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COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF METHODOLOGIES

FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL


FLOWS (EF), ACCORDING TO THE WFD
WORK PACKAGE 4 Preserving Water Bodies
Ecosystems
Final Version
Date 23.08.2012

Authors
C. Mielach, R. Schinegger, S. Schmutz, A. Galie, F. Isfan, I. Tanase, B. Popa,
D. Gasparetto, I. Saccardo, M. Cesca, A. Rechberger, H. Talker, S.antl,
N. Conari, N. vanut Smolar;

INDEX
PREFACE ............................................................................................................................................. 4
1. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS (COUNTRY WHERE ABBREVIATION IS USED) .............................. 5
2. INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................................................. 8
3. EF IN ROMANIA............................................................................................................................. 15
3.1. POLICY AND REGULATIONS.............................................................................................................. 15
3.2. EF ASSESSMENT ............................................................................................................................ 18
3.2.1. EF Calculation........................................................................................................................... 19
3.2.2. EF Parameters .......................................................................................................................... 22
3.2.3. EF Restrictions.......................................................................................................................... 22
3.2.4. EF Monitoring/Effectiveness ..................................................................................................... 23
3.3. OBJECTIVES, AIMS AND GOALS ....................................................................................................... 25
3.3.1. Assets ....................................................................................................................................... 25
3.3.2. Expected Oucome .................................................................................................................... 29
3.4. BEST PRACTICE EXAMPLE IN ROMANIA ............................................................................................ 30
3.5. NATIONAL REFERENCES ROMANIA................................................................................................... 31
4. EF IN ITALY .................................................................................................................................... 33
4.1. POLICY AND REGULATIONS.............................................................................................................. 33
4.2. EF ASSESSMENT ............................................................................................................................ 37
4.2.1. EF Calculation........................................................................................................................... 37
4.2.2. EF Parameters .......................................................................................................................... 42
4.2.3. EF Restrictions.......................................................................................................................... 42
4.2.4. EF Monitoring/Effectiveness ..................................................................................................... 43
4.3. OBJECTIVES, AIMS AND GOALS ....................................................................................................... 46
4.3.1. Assets ....................................................................................................................................... 46
4.3.2. Objectives ................................................................................................................................. 47
4.3.3. Expected Outcome ................................................................................................................... 48
4.4. BEST PRACTICE EXAMPLES IN ITALY ................................................................................................ 49
4.4.1. Cordevole River ........................................................................................................................ 49
4.4.2. Mis River ................................................................................................................................... 51
4.4.3. General conclusions ................................................................................................................. 51
4.5. NATIONAL REFERENCES ITALY ......................................................................................................... 53
5. EF IN SLOVENIA ........................................................................................................................... 55
5.1. POLICY AND REGULATIONS.............................................................................................................. 55
5.2. EF ASSESSMENT ............................................................................................................................ 57
5.2.1. EF Calculation........................................................................................................................... 58
5.2.2. EF Parameters .......................................................................................................................... 62
5.2.3. EF Restrictions.......................................................................................................................... 62
5.2.4. EF Monitoring............................................................................................................................ 62
5.3. OBJECTIVES, AIMS AND GOALS ....................................................................................................... 63
5.3.1. Assets ....................................................................................................................................... 63
5.3.2. Objectives ................................................................................................................................. 64
5.4. BEST PRACTICE EXAMPLE IN SLOVENIA ........................................................................................... 64
5.4.1. Rizana River ............................................................................................................................. 64
5.4.2. Koritnica River .......................................................................................................................... 65
5.4.3. General Conclusions ................................................................................................................ 66
5.5. NATIONAL REFERENCES SLOVENIA .................................................................................................. 67
6. EF IN AUSTRIA .............................................................................................................................. 69

6.1. POLICY AND REGULATIONS.............................................................................................................. 69


6.2. EF ASSESSMENT ............................................................................................................................ 70
6.2.1. EF Calculation........................................................................................................................... 71
6.2.2. EF Parameters .......................................................................................................................... 73
6.2.3. EF Restrictions.......................................................................................................................... 74
6.2.4. EF Monitoring/Effectiveness ..................................................................................................... 74
6.3. OBJECTIVES, AIMS AND GOALS ....................................................................................................... 79
6.3.1. Assets ....................................................................................................................................... 79
6.3.2. Expected Outcome ................................................................................................................... 81
6.4. BEST PRACTICE EXAMPLE IN AUSTRIA ............................................................................................. 82
6.4.1. Mur River .................................................................................................................................. 82
6.5. NATIONAL REFERENCES AUSTRIA .................................................................................................... 83
7. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS ................................................................................................. 85
8. ANNEX............................................................................................................................................ 88
8.1. ENERGY LOSS DUE TO EF IMPLEMENTATION (ROMANIA) ................................................................... 88
9. REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................... 92

Figure index
FIGURE 1 PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL FLOW REGIMES (BUNN AND ARTHINGTON, 2002) ................................ 9
FIGURE 2 NATURAL FLOW REGIME COMPONENTS (AFTER KARR, 1991) .................................................. 10
FIGURE 3 ROMANIAN FISHERIES AREAS (BNRESCU, 1964) ................................................................ 20
FIGURE 4 THE NATURAL RESERVATIONS LOCATED IN PRUT RIVER BASIN ................................................ 27
FIGURE 5 THE NATURAL RESERVATIONS LOCATED IN IALOMITA RIVER BASIN ........................................... 28
FIGURE 6 ECOLOGICAL GROUP TYPES OF SLOVENIAN RIVERS ............................................................... 59
FIGURE 7 INLAND WATER ECOREGIONS IN SLOVENIA (MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND SPATIAL PLANNING,
2005)............................................................................................................................................ 60
FIGURE 8 COMPETENT AUTHORITIES IN AUSTRIA .................................................................................. 75
FIGURE 9 EF VERSUS MULTIANNUAL MEAN FLOW .................................................................................. 91
FIGURE 10 PERCENTAGE OF ENERGY LOSS VERSUS MULTIANNUAL MEAN FLOW ...................................... 91

Table index
TABLE 1 DIFFERENT EF ASSESSMENT METHODS AND THEIR CLASSIFICATION ACCORDING TO LITERATURE 12
TABLE 2 QUALITY ELEMENTS FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF THE ECOLOGICAL STATUS OF RIVERS .................. 17
TABLE 3 HABITAT FEATURES FOR FISH .................................................................................................. 20
TABLE 4 CRITICAL PERIODS FOR FISH................................................................................................... 39
TABLE 5 VALUES NATURALNESS INDEX DEPENDING ON TYPE OF TERRITORY ........................................... 40
TABLE 6 PERCENTAGE OF MQ DEPENDING ON PERCENTAGE POOLS ...................................................... 42
TABLE 7 SLOVENIAN LEGISLATION CONCERNING EF.............................................................................. 55
TABLE 8 FACTOR F DETERMINATION FOR REVERSIBLE WATER WITHDRAWALS (WATER ACT ANNEX 1) ....... 58
TABLE 9 DESCRIPTORS AND THEIR CLASSES OF THE DECRIPTION OF TYPES OF WATER BODIES (MINISTRY OF
ENVIRONMENT AND SPATIAL PLANNING, 2005) ................................................................................. 60
TABLE 10 WET AND DRY PERIODS DEFINITION DEPENDING ON ECOLOGICAL GROUP TYPE ....................... 61
TABLE 11 GUIDING VALUES FOR THE GOOD ECOLOGICAL STATUS ........................................................... 72
TABLE 12 MINIMUM WATER DEPTH ....................................................................................................... 73
TABLE 13 MINIMUM FLOW VELOCITIES.................................................................................................. 73
TABLE 14 SIGNIFICANCE OF QUALITY COMPONENTS .............................................................................. 76
TABLE 15 SUMMARY OF EF ASSESSMENTS .......................................................................................... 85
TABLE 16 ENERGY LOSS DUE TO EF CONSTRAIN .................................................................................. 90

Preface
The present work is an outcome of the project SEE HYDROPOWER, targeted to improve water
resource management for a growing renewable energy production, in the frame of the South-EastEurope Transnational Cooperation Programme, co-funded by the European Regional Development
Fund (www.seehydropower.eu).
The project is based on the European Directive on the promotion of Electricity from Renewable
Energy Sources respect to the Kyoto protocol targets, that aims to establish an overall binding
target of 20% share of renewable energy sources in energy consumption to be achieved by each
Member State, as well as binding national targets by 2020 in line with the overall EU target of 20%.
Objectives of SEE HYDROPOWER deal with the promotion of hydro energy production in SEE
countries, by the optimization of water resource exploitation, in a compatible way with other water
users following environmental friendly approaches. Therefore, it gives a strong contribution to the
integration between the Water Frame and the RES-e Directives.
Main activities of the project concern the definition of policies, methodologies and tools for a better
water & hydropower planning and management; the establishment of common criteria for
preserving water bodies; to assess strategies to improve hydropower implementation, such as
small hydropower; testing studies in pilot catchments of partner countries; promotion and
dissemination of project outcomes among target groups all over the SEE Region countries.
In particular, the report D4.1 Comparative analysis of methodologies for the implementation of
Environmental Flows (EF), according to the WFD, which is part of the Work Package 4
Preserving water bodies ecosystems - is presented here.

1. List of abbreviations (Country where abbreviation is


used)

Coefficient which modulates the EFs hydrological component as a function of the


catchment area (Italy)

Area of the cross-section profile (Romania)

The parameter related to the interaction between surface and ground water (Italy)

BMLFUW

Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management


(Austria)

BOD5

Biological Oxygen Demand for 5 days

COD

Chemical Oxygen Demand

DO

Dissolved Oxygen

DPSIR

Driving forces, pressures, state, impact, response

EC

European Commission

EF

Environmental Flow

EFHYDRO

EFs hydrological component which is generally proportional to the mean annual


discharge and to the catchment area (Italy)

EFI+

European Fish Index plus

ENEL

National Body for Electric Energy (Italy)

ESHA

European Small Hydropower Association

EU

European Union

Coefficient for EF calculation (Slovenia)

The fruition parameter (Italy)

FIA

Fish Index Austria (Austria)

HQI

Habitat Quality Index

IBE

Extended Biotic Index (Italy)

Experimental parameter function of each hydrographical area (Italy)

kBENT

Benthic index which identifies five categories of ecological quality, taking values
between 0.2 and 1. Its quantification is based on the assessment of macro
invertebrates trophic structure (Italy)
5

kBIOL

Biological index; increases the EFs hydrological component proportionally to


ecosystem stress and it is expressed as a weighted sum of three sub-indices (Italy)

kFISH

Ichthyological index which considers the different fish species which are present in
the river stretch and assesses their habitat needs, modulating the released water
quantity; its equal to zero if fishes are naturally absent (Italy)

Ki

Environmental correction factors quantified on the basis of ecological considerations


or experimental activities on pilot case studies (Italy)

kMORP

Morphological index which corrects the released water quantity on the basis of the
prevalent granulometry. It's equal to zero in presence of concrete river bed (Italy)

kNAT

Naturalness index; it increases the EFs hydrological component proportionally to


the naturalistic value of the considered area (Italy)

LIM

Level of Pollution from Macro-Descriptors (Italy)

LQ

Lowest annual mean daily flow

Morphological parameter (Italy)

MALQd

Mean annual daily low flow

MQ

Mean flow/discharge (averaged on many years; l/s or m3/s)

MQsp

Specific average inter-annual flow rate (l/s/km2).

