environmental problem in many European countries. Sediment, whilst an important pollutant in its own right, represents a key vector for the transfer and fate of nutrients (e.g. phosphorus) and contaminants (e.g. pesticides). It is therefore important to establish sediment mitigation programmes as a basis for assisting the general reduction of diffuse water pollution from agriculture (DWPA). In view of the WFD, European countries, such as Belgium, are currently engaging research to help in the mitigation of diffuse pollution using River Basin Management Plans. Such plans must be based on reliable scientific information on the principal sources of the problem. In view of this requirement, and of the wider significance of sediment in governing most forms of DWPA, this collaborative research project aims to test the utility of a sediment sourcing procedure for generating reliable information for assisting sediment mitigation. The project aims to provide a holistic approach to sediment mitigation, by providing information on the sources of sediment in suspension and stored on the channel bed. The information generated by the sediment sourcing exercise will be used to target appropriate mitigation methods in subsequent phases of work. Given its wider significance in relation to DWPA, sediment represents a priority pollutant for Defra Water Quality policy. This project provides a timely opportunity for collaboration with European partners engaging similar diffuse pollution problems as the UK. The project provides direct read across from Europe in relation to priority sources for sediment transfers from the agricultural sector requiring mitigation and demonstration of the utility of the project methodology for addressing similar issues in the UK. The project links with the ongoing Flanders Hydraulics Research Project 613-07b (Sediment Fingerprinting in het Demerbekken). Sediment fingerprinting will be used as the basis of the approach to assembling representative information on the sources of the sediment problem in the study catchment. The fingerprinting approach avoids many of the problems associated with more conventional methods of investigating soil erosion and sediment sources, e.g. erosion plots, by providing a means of linking diffuse sediment pollution directly to its sources. Sediment fingerprinting will be deployed to assemble information on both spatial provenance and source type, thereby identifying the principal zones of the study area requiring sediment mitigation and the specific land uses causing the sediment problem. Information on the location and types of sediment sources is essential for assisting improved catchment management. In addition, the project will investigate the importance of the channel bed as a secondary sediment source in order to ensure that a more holisitic approach to catchment management, incorporating both soil and channel sources, is adopted if appropriate. The principal objective of the study is to assemble reliable information on the sources of fine sediment in suspension and sequestered on the channel bed in the Demer catchment, Belgium, for the purpose of assisting the targeting of sediment mitigation methods and to demonstrate the utility of the project methodology for supporting similar work in the UK context.
Objective
1. To assemble reliable information on the sources of fine sediment in suspension and sequestered on the channel bed in the Demer catchment, Belgium, for the purpose of assisting the targeting of sediment mitigation methods.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Final Report - Sediment sourcing in the Demer basin, Belgium: implications for catchment diffuse pollution management   (3956k)
• Final Report - Annex : References   (70k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2008

Cost: £17,005
Contractor / Funded Organisations
ADAS UK Ltd.
Keywords
Agricultural Land              
Agriculture and Water Quality              
Farming              
Hill Farming              
Mitigation              
Sediment              
Water Pollution              
Water Quality              
Fields of Study
Water Quality