L. A. Morales-Marín


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Evidence-based identification of integrated water quality systems
Eric Akomeah, Karl–Erich Lindenschmidt, L. A. Morales-Marín, Elmira Hassanzadeh
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management

Identification of integrated models is still hindered by submodels’ uncertainty propagation. In this article, a novel identifiability and identification framework is applied to screen and establish reasonable hypotheses of an integrated instream (WASP) and catchment water quality (VENSIM) model. Using the framework, the models were linked, and critical parameters and processes identified. First, an ensemble of catchment nutrient loads was simulated with randomized parameter settings of the catchment processes (e.g. nutrient decay rates). A second Monte Carlo analysis was then staged with randomized loadings and parameter values mimicking insteam processes (e.g. algae growth). The most significant parameters and their processes were identified. This coupling of models for a two-step global sensitivity analysis is a novel approach to integrated catchment-scale water quality model identification. Catchment processes were, overall, more significant to the river’s water quality than the instream processes of this Prairie river system investigated (Qu’Appelle River).


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The impacts of changing climate and streamflow on nutrient speciation in a large Prairie reservoir
Eric Akomeah, L. A. Morales-Marín, Meghan K. Carr, Amir Sadeghian, Karl–Erich Lindenschmidt
Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 288

Climate mediated warming water temperature, drought and extreme flooding are projected to shift the phenology of nutrients in receiving lakes and reservoirs further intensifying eutrophication and algal blooms, especially in temperate reservoirs. An emerging issue in reservoir management is the prediction of climate change impacts, a necessity for sound decision making and sustainable management. Lake Diefenbaker is a large multipurpose reservoir in the Canadian Prairies. In this study, the impact of climate change on nutrient speciation in Lake Diefenbaker is examined using loosely linked SpAtially Referenced Regression On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) and CE-QUAL-W2 models. Two climate mediated scenarios, RCP 8.5 representing the most extreme climate change, and climate induced streamflow were modelled. Nutrient levels are anticipated to double under the climate change and streamflow scenarios. Winter and spring were identified as hot moments for nitrogen pollution with a plausible saturation of nitrous oxides in the future. Of concern is a plausible recycling of nitrate through dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium. Summer and fall on the other hand represent the period for phosphorus enrichment and internal loading with a probable succession of cyanobacteria in the summer. • Nutrient cycling in a large reservoir is investigated under two climate mediated scenarios. • Two loosely coupled models are forced with projected climate and streamflow changes. • Nitrogen pollution is projected to worsen during winter and spring during the 2040 decade. • Reservoir internal loading is anticipated to accelerate during the intermediate decade.


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Impacts of Varying Dam Outflow Elevations on Water Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen, and Nutrient Distributions in a Large Prairie Reservoir
Meghan K. Carr, Amir Sadeghian, Karl–Erich Lindenschmidt, Karsten Rinke, L. A. Morales-Marín
Environmental Engineering Science, Volume 37, Issue 1

Dam operations are known to have significant impacts on reservoir hydrodynamics and solute transport processes. The Gardiner Dam, one of the structures that forms the Lake Diefenbaker reservoir located in the Canadian Prairies, is managed for hydropower generation and agricultural irrigation and is known to have widely altering temperature regimes and nutrient circulations. This study applies the hydrodynamic and nutrient CE-QUAL-W2 model to explore how various withdrawal depths (5, 15, 25, 35, 45, and 55 m) influence the concentrations and distribution of nutrients, temperature, and dissolved oxygen (DO) within the Lake Diefenbaker reservoir. As expected, the highest dissolved nutrient (phosphate, PO43--P and nitrate, NO3--N ) concentrations were associated with hypoxic depth horizons in both studied years. During summer high flow period spillway operations impact the distribution of nutrients, water temperatures, and DO as increased epilimnion flow velocities route the incoming water through the surface of the reservoir and reduce mixing and surface warming. This reduces reservoir concentrations but can lead to increased outflow nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations. Lower withdrawal elevations pull warmer surface water deeper within the reservoir and decrease reservoir DO during summer stratification. During fall turnover low outflow elevations increase water column mixing and draws warmer water deeper, leading to slightly higher temperatures and nutrient concentrations than shallow withdrawal elevations. The 15 m depth (540 m above sea level) outflow generally provided the best compromise for overall reservoir and outflow nutrient reduction.