Naturalistic parameter (Italy)

NH4-N

Ammonium Nitrogen

NIMR

National Institute for Marine Research and Development Grigore Antipa (Romania)

NIRDD

National Institute for Researches and Development Delta Dunarii (Romania)

NIRDEP

National Institute of Researches and Development for Environmental Protection


(Romania)

NO3-N

Nitrate Nitrogen

NSDS

National Sustainable Development Strategy (Romania)

Water quality parameter (Italy)

Q95%

Yearly minimum monthly mean discharge with 95% probability of occurrence

RBA

River Basin Authority

RBMP

River Basin Management Plan

RWPP

Regional Water Protection Plan

Catchment area (Italy)

SECA

Defines the ecological status of waterways, combining the contributions of the IBE
and LIM indexes (Italy)

SHP

Small hydro power

SHPP

Small hydro power plant

Parameter related to the time modulation of reserved flow, due to particular


exigencies (Italy)

Water velocity

WB

Water body

WFD

Water Framework Directive

WPP

Water Protection Plans

WUA

Weighted Usable Area

The maximum value among the three parameters N, F and Q (Italy)

Perpetuity index, equals to the ratio between Q355 and the mean discharge (Italy)

Reduction coefficient of Q355 (Italy)

2. Introduction
This chapter was written by the Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management of
the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). The authors are Carina
Mielach, Rafaela Schinegger and Stefan Schmutz.
With regard to the Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2001/77/EF, RES-e Directive) the
share of energy from renewable energy sources should be increased to 20% of the gross final
energy consumption by 2020 (RES-e Directive, 2001). On the other hand, the Water Framework
Directive (Directive 2000/60/EF, WFD) states, that all water bodies have to maintain or achieve at
least a good ecological status/potential until 2015 (WFD, 2000).
Although hydropower production is often considered as green energy and contributes to the
fulfilment of the RES-e Directive, it causes significant pressure on aquatic ecosystems due to
habitat fragmentation, impoundments, hydro peaking and water abstraction, thereby counteracting
the WFD targets. Nevertheless, the WFD and the RES-e Directive have to work together. To fulfil
both directives, it will be necessary to increase the consideration of aquatic ecosystem processes,
when planning or renewing hydropower plants.
Water abstraction leads to reduced flow and the loss of high velocities, thereby changing a rivers
specific flow characteristics and flow variability. Bunn and Arthington (2002) state four important
principles of natural flow regimes (see also Figure 1):
1. Since flow determines physical habitat conditions, it also determines the local biotic
composition. This influence takes place at multiple spatial scales (i.e. catchment, reach,
local, etc.). Flow alterations enforce modified habitat conditions. Beside direct changes (as
e.g. depth, velocity) also other abiotic characteristics (as e.g. dissolved oxygen, water
temperature, sediment distribution and streambed stability) can be altered (Richter et al.,
1996), thereby influencing the local distribution of aquatic organisms.
2. Since aquatic species evolve their life history strategies in direct response to natural flow
regimes, flow alterations can enforce reproduction loss and, as further consequence,
reduction of biodiversity.
3. Natural flow regimes maintain longitudinal and lateral connectivity. Reduced flow restricts
organisms, which depend on the ability to move within the river network (e.g. for
reproduction, spreading, seasonal habitats or habitats of different life stages).
4. Keeping in mind the mentioned principles (1-3) flow alterations facilitate the invasion and
success of invasive species, which are less vulnerable to altered flow conditions.

Figure 1 Principles of natural flow regimes (Bunn and Arthington, 2002)

Facing the increasing water demand due to hydropower, drinking water, industry, irrigation or
tourism it is necessary to optimize water management strategies. There was not always a broad
acceptance to consider aquatic ecosystems as legitimate users of freshwater (Naiman et al.,
2002; Postel and Richter, 2003). The development of EF started with the definition of minimum
flows which turned out not to be sufficient to preserve aquatic ecosystems. Improvements lead to
the definition of EFs, including characteristics of the natural flow regime (Poff et al., 1997; Bunn
and Arthington, 2002; Postel and Richter, 2003; Annear et al., 2004; Biggs, Nikora and Snelder,
2005).
According to the International Water Management Institute (IWMI, 2005) there is no generally
agreed definition or term for EF. Gupta (2008) defines EF as discharges of a particular magnitude,
frequency and timing, which are necessary to ensure that a river system remains environmentally,
economically and socially healthy. This definition points out the compromise between the use of
water resources and the integrity of the river ecosystem. Although EF implementations mostly cant
return rivers to their natural state, they attempt to consider ecological requirements along with
social and economic needs.
As mentioned above not only the quantity of discharge is decisive, also the timing plays an
important role. Discharge dynamics are a key factor for sustaining and conserving native species
diversity and ecological integrity of rivers. The flow regime differs from river to river and shows
regional patterns determined by river size, climate, geology, topography and vegetative cover.
Therefore the following five criteria depend on the above described river characteristics (Poff et al.,
1997):

The maginitude describes the discharge of a given location per unit in time. Thereby,
maximum and minimum magnitudes (i.e. flows) depend, among other factors, on the
climate and catchment size.

The frequency refers to the interval, in which a given magnitude occurs. For instance, a
discharge of HQ100 has annual probability of occurrence of 0.01 while the mean flow (MQ)
has a frequency of occurrence of 0.5.

The duration describes the period of time, in which a certain condition is present. An
example is the number of days on which the discharge exceeds a certain threshold (e.g.
Q300).
9

The timing is the predictability of certain flow events. It defines their regularity of
occurrence. While some rivers show floods with high seasonal predictability (snow melt)
others may show floods with low seasonal predictability.

The rate of change, also known as flashiness, describes how fast a flow event devolves into
another (e.g. how fast a flood peak rises). While a stream with rapid changes is defined as
flashy, stable streams are characterized by slow rates of change.

Figure 2 Natural flow regime components (after Karr, 1991)

Although important factors of EF are clear, it is a great challenge to determine an ecologically


acceptable flow/EF that allows both, the sustainment of ecological processes and the abstraction
of water for human use. Keeping in mind, that there are natural differences in flow variability
among different river types it might not be possible to derive a universal and generally accepted EF
assessment method. Furthermore, the selection of a method also depends on the availability of
data and time. Therefore many different methods are currently in use. Although it is generally
agreed that the typical components of natural flow variability (see Figure 2) have to be maintained
to protect aquatic ecosystems and their biodiversity holistic methods are sometimes too complex to
be applied. Therefore, simplistic and static environmental flow rules neglecting the complexity of
natural system processes and interactions are sometimes preferred (Arthington et al., 2006).
According to Poff et al. (2003) guidelines for EF assessment can be developed in 2 different
contexts. For specific rivers (with high scientific or social interest) EF should base on natural flow
variability, best available hydro-ecological knowledge as well as expert opinions (see Best Practice
Examples in the following chapters) whereby the resulting EF has to be validated by monitoring.
However, for rivers where site-specific hydrologic and biotic data are absent (which is the case for
many rivers), a more general approach is needed. Here it should not be aimed for defining EF for
each unique river, but for different types of rivers. The types are identified based on key attributes
of flow variability, showing a natural range of hydrological and biotic variation. For each type, the
relationship between hydrological alterations and ecological response is investigated (Poff et al.,
2006). An example for such an assessment is the ELOHA tool (Poff et al., 2010; description follows
below).
Beside different definitions, there are also different classifications of EF assessment
methodologies. After presenting different possibilities to classify EF assessments, selected
methods and their affiliation are discussed.
One possibility to group EF approaches is according to Dyson et al. (2003) and Acreman and
Dunbar (2004), which base on the following 4 categories:

10

Look up tables provide simple rules of thumb and are most commonly used for EF
assessments. Examples are percentage-values (e.g. 10%) of the mean flow or exceedance
percentiles of the flow duration curve (e.g. Q95% as the flow which is equalled/exceeded in 95%
of the time). These indices should be based on statistical properties of the natural flow regime.
As flow data tend to be generally available, this approaches are rapid and can easily be
transferred to new regions. Nevertheless, they provide only minimum flows and their ecological
validity has to be tested for each particular region or even river reach.

Desk top analysis usually focus on the analysis of existing data and can be divided in two
groups, of which one bases solely on hydrological data and the other one uses both
hydrological and ecological data. The hydrological method tries to maintain the river integrity by
incorporating natural seasonality and variability of flows (floods and low flows and their
magnitude, timing, frequency, duration and rate of change). Hydro-ecological methods focus on
statistical relationships between independent hydrologic variables and dependant ecological
biotic variables. However, ecological data are not always present.

Functional analyses try to understand the functional links between hydrology and ecology,
covering many aspects of the river by incorporating hydrological analyses, hydraulic ratings,
biological data as well as expert opinions.

Hydraulic habitat modelling: Since it is difficult to relate hydrologic changes directly to the biotic
response, hydraulic habitat modelling uses the habitat of target species as an intermediate
step. As mentioned before water abstractions lead to reduced wetted width or flow velocity,
thereby changing habitat conditions. Some detailed approaches try to link these physical
conditions (e.g. depth, velocity) at different flows with physical conditions required by species.

Another classification is used by King, Brown & Sabet (2003), Davis & Hirji (2003) and Gupta
(2008), whereby the methodologies are divided into prescriptive and interactive approaches with
further subdivisions:
-

Prescriptive approaches can further be divided into the following 4 groups:


o

Hydrological index methods are mostly desktop approaches based on historical flow
records, whereby the nature of the river and its biota play a minor role. Thereby EF,
expressed as minimum flow, is either defined with regard to characteristics influencing
the flow (as e.g. drainage area, geomorphology, climate, vegetation cover and land use)
or flow duration curve analyses.

Hydraulic rating methods evaluate the relationship between different discharges and
hydraulic characteristics (e.g. depth, velocity, wetted perimeter) to define an acceptable
EF value. Although it already incorporates biotas needs it is still based on physical
features.

Expert panels base on the judgments of a team of experts, which evaluates the flow
needs of different aquatic species. Usually hydrologists, geomorphologists, aquatic
botanists and fish biologists are included (Davis and Hirji, 2003).

Holistic approaches try to establish an understanding of functional links between


interacting factors of hydrology (flow characteristics) and ecology (flow needs of biota).
To do so, the collection of considerable river-specific data is required.

Interactive approaches try to explain possible consequences of flow alterations by linking


different flow regimes to the river condition.

Finally, Tharme (2003), Dyson et al. (2003) and Arthington et al. (2006) use a slightly different
combination of already mentioned categories:
11

Hydrological index methods (see above)

Hydraulic rating methods (see above)

Habitat simulation methodologies (see hydraulic habitat modelling)

Holistic methodologies (see holistic approaches)


Table 1 Different EF assessment methods and their classification according to literature
Method

Dyson et al., 2003;


Acreman & Dunbar,
2004;
hydrol.
Look-up
tables
ecol.
hydrol.
Desktop
hydraulic
Analyses
ecol.

King, Brown & Sabet,


2003; Davis & Hirji,
2003; Gupta, 2008;

Tharme, 2003; Dyson et


al., 2003; Arthington et
al., 2006;

Q95
*
Tennant Method
Hydrol. Index
Hydrol. Index method
RVA
*
Wetted Perimeter Method
Hydraulic rating
Hydraulic rating
LIFE
*
BBM
Holistic Approach
Expert Panel Assessment
Holistic
Functional Analyses
Scientific Panel Approach
*
methodologies
Expert Panels
Benchmarking Method
*
FEM
*
WUA
*
Habitat modelling
PHABSIM
* Habitat simulation
Interactive
MesoHABSIM
Habitat modelling
*
* methodologies
approaches
IFIM
DRIFT
Frameworks
Holistic
ELOHA
* Holistic Approach
* methodologies
(* Classifications marked with an asterisk were not included in the above stated literature
and are suggestions of the authors.)

