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A stage-based approach to allocating water quality monitoring stations based on the WorldQual model: The Jubba River as a case study

: Vega-Rodríguez, Miguel A.; Pérez, Carlos; Reder, Klara; Flörke, Martina


Science of the Total Environment 762 (2021), Art. 144162
ISSN: 0048-9697
ISSN: 1879-1026
Fraunhofer IEE ()
monitoring network; multi-objective optimization; river basin; stage-based approch; water quality; WorldQual model

Ensuring adequate freshwater quality is an important aspect of integrated environmental management and sustainable development. One contribution towards this end is to monitor the water quality of river basins. An important issue in constructing a water quality monitoring network is how to allocate the stations. This is usually done by using in situ measurements of pollutants together with other information. A stage-based optimization approach has been developed to find the optimal sites to allocate the monitoring stations. The proposed approach constructs a network in a sequence of stages without the need for in situ pollution measurements. Instead, it uses pollutant estimates from the WorldQual model together with other social and hydrological criteria. The approach is computationally efficient and provides an ordered list of stations that can be used to initialize or augment a water quality network. This is especially relevant for consideration by developing countries since, with this approach, they can get an overview of their river basins, and then prioritize the initial distributions of the networks. The approach was applied successfully to the 741,751 km2 of the Jubba River basin, but it is applicable to river basins of any size.