Ecological classification of a set of Mediterranean reservoirs applying the EU Water Framework Directive: A reasonable compromise between science and management

The Water Framework Directive EU2000/60/EC (WFD) was implemented for reservoirs at a regional scale (northeastern Spain). Twenty-one reservoirs were monitored quarterly over the course of a year. Using principal component analysis, the reservoirs were classified into types according to their geological and morphometric features. The Ecological Quality (EQ) of the reservoirs was assessed by integrating values of total chlorophyll a, cyanophyta chlorophyll a concentration, fish metrics, Secchi depth, averaged hypolimnetic oxygen concentration and total phosphorus. For each reservoir type, a reference condition of quality was selected. When possible, this reference was the reservoir displaying the best EQ; otherwise expert judgment was used. To allow comparison of quality among reservoirs belonging to different types, thus identifying intrinsic differences, an Ecological Quality Ratio (EQR) was calculated by dividing the EQ value of each reservoir by that of its reference. According to EQR, the majority of the reservoirs accomplished the quality criteria of the WFD. This study identified a number of useful indicators for EQ assessment. Moreover, because the references were chosen among similar reservoirs, low EQR values are indicative of specific problems, such as untreated or wastewater spills or droughts. The results also demonstrate that expert judgment is a reasonable compromise when the low number of water bodies available for the study prevents statistical approaches ​
​Tots els drets reservats