*
*

Q95% is purely chosen on hydrological grounds. If only a percentage of Q95% is used, this
percentage might be chosen based on ecological information (Barker and Kirmond, 1998).
The Tennant Method (Tennant, 1976), also known as Montana Method, is a simplistic approach
that defines EF values as percentage of the average daily discharge or mean annual flow (MQ).
Thereby, 10% MQ are considered as absolute minimum flow, 30% MQ are recommended for the
sustainment of a good haitat, while 60-100% MQ is expected to provide optimal habitat conditions.
Also natural flushing events (200% MQ) are recommended (Richter et al., 1997).
The Range of Variability Approach (RVA by Richter et al., 1997) uses indicators of hydrological
alteration (IHA by Richter et al., 1996). Thereby it bases on 32 different hydrological parameters
and their natural range of variation. These variables are used to characterize ecologically relevant
attributes of the local flow regime and to translate them into defined flow-based management
targets. The method suggests a natural flow paradigm including the full range of natural intra and
inter-annual variation of hydrological regimes and associated characteristics of timing, duration,
frequency and rate of change as critical factors to sustain the integrity of the riverine ecosystem
(Richter et al., 1997).
The wetted perimeter method assesses the area of submerged river bed. The method assumes
that the fish population size is connected to food availability, which depends on the wetted
riverbed. It evaluates the habitat availability (expressed as wetted perimeter) at a given discharge
(Gupta, 2008).
A method developed in the UK is the Lotic Invertebrate Index for Flow Evaluation (LIFE), which
incorporates macro invertebrate monitoring data (Extence et al., 1999; Dunbar et al., 2004). The

12

method bases on the abundance and a special designed metric depending on the sensitivity to
water velocity of each observed taxon (Acreman and Dunbar, 2004).
The Building Block Methodology (BBM; Tharme and King, 1998) states that aquatic organisms rely
on basic elements (i.e. building blocks) of the flow regime (e.g. low flows, medium flows and
floods). Therefore, EF is constructed by combining different building blocks, which are defined on
the experience of an expert group.
The Expert Panel Assessment Method (Swales and Harris, 1995), the Scientific Panel Approach
(Thoms et al., 1996) or the Benchmarking Methodology (Brizga et al., 2002) try to evaluate, how
much a flow regime can be altered before the integrity of the aquatic ecosystem is altered or
seriously affected.
The Flow Events Method (FEM; Stewardson and Gippel, 2003) is similar to a scenario analyses
and evaluates the frequency of hydraulically relevant flow indices (selected by experts) under
alternate flow regimes (Acreman and Dunbar, 2004). It consists out of 5 steps. After preparing a list
of ecological factors affected by flow variation, different flow events and their distribution in time are
analysed. Then hydraulic parameters (e.g. wetted perimeter) at these different flow events are
modelled. A comparison and evaluation of different flow management scenarios with regard to
ecological consequences leads to the specification of certain flow rules (Stewardson and Gippel,
2003).
Waters (1976) invented the concept of weighted usable area (WUA), which was used by the US
Fish and Wildlife Service (Bovee, 1982) to develop the computer model PHABSIM (physical habitat
simulation). It investigates the usable habitat for certain species under different flow scenarios
(Acreman and Dunbar, 2004).
A similar model is MesoHABSIM (Mesohabitat Simulation Model) which is used for the modelling of
instrem habitats at a site specific river scale. Thereby, the computer model SimStream is used to
predict the habitat availability of aquatic communities for different discharge scenarios
(Parasiewicz, 2001).
The Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM; Bovee and Milhous, 1978) is a very technically
sophisticated approach that bases on transect-based hydraulic analyses for the evaluation of basic
habitat conditions (as e.g. depth, velocity, and substrate) at different discharges. By combining a
biological (habitat preferences of certain species) and a hydraulic model (habitat availability at
different discharges) the approximation of a suitable EF can be performed (Poff et al., 1997).
The DRIFT method (King et al., 2003) was developed in South Africa and aims to consider all
aspects of the river ecosystem. It consists of four modules (Acreman and Dunbar, 2004):
-

The bophysical modul evaluates changes of the ecosystem (e.g. hydrology, hydraulics,
geomorphology, water quality, riparian vegetation, aquatic plants and organisms etc.) in
response to altered flow.

The socio-economic studies for all used river resources.

Scenario-building for flow optimization.

Economics to consider compensation costs of each scenario.

ELOHA (Poff et al., 2010) is a method trying to build the gap between simplistic and holistic
approach by incorporating essential aspects of natural flow variability, taking into consideration the
magnitude, frequency, timing, duration, rate of change and predictability of flow events (Arthington,
13

2006). ELOHA stands for ecological limits of hydrologic alteration and bases on the premise that
increasing degrees of flow alteration enforce increasing ecological change. Thereby the
relationship between altered flow and ecological response is expected to differ among river types.
The evaluation of the relationship bases on the testing of plausible hypotheses stated by experts.
Ecological response variables are most suitable if they react to flow alterations, allow validation
using monitoring data and are esteemed by society (e.g. for fishery) (Poff et al., 2010).
The following 4 steps lead to EF according to ELOHA (Arthington et al., 2006):
1. Ecologically meaningful flow variables (including important components as given in Figure 2)
are derived from the natural hydrograph and used to develop a reference-stream classification.
The
Indicators
of
Hydrologic
Alteration
(IHA;
download
at:
http://conserveonline.org/workspaces/iha) is a software to understand human induced
hydrologic changes and to assess their ecological impact. It can be used to determine
environmental flow components as e.g. the timing and maximum flow of each years largest
flood (Richter et al., 1996). The Hydrological Integrity Assessment (HAT; Olden and Poff,
2003) is a tool to select the most important variables and to exclude redundant metrics.
2. Since the different flow variables show natural variation within each river type, it is necessary to
define the natural range of variation. Therefore, frequency distributions of each flow variable in
each type are derived.
3. Altered streams have to be assigned to river types either by estimating their natural condition
or based on other river characteristics. Then, the degree of modification in comparison to the
natural variable range of the class is assessed. At a certain threshold of deviation it is very
likely that ecological impairment occurs.
4. Using flow-response relationships for ecological integrity and data from reference and impaired
streams for each flow variable, the modification-threshold at which ecological response occurs
is ecologically validated. So, a quantitative relationship between ecological indicators in
undisturbed and to a certain degree disturbed flows is developed.
As it can be seen, many different methodologies were developed and are currently used.
Nevertheless, it is a challenge to translate the knowledge of hydrologic-ecological principles into
specific management rules (Poff et al., 2003), especially on short term and with limited data
availability. The selection of the appropriate methodology depends on available resources (e.g.
time, money, and data) and the question stated. Finally, it has to be kept in mind that each EF
assessment, may it be calculated by a simple rule of thumb or a holistic method, has to be
evaluated with regard to its biological effectiveness and sufficiency, and if necessary, has to be
adapted.
EF can be defined using many different methodologies, whereby it is often discussed which
method is the most suitable. In the end it is not the selected method and the resulting EF that has
to be evaluated, it is the good ecological status, demanded by the WFD, which has to be achieved
and maintained.
In the following chapters EF assessment methods from different countries (i.e. Romania, Italy,
Austria and Slovenia) and their framework (i.e. included ecological parameters, hydrological
components, monitoring, objectives, etc.) will be discussed. Best practice examples are used to
illustrate some methodologies.

14

3. EF in Romania
The following chapters deal with EF in Romania and were written by the National Administration
Apele Romane (APELE, project partner 8) and the University Politehnica of Bucharest (POLI-B,
proejct partner 7).
Authors are Andreea Galie, Florentina Isfan, Ileana Tanase (from APELE) and Bogdan Popa (from
POLI-B).

3.1. Policy and Regulations


Although Romanian policy and regulations do not specify precisely the Environmental Flow (EF)
assessment, the following regulations state indirectly, that one should take EF into consideration.
In Romania, Guiding Schemes for Water Resources Planning and Management elaborated
and reviewed by the National Administration Apele Romane (Romanian Water Authority) for each
main river basin or groups of river basins are the instrument for water planning and management.
Each Guiding Scheme has two components:

River Water Resources Planning (water quantity management) and

River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) (water quality management), developed in line with
the WFD and sent to the European Commission (EC);

According to the Romanian Water Law, Article 43 - (11) Guiding Schemes set in an integrated
manner the environmental objectives for surface water bodies and groundwater, seeking to
achieve the following goals:

Good ecological status for surface water bodies, good ecological potential for artificial or
heavily modified water bodies and a good chemical status for the surface waters;

Good chemical status and equilibrium between the water supply and the groundwater
recharge for all underground water bodies;

Diminishment of negative effects of floods, droughts and accidental pollution;

The RBMP is the instrument for both water quality management and fulfilling the WFD
requirements. One of the hydro-morphological water quality elements (WFD, Annex 5) is river
continuity indirectly referring to EF. Within WFD there is no direct specification to EF.
In Romania, according to the provisions of Water Law 310/2004 article 64(1), the owners of water
works (water intakes, dams and reservoirs) are obliged to assure downstream a certain amount of
water for water uses (servitude flow) and also for aquatic environmental protection (EF). A detailed
description will follow in chapter 3.2.
For Romania, as a member state of the European Union (EU), sustainable development is not one
of several possible options, but the only rational perspective for advancement as a nation, resulting
in the establishment of a new development paradigm at the confluence of economic, social and
environmental factors. The National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) of Romania
2013-2020-2030 was adopted by GD NO. 1460/2008 and aims to connect Romania to a new
philosophy of development adopted by the EU and widely shared globally, which is the philosophy
of sustainable development. The NSDS of Romania has 3 time steps (short, medium and long
term) with the following targets:
15

2013: To include the sustainable development principles and practices into Romanian
public policies and programs;

2020: To achieve the current mean level of EU states regarding the main indicators of
sustainable development;

2030: To approach significantly to the 2030-mean level of EU States regarding the main
indicators of sustainable development;

One of the crucial challenges for Romania is conservation and management of natural resources.
The overall objective of the NSDS on the above-mentioned issue is: To improve management and
avoid overexploitation of natural resources, recognizing the value of ecosystem services. More
information concerning conservation will follow in chapter 3.3.1.
In Romania, the WFD was totally transposed in the Water Law 107/1996 amended by Law
310/2004 and Law 112/2006 and modified by G.E.O. 3/05.02.2010 published in the Official
Gazette No. 114/19.02.2010. Other legal acts referring to the WFD implementation are mentioned
below:

G.E.O. 12/2007 amending and supplementing certain laws transposing EU acquis in the
field of environmental protection adopted by Law 161/2007 published in Official Gazette
no. 153/02.03.2007;

M.O. 161/2006 for approving the norms on surface water quality classification in order to
establish the ecological status of water bodies, which replace GD 1146/2002 published in
Official Gazette no. 511/13.06.2006;

M.O. 661/2006 regarding the approval of the norms concerning the technical
documentation in order to obtain the water management licenses and permits, which
amends MO 277/1997 published in Official Gazette no. 658/31.07.2006;

M.O. 662/2006 includes the approval procedure and competencies for issuing water
management authorizations published in Official Gazette no. 661/1.08.2006;

M.O. 1258/2006 approving the methodology and technical instructions for guiding the
development schemes published in Official Gazette no. 17/10.01.2007;

G.D. 930/2005 for approving special rules regarding nature and size of sanitary and
protection zones published in Official Gazette no. 800/02.09.2005;

M.O. 913/2001 (unpublished) regarding the approval the framework structure of the RBMP;

G.D. 472/2000 (OJ no. 272/15.06.2000) on measures to protect the quality of water
resources;

MO. 1125/2002 (unpublished) for approval the committee for coordinating and monitoring
the application of Directive 2000/60/EC and other directives in the water field.

The quality elements for the classification of surface water quality are mentioned in MO 161/2006
(Norms regarding the classification of the surface water quality in order to establish the ecological
status of the water bodies, see Table 1). Some provisions of MO 161/2006 are mentioned below:
Appendix - Norms regarding the classification of the surface water quality in order to establish the
ecological status of the water bodies
Art. 1.

16

(1) It is approved the list of biological, hydro-morphological chemical and physico-chemical


quality elements to establish the environmental status of continental ecosystems - rivers
and lakes, natural and artificial or irreversibly altered, provided in Table 1.
(3) Establishing the environmental status of continental aquatic ecosystems must be based on
the biological quality elements, taking into account the hydro-morphological, chemical,
physico-chemical indicators and specific pollutants influencing biological indicators.
Assessment of these factors may indicate the presence of natural conditions, their minor
alterations or the human impact magnitude, respectively, quality status of water bodies in a
given period.
(4) Biological elements underlying the assessment of ecological status for large rivers and
Danube River will be taken into consideration according to the following hierarchy:
1)

Phytoplankton

2)

Phytobenthos

3)

Benthic invertebrate fauna

4)

Macrophytes

5)

Fish fauna

(5) It is established five ecological classes status for rivers and lakes: high (I), good (II),
moderate (III), poor (IV) and bad (V) based on biological quality elements, hydromorphological, chemical and physico-chemical under paragraph (1).
(6) For the artificial aquatic ecosystems or irreversibly altered are established: high potential
(E), good potential (B), or moderate potential (M).
Table 2 Quality elements for the assessment of the ecological status of rivers
Quality elements
biological elements

hydro-morphological
elements

chemical and physicochemical elements

Parameters measured in the River


composition and abundance of aquatic flora;
composition and abundance of benthic invertebrate fauna;
composition, abundance and age structure of fish fauna;
hydrological regime:
quantity and dynamics of water flow;
connection to groundwater bodies;
river continuity;
morphological conditions:
river depth and width variation;
structure and substrate of the river bed;
structure of the riparian zone;
general:
thermal conditions;
oxygenation conditions;
salinity;
acidification status;
nutrient conditions;
specific pollutants;
priority substances identified as being discharged into the body of water;
pollution by other substances identified as being discharged in significant
quantities into the body of water;
(Selection from table 1, Appendix MO 161/2006)

As Table 2 indicates, the WBs ecological status is determined by the structure and function of the
ecological status of aquatic ecosystems. In accordance with Annex V Water Framework
Directive, the quality elements are biological, hydro-morphological (hydrological regime, river
continuity, morphological conditions), general physico-chemical elements and specific pollutants
17

(the last two types of elements represent supporting elements for the biological elements).
Appendix MO 161/2006 doesnt specify what indicators are used for classifying the status of water
bodies (the classification of water quality using the 5-classes system).
The National Institute of Researches and Development for Environmental Protection (NIRDEP)
developed in 2008 the Study regarding the elaboration of the classification systems and global
assessment of the surface water status (rivers, lakes, transitional waters and coastal waters) in
line with WFD requirements based on the biological, chemical and hydro-morphological elements.
The outputs of the study were used in the First National Water Basin Management Plan, which was
handed to the EC in March 2010.
WFD transposed by Romanian Water Law takes into account the importance of river continuity
and hydrological regime, thereby indirectly including EF.