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A physically-based modelling framework for operational forecasting of river ice breakup
Prabin Rokaya, L. A. Morales-Marín, Karl–Erich Lindenschmidt
Advances in Water Resources, Volume 139

Abstract Forecasting river ice breakup is critical for supporting emergency responses to river ice-related flooding along rivers in the northern hemisphere. However, due to complex river ice processes, forecasting river ice breakup is more challenging than predicting open-water flood conditions. Although considerable progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms and characteristics of breakup processes and in forecasting breakup timing using empirical methods at the local scale, fewer advances have been made in understanding and forecasting breakup using physically-based models, particularly at the catchment scale. In this study, we present a physically-based coupled hydrological and water temperature modelling framework for breakup prediction in cold region catchments in real time. The modelling framework was applied for operational forecasting of the 2019 breakup event along the Athabasca River at Fort McMurray in Alberta. Further model validation was performed by hindcasting the 2016, 2017 and 2018 breakup events. The model shows promising results for predicting the ice cover breakup with an average error of about 5 days, demonstrating its usefulness in real-time operational forecasting. Importantly, the model generates breakup progression at the catchment scale, providing an advantage over existing site specific breakup prediction methods.


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A framework for engaging stakeholders in water quality modeling and management: Application to the Qu'Appelle River Basin, Canada
Elmira Hassanzadeh, Graham Strickert, L. A. Morales-Marín, Bram Noble, Helen M. Baulch, Etienne Shupena-Soulodre, Karl–Erich Lindenschmidt
Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 231

Water quality is increasingly at risk due to nutrient pollution entering river systems from cities, industrial zones and agricultural areas. Agricultural activities are typically the largest non-point source of water pollution. The dynamics of agricultural impacts on water quality are complex and stem from the decisions and activities of multiple stakeholders, often with diverse business plans, values, and attitudes towards practices that can improve water quality. This study proposes a framework to understand and incorporate stakeholders' viewpoints into water quality modeling and management. The framework was applied to the Qu'Appelle River Basin, Saskatchewan, Canada. Q-methodology was used to understand viewpoints of stakeholders, namely agricultural producers (annual croppers, cattle producers, mixed farmers) and cottage owners, regarding a range of agricultural Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) that can improve water quality, and to identify their preferred BMPs. A System Dynamics (SD) approach was employed to develop a transparent and user-friendly water quality model, SD-Qu'Appelle, to simulate nutrient loads in the region before and after implementation of stakeholder identified BMPs. The SD-Qu'Appelle was used in real-time engagement of stakeholders in model simulations to demonstrate and explore the potential effects of different BMPs in mitigating water pollution. Stakeholder perspectives were explored to understand the functionality and value of the SD-Qu'Appelle, preferred policies and potential barriers to BMP implementation on their land. Results show that although there are differences between viewpoints of stakeholders, they identified wetland restoration/retention, flow and erosion control, and relocation of corrals near creeks to sites more distant from waterways as the most effective BMPs for improving water quality. Economics was identified as a primary factor that causes agricultural producers to either accept or refuse the implementation of BMPs. Agricultural producers believe that incentives rather than regulations are the best policies for increasing the adoption of BMPs. Overall, stakeholders indicated the SD-Qu'Appelle had considerable value for water quality management and provided a set of recommendations to improve the model.

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CE-QUAL-W2 model of dam outflow elevation impact on temperature, dissolved oxygen and nutrients in a reservoir
Karl–Erich Lindenschmidt, Meghan K. Carr, Amir Sadeghian, L. A. Morales-Marín
Scientific Data, Volume 6, Issue 1

Abstract Dams are typically designed to serve as flood protection, provide water for irrigation, human and animal consumption, and harness hydropower. Despite these benefits, dam operations can have adverse effects on in-reservoir and downstream water temperature regimes, biogeochemical cycling and aquatic ecosystems. We present a water quality dataset of water withdrawal scenarios generated after implementing the 2D hydrodynamic and water quality model, CE-QUAL-W2. The scenarios explore how six water extraction scenarios, starting at 5 m above the reservoir bottom at the dam and increasing upward at 10 m intervals to 55 m, influence water quality in Lake Diefenbaker reservoir, Saskatchewan, Canada. The model simulates daily water temperature, dissolved oxygen, total phosphorus, phosphate as phosphorus, labile phosphorus, total nitrogen, nitrate as nitrogen, labile nitrogen, and ammonium at 87 horizontal segments and at 60 water depths during the 2011–2013 period. This dataset intends to facilitate a broader investigation of in-reservoir nutrient dynamics under dam operations, and to extend the understanding of reservoir nutrient dynamics globally.

