Developing a nutrient pollution model to assist policy makers by using a meso-scale Minimum Information Requirement (MIR) approach
A model for simulating runoff pathways and water quality fluxes has been developed using the Minimum Information (MIR) approach. The model, the Catchment Runoff Attenuation Tool (CRAFT) is applicable to meso-scale catchments which focusses primarily on hydrological pathways that mobilise nutrients. Hence CRAFT can be used investigate the impact of management intervention strategies designed to reduce the loads of nutrients into receiving watercourses. The model can help policy makers, for example in Europe, meet water quality targets and consider methods to obtain "good" ecological status.
A case study of the 414 km2 Frome catchment, Dorset UK, has been described here as an application of the CRAFT model. The model was primarily calibrated on ten years of weekly data to reproduce the observed flows and nutrient (nitrate nitrogen - N - and phosphorus - P) concentrations. Also data from two years of sub-daily high resolution monitoring at the same site were also analysed. These data highlighted some additional signals in the 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 timestep for this meso-scale modelling study as the minimum information requirement. A management intervention scenario was also run to show how the model can support catchment managers to investigate how reducing the concentrations of N and P in the various flow pathways. This scale appropriate modelling tool can help policy makers consider a range of strategies to to meet the European Union (EU) water quality targets for this type of catchment.