3.2. EF Assessment
In Romania there is no legal regulation on computing the EF. Nevertheless, the Water Law
establishes obligations on assuring EF and defines the following terms:

Sanitary discharge/EF (Qsan) is the minimum discharge required for continuous flow, in a
section on a watercourse, to provide/assure the natural life conditions for the existing
aquatic ecosystems (Appendix No. 1 of the Water Law).

Servitude discharge/flow (Qserv) is the minimum flow required to be continuously supplied in


a section on a watercourse, downstream a dam, consisting of the sanitary discharge/EF
and the minimum discharge necessary for the downstream water users (Appendix No. 1 of
the Water Law).

The calculation of servitude discharge is done based on the sanitary discharge (see
equation (3.1).

Qserv Qsan Q

(3.1)

where
o Q = water required by the other downstream water uses.
In general, in the technical book of a Romanian dam, Q95% (yearly minimum monthly mean
discharge with 95% probability of occurrence named dilution flow) is recommaned as guaranteed
flow meaning the water release downstream the dam and its value (Q95) is in line with the
recommendations made by European Small Hydropower Association (ESHA) being in range Q90%
to Q99%.
Currently, in Romania the flow that should be assured downstream of transversal water works
should comply with the conditions specified within the water management permits/issues, assuring
the functioning of the aquatic ecosystem placed downstream of a water work (sanitary
discharge/EF) and in addition assuring the amount of water required by the other water uses
(servitude discharge/flow).
In addition, other provisions in the Water Law refer to the terms above mentioned:

Art. 41(2): Servitude discharge/flow and sanitary discharge/environmental flow, mandatory


in a watercourse, in relation to specific sectors of the river, with the level of the river basins

18

development, taking into account the demand of water resources and ensuring compliance
with the imposed conditions for protection of the aquatic ecosystems, according to the law,
it is established, in stages, by the National Administration "Romanian Waters.

Art 64(1): The juridical persons with water works under their administration or exploitation
are obliged to use the water intakes, dams and reservoirs in accordance with the dispatch
graphs, on the basis of the monthly operating programs, to ensure the water demand for
industry, agriculture and population and for required flow in order to protect the aquatic
ecosystem, correlated with the power generation activity.

Art 52 paragraph 4: The damming works of the watercourses must be provided with
installations that can ensure the necessary downstream flow, as well as with structures
necessary for the migration of the ichthyofauna if, based on a study, it proves to be
required.

Further provisions dealing with EF are:

Ministerial Order no. 1163/2007 in Art 6 (3) k: refers to EF: providing, in the downstream
of retention or diversion/deviation water works, the minimum in stream flow required to
maintain a favourable conservation status of aquatic species of flora and fauna and to meet
other water uses demands.

Order 1215/2008 - Technical Norms: The hydrotechnical works designing will consider
the compliance limits allowed for morphological, physico-chemical, and biological aquatic
ecosystems indicators, to meet the main purpose of achieving the environmental objectives
in all regularized water courses.

3.2.1. EF Calculation
Due to the lack of a legally implemented formula for the EF/sanitary discharge, several formulas
are currently being in use in Romania. Two examples are the national method and a formula
proposed by Andreea Galie. These formulas will be discussed below.
In general, the Romanian studies started with ecological models trying to find the relationship
between habitat conditions (e.g. river channel shape, flow velocity) required for conservation and
development of fish and a certain amount of water (discharge).
Romanian studies compared

the discharge derived from ecological models (EF) run at local scale and

a certain discharge already computed all over Romania, in order to obtain a general
mathematic equation available for the whole country

and for the moment came to the conclusion that the best relationship is between EF and Q95%
(which is already available for all Romanian rivers). Another conclusion of the Romanian studies
was that a general mathematic relation, available for whole Romania is very difficult to derive.
Therefore it seems easier to compute EF for each case.
In the first RBMP, standing on the available studies done by the research institutes, EF was
considered to be the minimum between Q95% (yearly minimum monthly mean discharge with 95%
probability of occurrence) and 10% out of the mean discharge averaged on many years (see
equation (3.2)), i.e. minimum value between:

19

EF Q95%

EF MQ 0.1

and

(3.2)

where

Q95% = the yearly minimum monthly mean discharge with 95% probability of occurrence and

MQ = the mean discharge averaged on many years.

Another formula was proposed by A. Galie in the book Impacts of Climate Change on Water
Resources and Water Management Systems edited by TYPORED in 2006. It is applicable for river
basins with a surface area below 3000km2. It should ensure the adequate conditions for the
preservation of fish.
This formula was used in the draft of the first RBMP (submitted to the EC in 2004) and still is used
in the Institute of Hydroelectric Studies and Design until a regulation will be in force. It was not
legally implemented.
The first step is to draw up cross-section profiles in some characteristic sectors, in particular where
there are fish ways. To find out the main fish species for each characteristic cross-section, the map
in Figure 3, pointing out the Romanian fisheries areas, is used.

Figure 3 Romanian fisheries areas (Bnrescu, 1964)

The stream area (A) is derived from the selected cross-sections, by using the river depth, pointed
out in Table 3, corresponding to the existent fish fauna. The water velocity (v) may be computed by
using Chezys formula and should be within the boundaries mentioned in Table 3.
Table 3 Habitat features for fish
Fish species
Trout
Grayling
Nase

Water velocity (m/s)


1.0 2.0
0.8 1.5
0.7 1.0

Water depth (m)


0.2 0.5
0.3 0.6
0.5 1.0

Chub

0.5 1.2

0.8 1.5

Reproduction period
October-November
March-April
April-May
May-June (in the south of Romania)
June-July (in the north of Moldova and in Transilvania)

20

Barbel

0.5 0.8

0.5 2.0

Carp

< 0.5

1.0 2.0

May (in south of Romania)


June-July (Moldova, Transilvania)
July-August

The derived values are then inserted in the equation (3.3).

EF v A

(3.3)

where

v = water velocity and

A = area of the cross-section profile

The procedure has been applied on some main/representative measuring stations located on the
Tarnava and the Mures river basins. The method points out that there is a very good correlation
between the EF and yearly minimum monthly mean discharge with 95% probability of occurrence
(Q95%) given in the following equation:

EF Q95%

(3.4)

where and are coefficients depending on the river and measuring stations and

1 and

Using formula (3.4) for the analysed measuring stations, the following two equations (3.5) and
(3.6), applicable for river basins with a surface area less than 3000 km2, were derived.

EF Q95% 0.1

for Q95% 200l / s

(3.5)

EF 1.25 Q95% 0.05

for Q95% 200l / s

(3.6)

Taking into account that the dilution flow (Q95%) has been determined all over Romania, the
formulas (3.5) and (3.6) should be used for the determination of EF in cases where there are not
enough cross-section profiles along the studied river. Since the method computes a minimum EF
for the aquatic ecosystems, a variation depending on time should be considered.
As described above, the method proposed by A. Galie links the required habitat for fish (water
velocity and depth) to Q95% and tries to prove that the dilution flow Q95% is close to minimum EF
required by fish. Therefore it is an ecological method. The Romanian scientific community agreed
that the EF is comparable with the dilution flow (Q95%) for the Romanian types of rivers.
If the regulatory acts of water management are provided to ensure a higher rate than the minimum
value mentioned above as sanitary discharge, it is necessary to maintain the authorized value. If
the water management authority is considering a possible development of the downstream uses,
thereby conservation and development of aquatic ecosystems, resulting from the application of
Guiding Schemes for Water Resources Planning and Water Management, require an additional
flow to be collected from river basin. The additional discharge is computed, based on robust
studies and its results will be taken into account when issuing the permits (River Basin
Management Plan, 2009).
The National Institute of Hydrology and Water Management is performing detailed studies in order
to find a better relationship between water quantitative aspects and biological quality elements,
21

thereby including the maintenance of the habitat conditions, river channel shape and processes
occurring in the aquatic ecosystem (such as seasonal flow conditions, fish spawning and breeding
periods). The group is expected to finalize a standard for computing EFs until the end of 2011.
Depending on the answer of biota, the optimum EF will be gradually derived for each specific case
and as far as possible a standard will be elaborated. So far, the dilution flow (yearly minimum
monthly mean discharge with 95% probability of occurrence) was accepted as the sanitary
discharge, being the most appropriate for the Romanian hydrologic regime.

3.2.2. EF Parameters
There are many important parameters which have to be considered when quantifying EF. At the
moment the calculation of EF in Romania bases on hydrologic data and biological quality
components, namely fish, are only considered indirectly since Q95% seems to be close to minimum
EF as the method by A. Galie tried to prove. In the future, the Romanian experts will carry out more
studies for choosing an EF value to ensure a better correlation with the biological elements. Taking
in consideration the diversity of species, processes that occur in aquatic ecosystems (as e.g.
reproduction periods), maintenance of habitat conditions and river channel shape as well as other
parameters are therefore planned for the future.

3.2.3. EF Restrictions
M.O. no. 9/2006 for the approval of the methodology for development plans and water use
restrictions during deficit/draught periods stipulates in the Art. no. 23 that: Determination of the
necessary minimum flow rate should be done on sectors or areas and the setting up of the
synoptic diagram and required-minimum flow graphic should be prepared separately for summer
and winter. The plan is updated whenever it is necessary, in situations of attention/warning and/or
restriction phases. Chapter III of Methodical instruction regarding the elaboration of a Plan of
restrictions and water uses during deficit periods contains the preliminary plan of restriction for
water uses: stages, steps of restrictions and discharges allocated for water uses or groups of water
uses. In Art no. 32 it is stipulated that the preliminary program of restrictions on economic
objectives will include flows necessary for the water uses on characteristic steps of restriction
situations for the periods of water shortage at source. There are 2-4 steps/stages of restriction and
in case of multiple sources are elaborated possible scenarios.
The criterias for adopting the most appropriate operational decisions that lead to less damages for
the uses whose operation capabilities are affected and on the overall national economy too (MO
no. 9/2006):
a) reduction in steps of the flows abstraction for irrigation
b) temporary reduction of the minimum value for sanitary flow, with a maximum of 50%
c) reduction of the flows allocated for fish farms
d) reduction in steps of the flows for industrial uses
e) partial or total restriction of water supply to industrial uses with more weight in the
processes wich generate water pollution
f) intermittent restriction of the water supply for domestic use and livestock farms
General provisions referring to restrictions on the amount of water required to sustain healthy
aquatic ecosystems are mentioned in other Romanian regulations. For example, Ministerial Order
no. 1163/2007 Article 3 mentions: Technical engineering design and construction watercourses
22

planning solutions must take into account their dynamics and meet environmental concepts known
that the water is considered a continuous system with hydrological connectivity (longitudinal, lateral
and vertical) and variable system time.
The Ministerial Order no. 76/2006 regarding approval of the methodology of elaboration and
competences for approval of the reservoir operation rules and programs, a methodological norm
for elaboration of the river basin operation rules and frame-rule for the operation of dams,
reservoirs and intakes - foresees certain rules for low and high water situations mentioning, also
the required instream flow. Art 3 of this Order, Appendix 3 Frame Rule for the operation of
dams, reservoirs and intakes, Chapter I 1.4.7. refers to EF consideration by including the
minimum instream flow in the downstream water course (servitude flow, sanitary discharge)" in the
list of functions (i.e. water uses) of the water work.
Appendix 1 Chapter 6 Art 19 (2) provides that: In low flow periods as well as in high flow periods,
the operation of reservoirs and water intakes are subordinated to the demands of the respective
period, in accordance with the provisions of Drought Plans or Flood Defence Plans.
Depending on the function and purpose of the water work, the following operation code rules are
distinguished:
a) operation rules for the hydraulic structure;
b) operation rules for the river basin coordination meaning operation rules for the cascade of
reservoirs or other complex hydraulic structures with impact on the hydrological regime in
the watershed, river basin or sub-basin.
Operation rules during low flow/dry periods include the following restriction: it is prohibited to open
outlets or bottom gates in order not to waste water accumulated in the reservoir.
It is possible, that hydropower plants have to shut down their production during these periods. The
residual flow (servitude discharge) must be assured, but in case of the restriction/draught a
temporary reduction of max. 50% is possible.
Water supply provided by the reservoir is released according to dispatch-graphs and the restriction
plan of water use in the dry period.