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A hydrological and water temperature modelling framework to simulate the timing of river freeze-up and ice-cover breakup in large-scale catchments
L. A. Morales-Marín, Palash Sanyal, H. Kadowaki, Zhaoqin Li, Prabin Rokaya, Karl–Erich Lindenschmidt
Environmental Modelling & Software, Volume 114

Abstract Ice phenology, defined as the timing of freeze-up and ice-cover breakup, plays a key role in streamflow regimes in cold-region river catchments. River freeze-up and ice-cover breakup events are controlled by meteorological and hydrological variables. In this study, we present a modelling framework consisting of a physically-based semi-distributed hydrological model and the integration of a 1D stream temperature model that can predict the ice duration in cold region rivers. The hydrological model provides streamflow and hydraulic parameters for the stream temperature model to obtain instream water temperature. The model was successfully applied in the Athabasca River basin in western Canada. Calibration was carried out using the water temperature recorded in the stations at the towns of Hinton, Athabasca and Fort McMurray. Model results show consistent correspondence between simulated freeze-up and breakup dates and the hydrometric station data. In the main tributaries of the basin, freeze-up timing spans from the last week of September to the second week of November and ice-cover breakup occurs from the second week of March to the last week of May. The model presents an application of water temperature and ice phenology simulation which can be incorporated in ice-jam flood forecasting and future climate change studies.

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Changes in streamflow and water temperature affect fish habitat in the Athabasca River basin in the context of climate change
L. A. Morales-Marín, Prabin Rokaya, Palash Sanyal, Jeff M. Sereda, Karl–Erich Lindenschmidt
Ecological Modelling, Volume 407

• A physically-based semi-distributed hydrological model and a 1D stream water temperature model forced by climate change scenarios is presented here to analyze the effects of stream flow and water temperature changes on fish habitat in the Athabasca River catchment. • Streamflow decreases in most of the catchment will reduce flow velocities and water depths causing current Athabasca Rainbow Trout habitat to be suboptimal. • Increases in water temperature will result in habitat contraction concentrating Athabasca Rainbow Trout in the upper headwaters of the catchment. • Athabasca Rainbow Trout habitat can potentially be reduced as the frequency of occurrence of life threatening and lethal water temperatures tend to increase, particularly in summer. Changes to natural flow and air temperature in the context of climate change can have impacts on physiology, distribution and survival of fish. Of particular interest is the Athabasca River basin, a highly biologically productive basin that includes one of the largest boreal freshwater inland river deltas in the world and serves as habitat for many fish species. Earlier melt events, higher winter and spring flows and lower summer flows are expected as a consequence of climate change in this basin. Here, we model changes in river flow and water temperature under changing climate scenarios through the integration of a physically-based semi-distributed hydrological model and a 1D stream water temperature model forced by climate change scenarios. The modeled changes in streamflow and water temperature are used to predict changes in habitat suitability for the Athabasca Rainbow Trout (ART) ( Oncorhynchus mykiss ), a unique ecotype of trout considered as a ‘species at risk’. The results indicate that future flow decreases in most of the basin can lead to reduced flow velocities and water depths making current ART habitat suboptimal. Also, warming low-land habitats and increasing water temperatures will increase metabolic rates and stress fish forcing them to migrate upstream to cooler waters confining their habitat range.

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Climatic effects on ice phenology and ice-jam flooding of the Athabasca River in western Canada
Prabin Rokaya, L. A. Morales-Marín, Barrie Bonsal, H. S. Wheater, Karl–Erich Lindenschmidt
Hydrological Sciences Journal, Volume 64, Issue 11

ABSTRACTIn cold region environments, any alteration in the hydro-climatic regime can have profound impacts on river ice processes. This paper studies the implications of hydro-climatic trends on ri...


