Innovative forecasting approaches to assess future trends in pollutant flows from land to water systems for advancing sectoral water quality services

Host institution

Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

Project description

The research will focus on multiple pollutants in water systems. Many reservoirs, lakes and rivers suffer from pollution problems. Examples are increasing levels of nutrients, chemicals (e.g., pesticides), pathogens, and plastics. These pollutants decrease the availability of clean water for domestic, agricultural, recreation, and nature sectors. These pollutants in water often result from common sources such as agriculture and urbanization. In addition, climate change may influence water quality: e.g., flooding from over fertilized agricultural fields that bring nutrients to water.

However, the current knowledge is limited in integrating existing modelling approaches of individual pollutants into an innovative tool for comprehensive water quality assessments and management at different scales for different water systems and sectors, where impacts of climate change and socioeconomic drivers are integrated. This project will focus on developing new modelling tools to forecast future trends in pollutant flows from land to water systems for advancing sectoral water quality services while integrating impacts of climate change and socio-economic drivers. The project will strongly build up on existing tools at the host group where a multi-pollutant model is under development for the world (MARINA-Global) and for China (MARINAChina). The project will establish water quality services for sectors such as agriculture, domestic, and recreation. The focus will be on 10,226 sub-basins in the world.

The objectives of this research are: i) to integrate existing modelling approaches into multi-pollutant modelling tools for effective water pollution management, ii) better understand the impacts of future climate change and socio-economic drivers on water quality for different sectors taking a multi-pollutant perspective, and iii) provide new insights on solutions to reduce future multi-pollutant problems and increase the availability of clean water for different sectors.


Institute for Applied Systems analysis, Austria. 3 months.


Ilaria Micella

Innovative forecasting approaches