3.2.4. EF Monitoring/Effectiveness
The general monitoring of the water quality according to WFD requirements is performed by
National Administration Apele Romane (Romanian water authority) and its Water Basin
Authorities. In the Water Law Article 41(2), there are clear indications which authority is
responsible for the activity: Servitude discharge/flow and sanitary discharge/environmental flow,
mandatory in a watercourse, in relation to specific sectors of the river, with the level of the river
basins development, taking into account the demand of water resources and ensuring compliance
with the imposed conditions for protection of the aquatic ecosystems, according to the law, it is
established, in stages, by the National Administration "Romanian Waters. Other institutions related
to monitoring activity for water quality are National Institute for Researches and Development
Delta Dunarii (NIRDD) for Danube Delta, National Institute for Marine Research and
Development Grigore Antipa (NIMR) for Black Sea and Public Health Departments for drinking
water.
No concrete technologies in monitoring and assessing EFs are used in Romania, others than those
used for water bodies ecological status/potential assessment according to WFD requirements.
23

Furthermore there are no particular technologies for monitoring EFs others than usual methods to
assess the hydrological regime.
In the RBMPs (first cycle), it is specified that water body monitoring systems were developed and
adapted according to WFD requirements from December 2006 until present, but the process of
assessment of the ecological status/potential was done with medium and low confidence. The
following activities should lead to increase confidence in the assessment:

Development of a classification system considering all the quality elements, all categories
and types of water bodies in accordance with WFD requirements by continuing and
deepening of research; the classification system should ensure correlation between
biological quality elements, physico-chemical and hydro-morphological supporting
elements;

Testing and validation of the classification system;

Participation in the European intercalibration process to ensure a high degree of confidence


and to ensure comparability of class boundaries;

Further development of a monitoring system to cover all quality elements (biological,


physico-chemical and hydro-morphological) and all investigative media (water, sediment
and biota), having in view the frequency in order to ensure high confidence in evaluating
the status of water bodies;

Some of the norms used by the Romanian hydrologists are the following:

International norms EN ISO 772/1999;

Romanian standard SR En ISO 772/2001;

Guide to Hydrological Practices WMO 168/2008;

Manual on Stream Gauging WMO 1044/2010;

Manual of estimation of Probable Maximum Precipitation WMO 1045/2010;

There is an IT system established within National Administration Apele Romane and its water
basin authorities for the general flux of data on hydrological regime and reservoir operations but
there is no particular IT system for EFs. Some abiotic parameters are recorded in a database of the
National Institute for Hydrology and Water Management. The biotic parameters are recorded
separately within the national Administration Apele Romane. Some steps are done in order to
build only one database.
In the Water Law there are clear indications on monitoring in Article 35 (12): the monitoring
programs for surface water will include:
a) monitoring the volume and level of flow to define the ecological and chemical status and the
ecological potential;
b) monitoring the ecological and chemical status and the ecological potential.
1.3.

Ecological and chemical status monitoring of surface water bodies

1.3.1

Design of surveillance monitoring program

1.3.2. Design of operational monitoring program


1.3.3. Design of investigation monitoring program

24

1.3.4. Frequency of monitoring


1.3.5. Additional monitoring requirements for protected areas
1.3.6. Standards for monitoring quality elements
1.4.

Classification and presentation of ecological status

1.4.1. Comparability of biological monitoring results


1.4.2. Presentation of monitoring results and classification of ecological status and
ecological potential
1.4.3. Presentation of monitoring results and classification of chemical status
In Romania, there is no national/regional authority responsible for assessing the effectiveness of
EF assessment. The National Administration Apele Romane and its basin administration
authorities assess the status of the water bodies in order to monitor the achievement of the
established environmental objectives, using the classification system developed in line with the
WFD provisions. The evaluation of surface water status in the second RBMP will check indirectly
the effectiveness of EF assessment used in the first cycle of the management plan using the
thresholds established for hydro-morphological elements (the classification of water quality using
the 5-classes system).

3.3. Objectives, Aims and Goals


Stating that the good ecological status/potential is an objective to be achieved by 2015, the
Romanian legislation considers indirectly that EF assessment is critical for health of the rivers
(ecological integrity of riverine ecosystems). Furthermore, the management objectives foresee an
EF ensuring that the biological quality elements achieve the thresholds set up for the good
ecological status respectively the good ecological potential.
There are no other objectives of EF assessment than the WFD goals. These objectives regarding
surface and groundwater bodies and protected areas were transposed into Romanian legislation
by Water Law 107/1996 with subsequent amendments.

3.3.1. Assets
Water related species and habitats require a certain amount of water in order to maintain a viable
population or a favourable conservation status, not necessarily only those from natural protected
areas. Increasing or decreasing the amount of water within a river stretch for a long time period,
conduces to ecosystems modifications until their extinction or modification of their habitats.
Indirectly, Water Framework Directive, Habitat Directive and Birds Directive
dictate/recommend preserving a certain amount of water for aquatic creatures. Ensuring these
water environmental requirements assures the water ecosystem durability.
Romania is part of Natura 2000 Network, whereby water related sites are placed mainly on the
lower Danube corridor. A specific target of the NSDS is to preserve biodiversity and the natural
heritage by supporting the management of protected areas, including the implementation of the
Natura 2000 Network. The main objective is to implement adequate management systems for
nature protection in order to conserve biological diversity of natural habitats and wild flora and
fauna species. The proposed actions aim enhancement of institutional capacity, at local and
national level and involvement of public in order to comply with EU relevant directives, especially
those referring to birds and habitats, in correlation with development of Natura 2000 Network.

25

The objective of the Habitat Directive (transposed in Romanian legislation by G.O. no.
57/20.06.2007 with subsequent modifications) is conservation, maintenance and where is the
case, attainment of a favourable conservation status on long term of natural habitats and/or
protected population species. In addition, if we strictly refer to aquatic ecosystems, Annex 4 point
5 of the WFD mentions that the register of protected areas should include areas designated for
the protection of habitats or species where the maintenance or improvement of the status of water
is an important factor in their protection, including relevant Natura 2000 sites designated under
Directive 92/43/EEC and Directive 79/409/EEC.
Protected areas are areas of the territory of each basin, designated based on specific requirements
of protection according to community laws. Within our pilot river basins (Prut and Ialomita Rivers)
some natural reservations are placed which might benefit from the implementation of EF (see
Figure 4 and Figure 5).

26

Figure 4 The natural reservations located in Prut River Basin

27

Figure 5 The natural reservations located in Ialomita River Basin

According to the Water Framework Directive (Annex IV) several types of protected areas were
identified and mapped at the national level. These are
i.

areas designated for the abstraction of water intended for human consumption under
Article 7;

ii.

areas designated for the protection of economically significant aquatic species;

iii.

bodies of water designated as recreational waters, including areas designated as bathing


waters under Directive 76/160/EEC;

iv.

nutrient-sensitive areas, including areas designated as vulnerable zones under Directive


91/676/EEC and areas designated as sensitive areas under Directive 91/271/EEC; and

v.

areas designated for the protection of habitats or species where the maintenance or
improvement of the status of water is an important factor in their protection, including
relevant Natura 2000 sites designated under Directive 92/43/EEC (1) and Directive
79/409/EEC (2).

Most important for this study are point ii and v. For these types of protected areas water is
necessary for the biological integrity of the asset.
Important ecological assets in the Romanian watercourses are:

Endemic fish species (endangered rare species) whose survival depends on the existence
of a minimum flow in the river bed (e.g. Romanichthys Valsanicola living in Valsan river
within the Arges River basin);

Species of fish that survive in waters with high flow velocity, low temperatures and high
oxygen saturation (e.g. salmonids: trout, grayling, huck);
28

Requirements to preserve the natural conditions of rivers to allow movement of fish


upstream and downstream of barriers: Danfordi Eudontomyzon and Cottus gobio species
(e.g. Cormaia and Valea Pietrelor River within the Somes-Tisa River Basin);

Migratory fish species that migrate long distances upstream (longitudinal connectivity) to
spawn and some of which migrate to the sea for breeding and then return to the river and
other species that live in the sea and whose reproduction is placed in fresh water (e.g.
sturgeons from the Danube river);

Many benthic invertebrates activity depend on a regular cycle of temperatures throughout


the year (e.g. insects from Plecoptere family due to low temperatures that delay their
metamorphosis);

Fish species that spawn on the vegetation from the river bank (lateral connectivity); these
species do not tolerate high flow rates during this period because these might wash away
fish eggs and transport them downstream;

In addition, it is a well-known fact that many aquatic creatures coordinate their reproductive cycles
with seasonal flood frequency. The floods provide areas with stagnant water, shallow and the
banks covered with vegetation and shade where juvenile fish can feed and hide from big predators.
If the EF would have a form of hydrograph (varying in time) with peaks during breeding time of the
significant fish species, the implementation of EF will be beneficial. Lateral connectivity will benefit
also if the EF would have such shape.
Other benefits than the already mentioned ones are:

Improvement of ecosystem functions;

Saving costs associated with additional water treatment or improvement of the flow
parameters for surface and groundwater bodies;

Protection of groundwater bodies;

Productivity growth in fisheries and aquaculture;

Faciliate development of tourism and recreation activities;

Improvement of human health;

Unquantifiable environmental values;

Contribution to fulfilment of other legal requirements;

Mitigation of climate change impact;

Mitigation of flood risk.

3.3.2. Expected Oucome


The classification system and global assessment of water status was developed by the National
Institute of Environmental Research and Development Bucharest and collaborators. The study set
up indicators for the assessment of quality elements (biological, chemical, physico-chemical and
hydro-morphological elements) according to WFD requirements but the indicators have not been
enacted so far.
Biological quality elements are already used in Romania since 2009 in order to assess the water
bodies status. The monitoring system in accordance with WFD (including biological quality
29

elements) was fully implemented in 2006. In 2009, the typology of Romanian watercourses was
redefined (it was defined in 2004). In the same year (2009), the water quality from the biological
point of view, within the 11 main Romanian river basins was assessed based on monitoring of the
following biological elements: benthic invertebrates, phytobenthos and phytoplankton.
The classification system links the ecological assets with the expected ecological outcomes.
In order to fulfill the requirements of 161/2006 Normative, the fish fauna and aquatic macrophytes
have been monitored. Assessment of water quality on the basis of fish monitoring was performed
using the method EFI+ (European Fish Index plus; EFIplus Consortium, 2009). The evolution of a
saprobic index for benthic invertebrates was especially taken into account on the biological
characterization of the quality of water courses. Data processing was done with the program
WatQual 2008 (rivers and lakes) (Synthesis on water quality, National Administration Apele
Romane, 2009).
The next (future) RBMP should aim for a better relationship between water quantitative aspects
and biological quality elements. The second phase of the intercalibration exercise (planned to be
finished in 2011) will bring clarification, especially on biological elements still left unrated (not
assessed).

3.4. Best Practice Example in Romania


In Romania, a best practice example concerning EF has not been determined yet. But the
collaboration among biologists and engineers should be intensified in future.
The risk assessment has been done at the WB level based on DPSIR (driving force, pressure,
state, impact, response) approach. For the evaluation of the risk of failing the environmental
objectives, the identified significant pressures have been taken into account, considering a
baseline scenario, as well as their impact on the water bodies. In order to assess the impact and
the risk of failing the environmental objectives the following risk categories were considered:

pollution with organic substances,

nutrient pollution,

pollution with hazardous substances and

hydro-morphological alterations;

In the first RBMP, the risk assessment has been done for:

WBs status/potential characterization, taking into consideration that for some WBs there
were no methods and/or monitoring data according to the WFD provisions, and the WBs
grouping was not possible to be used (low confidence);

establishing the supplementary measures;

application of cost effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses;

application of exemptions in reaching the environmental objectives. (River Basin


Management Plan, 2009)

In the process of first RBMP development, public information, consultation and participation
activities have been undertaken. During 2008, the program of measures has been presented and
discussed with stakeholders from the river basins. In this respect, 4 meetings/consultation sessions
30

have been organized with specific stakeholders in every river basin authority (RBA), having in view
the measures for reducing the pollution from agglomerations, industry and agriculture for reducing
the impact of hydromorphological alterations. During 2009, other meetings were organized with
stakeholders in order to ensure the process of consultation of the drafts of the RBMPs.
Also, other methods to collect the public views like internet tools and questionnaires have been
used. In general, the views and comments from stakeholders and public have been taken into
account.
Information about the energy loss due to EF implementation in Romania can be found in chapter 8
(Annex).