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Potential Changes of Annual-Averaged Nutrient Export in the South Saskatchewan River Basin under Climate and Land-Use Change Scenarios
L. A. Morales-Marín, H. S. Wheater, Karl–Erich Lindenschmidt
Water, Volume 10, Issue 10

Climate and land-use changes modify the physical functioning of river basins and, in particular, influence the transport of nutrients from land to water. In large-scale basins, where a variety of climates, topographies, soil types and land uses co-exist to form a highly heterogeneous environment, a more complex nutrient dynamic is imposed by climate and land-use changes. This is the case of the South Saskatchewan River (SSR) that, along with the North Saskatchewan River, forms one of the largest river systems in western Canada. The SPAtially Referenced Regression On Watershed (SPARROW) model is therefore implemented to assess water quality in the basin, in order to describe spatial and temporal patterns and identify those factors and processes that affect water quality. Forty-five climate and land-use change scenarios comprehended by five General Circulation Models (GCMs) and three Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) were incorporated into the model to explain how total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) export could vary across the basin in 30, 60 and 90 years from now. According to model results, annual averages of TN and TP export in the SSR are going to increase in the range 0.9–1.28 kg km − 2 year − 1 and 0.12–0.17 kg km − 2 year − 1 , respectively, by the end of the century, due to climate and land-use changes. Higher increases of TP compared to TN are expected since TP and TN are going to increase ∼36% and ∼21%, respectively, by the end of the century. This research will support management plans in order to mitigate nutrient export under future changes of climate and land use.


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Assessment of nutrient loadings of a large multipurpose prairie reservoir
L. A. Morales-Marín, H. S. Wheater, K.-E. Lindenschmidt
Journal of Hydrology, Volume 550

Abstract The relatively low water flow velocities in reservoirs cause them to have high capacities for retaining sediments and pollutants, which can lead to a reduction in downstream nutrient loading. Hence, nutrients can progressively accumulate in reservoirs, resulting in the deterioration of aquatic ecosystems and water quality. Lake Diefenbaker (LD) is a large multipurpose reservoir, located on the South Saskatchewan River (SSR), that serves as a major source of freshwater in Saskatchewan, Canada. Over the past several years, changes in land use (e.g. expansion of urban areas and industrial developments) in the reservoir’s catchment have heightened concerns about future water quality in the catchment and in the reservoir. Intensification of agricultural activities has led to an increase in augmented the application of manure and fertilizer for crops and pasture. Although previous research has attempted to quantify nutrient retention in LD, there is a knowledge gap related to the identification of major nutrient sources and quantification of nutrient export from the catchment at different spatial scales. Using the SPAtially Referenced Regression On Watershed (SPARROW) model, this gap has been addressed by assessing water quality regionally, and identifying spatial patterns of factors and processes that affect water quality in the LD catchment. Model results indicate that LD retains about 70% of the inflowing total nitrogen (TN) and 90% of the inflowing total phosphorus (TP) loads, of which fertilizer and manure applied to agricultural fields contribute the greatest proportion. The SPARROW model will be useful as a tool to guide the optimal implementation of nutrient management plans to reduce nutrient inputs to LD.

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Estimating Sediment Loadings in the South Saskatchewan River Catchment
L. A. Morales-Marín, H. S. Wheater, Karl–Erich Lindenschmidt
Water Resources Management, Volume 32, Issue 2

In river catchments, sediment fluxes facilitate the transport of nutrients and pollutants and reduce water quality, potentially impacting water body health and altering ecosystem functioning. Sediment transport processes also modify the morphology of catchments, and sediment deposition can reduce flow capacity in rivers and water storage capacity in reservoirs and lakes. In this paper, estimates of suspended sediment yields and concentrations in the South Saskatchewan River catchment located in western Canada are presented. The results stem from a SPARROW model, which indicates that the dominant sources of sediment are represented by agricultural fields and urbanized lands. Analyses of sediment retention in the major catchment reservoirs indicate that, as expected, reservoir storage capacity is negatively correlated with reservoir storage reduction and positively correlated with retention rate. Additionally, reservoir lifespans range from less than 100 years to over 9000 years. The results presented here will be useful to complement local environmental guidelines to allow better management of sediment erosion and deposition in the South Saskatchewan River catchment.