3.5. National References Romania


Andreea Galie-Serban (2006): Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources and Water
Management Systems, edited by TYPORED.
Bnrescu P. (1964): The fauna of Romanian Popular Republic. Vol XIII Pisces Osteichthies,
Academy Publishing, Bucharest, 1964.
Directive 76/160/EEC of 8 December 1975 concerning the quality of bathing water published in
Official Journal L 31, 5.2.1976, pg. 17.
Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds published in Official Journal
L 103, 25.4.1979, pg. 118.
Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste-water treatment, published in
Official Journal L 135, 30.5.1991, pg. 4052.
Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 December 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution
caused by nitrates from agricultural sources, published in Official Journal L 375, 31.12.1991, pg. 1
8.
Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and
flora published in Official Journal L 206, 22.7.1992, pg. 750.
Draft of the First River Basin Management Plan (2004): not legally implemented - (submitted to the
European Commission in 2004).
G.D. 1460/2008 - National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) of Romania 2013-20202030, published in Official Gazette no. 824/08.12.2008.
G.D. 472/2000 on measures to protect the quality of water resources; published in Official Gazette
no. 272/15.06.2000.
G.D. 930/2005 for approving special rules regarding nature and size of sanitary and protection
zones published in Official Gazette no. 800/02.09.2005.
G.D. no. 80/26.01.2011 for the approval of the National Management Plan related to the portion of
the international Danube District covering Romanian territory was published in the Official Gazette
no. 265/14.04.2011.
G.E.O. 12/2007 amending and supplementing certain laws transposing EU acquis in the field of
environmental protection adopted by Law 161/2007 published in Official Gazette no.
153/02.03.2007.
G.O. no. 57/20.06.2007 (with subsequent modifications) regarding the regime of protected natural
areas preserving natural habitats, wild flora and fauna, transposing Habitat Directive published in
31

Official Gazette no. 442/29.06.2007.


M.O. 1125/2002 (unpublished) for approval the Committee for coordinating and monitoring the
application of Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC and other directives in the water field.
M.O. 1258/2006 approving the methodology and technical instructions for Guiding Schemes for
Water Resources Planning and Management - published in Official Gazette no. 17/10.01.2007 with
Appendix 1-3 published in Official Gazette, I Part, no. 17 bis.
M.O. 161/2006 for approving the norms on surface water quality classification in order to establish
the ecological status of water bodies, which replace GD 1146/2002 published in Official Gazette
no. 511/13.06.2006.
M.O. 661/2006 regarding the approval of the norms concerning the technical documentation in
order to obtain the water management licenses and permits, which amends MO 277/1997
published in Official Gazette no. 658/31.07.2006.
M.O. 662/2006 includes the approval procedure and competencies for issuing water management
authorizations published in Official Gazette no. 661/1.08.2006.
M.O. 913/2001 (unpublished) regarding the approval of the framework structure of the River Basin
Management Plan.
M.O. no. 1163/2007 regarding approval of measures for improving the technical solutions for
design and building of the hydro-technical works for development/redevelopment of the rivers, in
order to fulfill environmental objectives in the water field, published in Official Gazette no.
550/13.08.2007.
M.O. no. 1215/2008 for approving the technical norms for hydro-technical works NTLH001
Criteria and principles for the assessment and selection of the technical solution of design and
building of the hydro-technical works for development/redevelopment of the rivers, in order to fulfill
environmental objectives in the water field, published in Official Gazette no. 744/04.11.2008.
M.O. no. 76/2006 regarding approval of the Methodology of elaboration and competences for
approval of the reservoir operation rules and programs, a Methodological Norms for elaboration of
the river basin operation rules and frame-rule for the dams operation, reservoirs and intakes,
published in Official Gazette no. 192 / 01.03.2006.
M.O. no. 9/2006 for the approval the Methodology for development plans and water use
restrictions during deficit periods, published in Official Gazette no. 331/12.04.2006.
National Institute of Researches and Development for Environmental Protection (NIRDEP) (2008):
Study regarding the elaboration of the classification systems and global assessment of the surface
water status (rivers, lakes, transitional waters and coastal waters) in line with WFD requirements
based on the biological, chemical and hydro-morphological elements 2008.
River Basin Management Plan (2009).
Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC published in Official Journal L 327, 22.12.2000, pg. 173.
Water Law 107/1996 amended by Law 310/2004, Law 112/2006 and G.E.O. no. 3/2010 published
in Official Gazette no. 114/19.02.2010.

32

4. EF in Italy
The following chapters deal with EF in Italy and were written by ARPA Veneto, the Land Safety
Department (ARPAV, project partner 1).
Authors are Dino Gasparetto, Italo Saccardo and Matteo Cesca.

4.1. Policy and Regulations


The concept of constant minimum acceptable flow, which has to be guaranteed after diversion
works was introduced by Law no.183 of 18 May 1989. It also regulated soil and water protection
through soil management, conservation and recovery within river basins, surface water protection
and management, regulation of mining activities to prevent hydro-geological risks, protection of the
coastal environment from sea waters, rational use of surface and ground waters by an efficient
water management, including administration of drinking water supplies and agricultural uses. The
river basin was indicated as the unit where environmental protection activities have to be designed
and performed.
The Law no. 183/1989 already contained many elements characterizing the Water Framework
Directive (WFD):

Coordinated management of water resources cycle;

Reference physical system considered in all its components (natural and anthropic
environment);

Strong relationship between water resources protection and environmental quality;

Possibility to divide the River Basin Plan into sub-Basin Plans;

Public participation;

In particular, the Law no. 183/1989 introduced in Italy the River Basin Authorities (RBA), with the
aim of creating authorities responsible for basin planning and coordination of different
administration layers dealing with water. RBAs were defined in different manner, according to the
dimension of the river basin. In particular, rivers were classified into three types and the competent
authorities were identified. This decision increased the institutional complexity:

Regional rivers: Regions are directly responsible as RBA;

Inter-regional rivers: Neighbouring Regions constitute the RBA;

Basins of national interest:


o Institutional Committee: decision board, composed by regional governors and 4
ministries from the national government;
o Technical Committee: has the function of discussion and validation of proposals;
o General Secretariat: provides the bulk of the work, often in collaboration with
regional and ministerial officers and executives.

To translate the European objectives into concrete domestic policy measures, the Law no. 183 of
18 May 1989 has been repealed by the Legislative Decree no. 152 of 3 April 2006. Since the
WFD 2000/60/CE suggests that new policies should be developed on the territorial scale of
hydrographical districts, in which different hydrographical basins are comprised, the Legislative
33

Decree no. 152/2006 disposed the creation of 8 hydrographical districts with the relevant district
authorities holding planning and programming functions, and abolished the existing RBAs.
However, since no concrete transitional measures have been foreseen, the old RBAs continued to
perform their functions, based on some emergency legislative acts that periodically postponed their
deferral. The establishment of the new authorities has not been completed so far because of
numerous inconsistencies regarding their mandate, composition and functions. Nonetheless, in
accordance with European Community (EC) obligations, the established districts are Serchio,
Padano, Eastern Alps, Northern Apennines, Central Apennines, Southern Apennines, Sardinia and
Sicily. River basin management plans are available for all hydrographical districts but Sardinia
and Sicily.
The Presidential Decree of July 1995 defines River Basin Plans contents as follows:

Physical system characterization (Item 1, Annex VII - WFD);

Pressure analysis (Item 2, Annex VII - WFD);

Quality and quantity water resources characterisation (Item 2, Annex VII WFD);

Monitoring networks (Item 4, Annex VII - WFD);

Social and economic analysis (Item 6, Annex VII - WFD);

Identification of criticalties (analysis stage of acquired informations);

Measures programs (Item 7, Annex VII - WFD);

Inventory of existing plans (Items 8 and 10, Annex VII - WFD);

Public participation (Item 9, Annex VII - WFD).

Further legal acts dealing with Environmental Flow (EF) are:

Legislative Decree no. 275 of 12 July 1993 concerning the legislative rearrangement of
public water concession, prescribing that concessions have to be granted duly taking into
account the EF to safeguard, wherever defined, the quality and seasonal equilibrium of the
water body.

Legislative Decree no. 152 of 11 May 1999 concerning the protection of water from
pollution and defined a framework for integrated action for the protection of the water
ecosystems; the Decree transposed the European Union Directives 91/271/EEC (urban
waste water treatment) and 91/676/EEC (nitrates) and defined the main requirements for
water quality monitoring in inland waters, coastal waters, estuaries and lagoons. In
particular, Heading II of Title III of the law deals with the quantitative safeguarding of water
resources and water saving. In this context there are references to the EF. The appropriate
RBA defines and periodically updates the water balance between the availability of
locatable resources in the area and the needs for the different uses, observing the general
criteria and objectives. In the river basins characterized by substantial withdrawals or
transfers, diversions are regulated so that they assure the flow level needed to sustain life
and ecosystems. In this regard, provision is made for Water Protection Plans (WPP) to
adopt measures aimed at ensuring the equilibrium of water balance as defined by the RBA.
Within six months of the enforcement date of the decree, the Minister of Public Work should
provide for the definition of the guidelines for the establishment of water balance, including
census criteria to ascertain present abstractions and to define the EF.

Law no. 36 of January 1994 concerning the reorganization of the public services that was
charged with water abstraction, water supply and distribution, and waste water treatment. It
34

introduced some new elements into the applicable legislation, including the public nature of
water, the requirement to ensure the reproductively of the resource, the principle of the
integral coverage of the costs of the services through the rates on water resources and
Optimal Water Management Districts. In particular, it prescribed that in basins affected by
significant withdrawals or conveyances both downstream and beyond the watershed,
diversion works should operate so that the flow necessary to river life survival should be
guaranteed, together with the safeguarding of the ecosystem equilibrium. It should be noted
that the prescription of the EF has not been accompanied by rules concerning its
quantification.

Legislative Decree of 28 July 2004 (Ministerial Guidelines for the definition of the
environmental flow) defines the EF as the instantaneous discharge which has to be
determined along an homogeneous stretch of a river to ensure the safeguard of its physic
features, the maintenance of the chemical water characteristics, the presence of the typical
biocenosis corresponding to the natural local conditions. These Guidelines recommend the
quantification of the EF along all stretches of rivers defined as "significant", characterized
by specific functional purpose or heavily subjected to human impacts. Furthermore it
suggests identifying different values during the year and the possibility to assume values
greater than zero during periods of natural drought, to define the general cases for
exceptions, for limited and defined period of time, and the obligations to monitor the
diverted water volumes.
In accordance with the Legislative Decree no. 152/1999, a natural river stretch is defined
as significant when the following conditions are verified:
o The river flows directly into the sea and the river basins extension exceeds 200 km2.
o The river is classified as second-order river (or more) and the river basins extension
exceeds 400 km2.
If a river is characterized by a discharge equal to zero for more than 120 days per year, it
cant be defined as significant.

As mentioned above, the first legal acts regarding the qualitative definition of the EF were issued
since 1989 (Law no. 183). The EF was initially associated to the idea of a minimum constant flow
to be guaranteed in the river bed with the aim to promote a balance between human needs
(irrigation, energy production etc.) and those of the aquatic ecosystem. In 1994 the concept of EF
was modified and the adjective constant disappeared from its definition. The need of a minimum
flow in basins affected by significant water withdrawals had to be evaluated by the local RBA
which had the task to define and regularly update the water balance. However, the prescription of a
EF has not been accompanied by rules concerning its quantification.
The first studies which aimed to quantify the EF were carried out in 1995 by a technical
commission established by the Po RBA. This commission defined the first provisional rules to
quantify the EF to be guaranteed after diversion works inside the Po River Basin and the possible
indicators for monitoring its application. In 1999 Italian legislators established the normative bases
for the EFs definition and quantification. The quantitative protection of the water resources
became functional to the achievement of the qualitative goals for aquatic ecosystems. The RBAs
had the task to define the basin-scale objectives which had to be pursued at the regional-scale
through the regional WPPs. In this context, in 2002, the Po RBA established the qualitative
objectives for the Po river basin and quantitatively defined the EF and the modalities for its
implementation. These general criteria were adopted by the regions located in the Po river basin
and implemented in the Regional WPPs through the quantification of the site-specific parameters.
The Ministerial Guidelines for the definition of the EF have been issued only in 2004 and the
35

subsequent Legislative Decree no.152/2006 definitely established that the rules for EFs
calculation have to be defined in the WPPs, which are approved by the single Regions in
accordance with the general objectives proposed by the local RBA. For this reason in Italy there
are different methods to quantify the EF depending on the regional legislation.
Legislative Decree no. 152 of 3 April 2006 states that all withdrawals located along a stretch of
a river should not affect the minimum vital flow downstream of the watershed and the cleanliness
of the water". The quantitative protection of water has an autonomous value, connected to the
sustainability of the use of the resources, and also a functional value related to qualitative
protection. Section II, Part III of the Law is based on two closely interrelated concepts, water
equilibrium and water saving. The equilibrium of the water balance, pursued through measures
contained within the WPPs, is defined by the River Basin Authorities, bearing in mind the needs,
availabilities, minimum vital flow, aquifer recharge capacity and use made of the resource which is
compatible with the characteristics of the water bodies. The WPP has to be approved by the
Region, in accordance with the objectives defined by the local RBA. The data related to the
quantitative aspects are collected via devices to measure the flow volumes and the diverted public
water volumes and then placed into circulation between the competent administrations (Art. 95).
The equilibrium of the water balance is also mentioned in Section III, Part III, with a regulation that
partially reproduces that contained in Section II. Here the need is affirmed to guarantee the
equilibrium between the availabilities of resources that can be located or activated in the area of
reference and the needs for the different uses, requesting the competent River Basin Authority to
adopt measures to plan the water economy, and imposing the diversions regulation in such a way
as to guarantee the necessary flow level required for life in the rivers and the equilibrium of the
ecosystems affected (Art.145). The conceding authorities must contemplate the concession of
quantities of water that guarantee the minimum vital flow (defined by Decree of the Ministry of
the Environment after prior agreement with by the State-Regions Conference) in water bodies, for
all water diversions. In this sense, the conceding authorities, after carrying out the census of all the
uses that take place in the same water body, can proceed to review this census, applying
temporary or quantitative provisions or limitations. In both cases, the payment of compensations by
the Public Administration is excluded, except for the relative reduction of the state concession levy
(Art. 95).
In Italy there isnt a legal act concerning EF valid for the whole country and a uniform treatment is
not yet implemented. Indeed, the Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 established that the rules for
EFs calculation have to be defined in the WPPs, which are approved by the single Regions in
accordance with the general objectives proposed by the local River Basin Authority.
Bylaw no. 7/2002 issued by the Po River Basin Authority defines environmental flow as the
flow that must be maintained downstream of water diversions in order to preserve vital conditions
of ecosystem functionality and quality. It consists of a basic hydrological component, proportional
to the mean annual discharge, corrected by means of some coefficients that take different
environmental aspects into account (morphology of the riverbed, functional uses, quality objectives
defined by the Water Protection Regional Plans).
The Bylaw no. 7/2002 issued by the Po River Basin Authority is available only for the Po River
Basin, the most important river basin in Italy, and its general criteria were adopted by the Regions
located in the Po river basin and implemented in the regional WPPs through the quantification of
the site-specific parameters, It also represented an important act because the proposed approach
has been implemented in other regions and in different river basins.

36

4.2. EF Assessment
The Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 established that the rules for EFs calculation have to be
defined in the regional WPPs, which are approved by the single regions in accordance with the
general objectives proposed by the local RBA. For this reason in Italy there isnt a standard
methodology in assessing EFs. Generally it consists of a basic hydrological component,
proportional to the mean annual discharge, corrected by means of some coefficients that take
different environmental aspects into account (morphology of the riverbed, functional uses, quality
objectives defined by the Water Protection Regional Plans).
In Italy, the methodologies used for EF determination can be subdivided into three major
categories:

Expeditious regional methods, that use hydrological data to quantify the basic hydrological
component of the EF; These methods can be subdivided into three different approaches of
EF calculation:
o Hydrological and morphological approach uses variables and data of the river basin;
o Hydrological approach uses river annual medium flow data;
o Statistical approach uses natural flow duration curve of the river;

Experimental methods that aim to determine the relation between flow and habitat quality;
these methods generally concern the predetermination of reference species;

Hybrid methodologies that include biological data.

Expeditious regional methods are useful to quantify EFs hydrological component while
experimental methods can provide an estimate of the correction factors. Hybrid methodologies are
often used in pilot case studies.
Other, more experimental methods use different variables, such as:

Non-transformed hydraulic variables: these methods are based on the assumption of


existing correlations between flow dependent hydraulic variables and aquatic ecosystem
improvement;

Biologically transformed hydraulic variables: these methods use more than one hydraulic
and structural variables, such as e.g. PHABSIM microhabitat method;

Biologically transformed multiple variables: these methods use a multiple regression


approach to define optimum habitat characteristics for reference species;

4.2.1. EF Calculation
In accordance with the Legislative Decree no. 152/2006, the rules for the site-specific parameters
calculation have to be defined in the regional WPPs, which are approved by the single Regions (a
total of 21) in accordance with the general objectives proposed by the local RBA.
In the Veneto Region, EF is regulated by the WPP approved in November 2009. As mentioned
above, in 2002 the Po RBA established the qualitative objectives for the Po river basin and
quantitatively defined the EF and the modalities for its implementation. These general criteria were
adopted by the regions located in the Po river basin and implemented in the regional WPPs
through the quantification of the site-specific parameters. These are the site-specific parameters
for the EFs basic hydrological component which is applied in the Veneto Region in the territory

37

included in the Po river basin.


Art. 42 of the Veneto Regions Water Protection Plan states that for the Po river basin the EF is
quantified as determined with the Bylaw no. 7/2002 issued by the Po RBA:
The general expression for EF is based on the quantification of a basic hydrological component
proportional only to hydrological parameters and of an environmental component which takes into
account ecological aspects (see equation (4.1)).

EF EFHYDRO K 1 K 2 K n

[l / s ]

(4.1)

where

EFHYDRO = EFs hydrological component which is generally proportional to the mean annual
discharge and to the catchment area;

Ki = environmental correction factors quantified on the basis of ecological considerations or


experimental activities on pilot case studies.

The above mentioned general criteria were established in the Bylaw no. 7/2002 issued by the Po
RBA, which computed the EF as follows:

EF k MQsp S M Z A T

[l / s ]

(4.2)

where

k = experimental parameter function of each hydrographical area (~ 0.08 - 0.12);

MQsp = the specific average inter-annual flow rate (l/s/km2);

S = the catchment area (km2);

M = the morphological parameter (0.7 1.3); it expresses the need for adaptation of the
EFs hydrological component to the specific riverbed morphology and local runoff regime; it
considers the riverbed slope, morphological types, presence of pools and permeability of
the substrate;

Z = the maximum value among the three parameters N, F and Q, where:


o N = the naturalistic parameter (1, the higher the naturality of the river is, the higher
the value of the parameter); it expresses the need to protect areas characterized by
a high degree of naturalness. It can assume values greater than 1 in presence of
water bodies located in national parks or regional natural reserve, in areas identified
in the Ramsar Convention, Nature 2000 or characterized by significant scientific,
natural, environmental and productive interests.
o F = the fruition parameter (1, the higher the fruition of the river for other uses (e.g.
tourism, fishery) is, the higher the value of the parameter); The fruition parameter
(F) expresses the need to guarantee adequate water quantity in areas characterized
by tourism and social uses (also bathing).
o Q = the water quality parameter (1, the higher the pollution of the river is, the
higher the value of the parameter); it expresses the need for dilution of pollutants
derived from human activities and can assume values greater than 1 if specific
quality objectives have to be reached.

A = the parameter related to the interaction between surface and underground water (0.5
38

1.5; lower value if water table contributes to reserved flow, higher value otherwise); it
considers groundwaters contribution in the formation of EF. Analysis to verify the
interaction between surface and underground water have to be carried out at least for water
bodies characterized by highly permeable substrate.

T = the parameter related to the time modulation of reserved flow, due to particular
exigencies during the time of the year (fish spawning, tourism, etc.).

For new water concessions the imposition of the whole EF (hydrological and environmental
components) is contemporary to the concession grant, while the existing water concessions have
to respect the hydrological component by 31 of December 2008 and the application of correction
factors by 31 of December 2016. In particular, the hydrological component is proportional to the
mean annual discharge, so the amount of water required to sustain healthy aquatic ecosystems is
strictly connected with flow regime.
The formula obtained by the Po RBA is the most exploited in Italy for its ease of application and
cheapness. It considers several important factors, such as the quality and natural value of the
stream; its limit is the major simplification made for a complex biological balance such as a
watercourse. The formula was derived by comparing theoretical and experimental data collected in
ten sub-basins, which were considered sufficiently representative of climatic, hydrological and
geomorphological aspects within the Po river basin.
Since the correction factors have not to be applied until 2016, the following parameters are defined
for the basic hydrological component:

MQsp = 30 l/s/km2;

k = 0,14

The Bylaw no. 7/2002 issued by the Po RBA suggests increasing water releases in the river bed
during critical periods for fish populations as e.g. the first phase of the life cycle and reproduction
periods. These periods depend on the basin's characteristics, species of reference and climatic
parameters. During reproductive phases abrupt discharge fluctuations must be avoided in the
riverbed, since they could cause dry zones on reproductive areas or changes of the runoff regime,
incompatible with the required bala7nce for the reproductive habitat. The diversification of the flow
regime may instead be required to mitigate stress on biological communities caused by the
constancy of the hydraulic regime.
Table 4 Critical periods for fish
Fish species
Salmonids in Apline area
Salmonids in Apennine area
Cyprinids

Critical period
November January
December February
May - July

Art. 42 of the Veneto Regions WPP states that for the Piave river basin the EF is quantified as
determined with the specific bylaws issued by the RBA responsible for the Isonzo, Tagliamento,
Livenza, Piave and Brenta-Bacchiglione rivers. EF consists of a basic hydrological component
(EFHYDR), proportional to the mean annual discharge, corrected by means of some coefficients
(kBIOL, kNAT) that take different environmental aspects into account (see equation (4.3)).

EF (k biol k nat ) EFHYDR .

[m 3 / s ]

(4.3)

where

39

kBIOL = biological index; increases the EFs hydrological component proportionally to


ecosystem stress and it is expressed as a weighted sum of three sub-indices:
o kBENT = the benthic index which identifies five categories of ecological quality, taking
values between 0.2 and 1. Its quantification is based on the assessment of macro
invertebrates trophic structure;
o kFISH = the ichthyological index which considers the different fish species which are
present in the river stretch and assesses their habitat needs, modulating the
released water quantity; its equal to zero if fishes are naturally absent;
o kMORP = the morphological index which corrects the released water quantity on the
basis of the prevalent granulometry. It's equal to zero in presence of concrete river
bed.

kNAT = naturalness index; it increases the EFs hydrological component proportionally to the
naturalistic value of the considered area:
Table 5 Values naturalness index depending on type of territory
kNAT
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0.0

Type of territory
National/regional/local river parks
National parks
Regional park and natural reserve
Protected landscape regional area of provincial jurisdiction
Protected landscape regional area of local jurisdiction
Areas not included in the previous categories

EFHYDR = EFs hydrological component, which is calculated as follows:

EFHYDR. S ( MQsp / 1000) [m 3 / s ]

(4.4)

where
o S = catchment area;
o = coefficient which modulates the EFs hydrological component as a function of
the catchment area;
o = reduction coefficient of Q355;
o = perpetuity index, equals to the ratio between Q355 and the mean discharge;
o MQsp = specific average inter-annual flow rate (l/s/km2).
In particular, the coefficients and are set equal to 0.33 and is expressed as a function
of the catchment area as follow:

1.62 S 0.15

(4.5)

EF is definitely expressed as:

EF (k BIOL k NAT ) 1.62 S 0.15 0.33 0.33 S ( MQsp / 1000)

[m 3 / s]

(4.6)

That is:

EF (k BIOL k NAT ) 177 S 0.85 MQsp 10 6

[m 3 / s]

(4.7)

The values of the parameters are defined for each homogeneous section of the river and vary
40

depending on the season. The biological index kBIOL and the naturalness index kNAT respectively
increase the EFs hydrological component proportionally to ecosystem stress and naturalistic value
of the considered area. The sum of these site-specific parameters, which are listed for each
homogeneous section of the Piave river, is always greater than one. However, the RBA has
conventionally established that, during periods characterized by natural low discharges (between
1st June and 31th August and between 1st December and 28th February), the EF has to be
decreased and limited to the hydrological component. This is achieved by requiring that the sum of
the correction parameters is equal to unity. In particular, this restriction has been introduced just to
reflect the natural seasonal variability of the river flow.
For the Tagliamento river basin the EF is quantified as determined with the specific bylaws issued
by the RBA responsible for the Isonzo, Tagliamento, Livenza, Piave and Brenta-Bacchiglione
rivers. It divided the basin into four homogeneous areas (A, B, C, D) and defined the following
specific (per unit area) minimum flow rate which has to be released after diversion works:

Area A = 4 l/s km2;

Area B = 5 l/s km2;

Area C = 6 l/s km2;

Area D = 3 l/s km2.

These values have been calculated for each homogeneous area by multiplying the specific
discharge Q355 with a reduction coefficient equal to 0.33. EF is quantified multiplying the value of
the catchment area (calculated upstream diversion works) for the corresponding specific minimum
flow rate.
Finally, with reference to the rivers for which the EF was not determined (e.g. Brenta river), the
reference values to ensure downstream diversion works are:

4 l/s/km2 for a catchment area lower than 100 km2;

3 l/s/km2 for a catchment area higher than 1000 km2;

These values are not calculated but are reasonable for the purpose.
Different alpine regions (also outside the Veneto Region) are carrying out experimental methods
(such as increasing releases, fix or time modulated) to define adequate EF. Following, some
examples for methods are given:

PHABSIM: the method is based on the knowledge of the combination of the parameters
water depth, flow velocity, temperature and sediment preferred by the most part of the fish
species. Under these presuppositions, once known the range of preference and defined the
desired spectrum of fish species, the reserved flow necessary can be calculated.

Habitat Quality Index (HQI): model based on multiple regressions. It links the so called
bearing capacity for Salmonids of a river stretch with a set of ecological parameters and
requires collection of a great number of different environmental data necessary to calculate
the biomass of Salmonids which can live in the river stretch.

Pool Quality Index: model derived from the HQI method, based on the maximisation of the
hydraulic diversity: the higher the number of pools in a torrent, the lower the reserved flow
is. Depending on the percentage of pools, the method supplies the following values for EF
(see Table 6).

41

Table 6 Percentage of MQ depending on percentage pools


0

10

20

8.7

8.2

7.9

70
4.3

% pool
30
40
EF (% MQ)
7.6
7.4
EF (% Q355)
EF (l/s/km2)

50

60

70

7.2

7.0

6.9
50
3.6

4.2.2. EF Parameters
For EF quantification, many important parameters have to be considered. In Italy, the diversity of
species is only partially included. For instance in experimental activities on pilot case studies or in
local EFs applications (e.g. Piave river basin) EFs assessment includes specific considerations
about the diversity of species. Also processes in aquatic ecosystems are only partially included,
since the application of correction factors to take into account different environmental aspects will
be completely executed by 31 of December 2016. But processes in aquatic ecosystem are already
considered in experimental activities on pilot case studies or in local EFs applications in
accordance with specific Water Regional Plans dispositions. For new water concessions, the
application of correction factors, if already defined, could be contemporary to the concession grant.
Parameters as the maintenance for habitat conditions and river channel shape became functional
to the achievement of a good ecological and chemical quality status, as required by the WFD.
These features are quantified through the morphological parameter M (0.7-1.3) which expresses
the need for adaptation of the EFs hydrological component to the specific riverbed morphology
and local runoff regime. It considers the riverbed slope, morphological types, presence of pools
and permeability of the substrate. Also other parameters (touristic fruition, time modulation, water
quality, interaction between surface and underground water, landscape protection) are only used
for new water concessions. If already defined, they could be contemporary to the concession grant.

4.2.3. EF Restrictions
EF has to be released throughout the whole water concession period. All water concessions have
to respect the EFs hydrological component since 31 of December 2008, as provided by the
regional WPP and specified in the rules and regulations of the individual water concession order.
For each homogeneous section of the river, the amount of the released water could vary
throughout the year, as provided by the regional WPP and specified in the rules and regulations of
the individual water concession order. For new water concessions, correction factors could
consider the time modulation and magnitude of EF.
The technical regulations promulgated by the Po RBA demands site-specific studies to assess the
environmental parameters according to different regional needs. The ecological effects of flow
reductions have been studied from 1995 in the Taro River Regional Park. The summer flow
reduction due to water abstraction for irrigation determined a fragmentation of the aquatic habitat,
with consequences in isolation for the ichtiofauna in the few residual pools. The water depth
became the limiting hydraulic factor for the adults of Barbus plebejus and Leuciscus cephalus,
isolated in habitats characterized by critical environmental conditions and low indexes of macrobenthic diversity and evenness. Diurnal temperatures of the pool waters exceeded 28C, the
imperative Italian law values for cyprinids, and dissolved oxygen concentration at the end of the
night reached 24% of saturation. The negative effects on ecosystem could be mitigated by
temporal modulation of EFs, with the application of the specific T coefficient (with reference to the
formula contained in the Bylaw no. 7/2002 issued by the Po RBA) at hour scale, with increased
water release at least during the night.
42

4.2.4. EF Monitoring/Effectiveness
EF can be seen in a broader perspective, considering not only aspects linked to the survival of
water habitats but also the whole river functionality in relation to quality objectives in the riverine
environment and the sustainable use of resource.
Evaluation methodologies have been developed and adapted, starting from the old methods
exclusively based on hydrological criteria to the actual experimental procedures analysing several
variables related to the hydro-morphological characters of the water body, the chemico-physical
quality, the water-related biocoenosis and phytocoenosis.
The Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 disposed the creation of 8 new hydrographical districts
(Serchio, Padano, Eastern Alps, Northern Apennines, Central Apennines, Southern Apennines,
Sardinia and Sicily) with the relevant district authorities holding planning and programming
functions, and abolished the existing RBAs. It also established that the regions must draft WPPs
for their territory which contains aspects such as a description of the state of the water bodies,
qualitative and quantitative water protection measures, in order to assist the design of the River
Basin Management Plans (RBMP) at a district scale. But the Legislative Decree no. 152/2006
was not fully effective until recently. In fact, only at the beginning of 2009 the Law no. 13/2009
provided for WFD implementation in the RBMPs, which should have been ready by the 22
December 2009 and should have included previous WFD activities (e.g. river basin
characterisations, monitoring activities). However, the establishment of the new district authorities
has not been completed so far because of numerous inconsistencies regarding their mandate,
composition and functions and therefore the old RBAs continued to perform their functions, based
on some emergency legislative acts that periodically postponed their deferral.
In order to carry out the RBMPs, the EU Member States were supposed to take concrete
operational measures, starting with the following three actions:

An exhaustive appraisal of all surface and ground waters;

A review of the human activity impact on water status;

An accurate economic analysis of water use;

In accordance with the WFD, the Ministerial Decree no. 56/2009 provides for 3 types of
monitoring: surveillance, operational and investigative.

Surveillance monitoring is undertaken for water bodies likely to be at risk (that is, where
available data does not allow to assign the risk category and further information is required)
and for water bodies not at risk. Surveillance monitoring may also be undertaken at points
in water bodies at risk that are important for the assessment of long-term variations
resulting from widespread anthropogenic activities, or that are particularly significant at
basin level, or where held necessary by the regions on the basis of the characteristics of
the area involved. The priority target for surveillance monitoring is water bodies likely to be
at risk so that the effective risk condition can be established.

Operational monitoring is to be undertaken for the category of water bodies at risk in order
to establish the status of the water body identified as being at risk of not meeting
environmental objectives as well as assessing any changes in the status of such water
bodies due to programmes of measures for the purpose of classifying such water bodies.

Investigative monitoring will be carried out for specific cases, where the reasons for any
exceedance is unknown or where surveillance monitoring indicates that there is the risk to
fail the objective. It may also be undertaken to assess the magnitude and impacts of
43

accidental pollution. The surveillance monitoring cycle must be six yearly while operational
monitoring shall be undertaken on a three-yearly basis.
The responsibility for environmental protection and monitoring has been largely devolved from the
national level to the regions, provided that the minimum requirements of the national legislation are
satisfied. In particular, according to activities planned by the regional WPP, the regions carry out
the monitoring and investigations necessary to verify the effectiveness of water releases
downstream diversion works, particularly when abnormal conditions on flow regime are verified (Po
RBA - Bylaw no. 7/2002). The range and extent of programmes may vary but local monitoring can
be divided into different categories, such as trend detection and general quality characterization,
discharge (point and diffuse) impact assessment and post-pollution incidents.
For constant water releases, monitoring is realized through a direct measurement of the
instantaneous discharge next to withdrawal spots. Monitoring activities are carried out in
compliance with ISO quality standards through the visual reading of a fixed staff gage or the
verification of the discharge outlets position. Data eventually recorded through continuous
monitoring device are kept available to the granting authority for at least five years. (Piemonte
Region - WPP). If necessary, the data related to the quantitative aspect are then placed into
circulation between the competent administrations (Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 - Art. 95).
In Italy there is no complete, homogeneous and updated repertoire of data related to water
resources, nor has there been a continuous and complete flow of data to a single authority
responsible for compiling, preparing and publishing it. The Italian territory is divided into eight river
basin districts (which, after the last reforms, group together the 11 former national river basins, the
18 interregional river basins and the other regional river basins) and into 92 optimal territorial areas
to manage water services. Since optimal territorial areas do not, however, always refer to the river
basin as a higher territorial parameter of reference, it is not possible to refer to homogeneous data
given that the number of stations monitored is different in each region and macro-area.
The Legislative Decree no. 152 of 11 May 1999 introduced the concept that the quantitative
protection of the water resources became functional to the achievement of the qualitative goals for
aquatic ecosystems. In subsequent years, the imposition of a minimum flow to be guaranteed
downstream water withdrawals became functional to the achievement of a good ecological and
chemical quality status, as required by the WFD. In this context, biological monitorings are made
by local authorities in order to verify and classify the ecological status of water bodies, in
accordance to the Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 and no. 260/2010. However, they are not
made for directly monitoring and assessing EFs effectiveness, with the exception of experimental
activities carried out in pilot case studies.
In Italy, the lack of reliable data on the real availability of surface and underground water directly
causes difficulties in carrying out proper quantitative assessments on the required site (definition of
the EF) and the relevant subsequent monitoring of releases.
Under the Consolidation Act on water no. 152/2006, the Ministry of the Environment should issue
the guidelines and the regions should define the technical specifications for the installation and
maintenance of (compulsory) devices to measure flow rates and derived public water volumes next
to withdrawal spots and, where existing, next to the spots where water is returned, as well as the
methods to pass on the results of the measurements carried out by the granting Authority. As these
provisions have not been issued yet, water concession grantees currently stick to the technical
directions contained in the rules and regulations of the individual concession order as regards flow
rate measurements, or, on their own initiative, they propose technologically advanced projects.

44

Furhtermore biological monitoring is made in order to verify and classify the present ecological
status of water bodies, in accordance to the Legislative Decree no. 152/2006. They are not made
to directly monitoring and assessing EF, with the exception of experimental activities carried out in
pilot case studies. The biological monitoring assessment techniques used so far are based on the
quantification of the following parameters/indexes:

LIM: Level of Pollution from Macro-Descriptors is based on values of DO, COD, BOD5,
NH4-N, NO3-N, total Phosphorus, Escherichia coli;

IBE (Extended Biotic Index);

SECA: defines the ecological status of waterways, combining the contributions of the IBE
and LIM indexes;

Micro-contaminant;

In Italy, Regional governments have the task to enable dissemination of information on water status
and to transmit the updated data, with regard to the implementation of the related part of
Legislative Decree no. 152/2006. Ministerial Decree no. 131/2008 defines the methods to be
used for the characterisation of different types of surface waters, the analysis of pressures and
identification of water bodies, following characterisation, in 5 stages.
1. The first stage involves identifying the limits of surface water categories. A water body may
only belong to a single category of water (rivers, lakes/reservoirs, transitional waters and
coastal waters) and to one single type.
2. The second stage involves identifying size criteria only, at least during the preliminary
stage, neglecting a great number of minor elements to avoid encountering important
logistical difficulties.
3. The third involves identifying the limits by means of physical features that are significant
with reference to the aims to be pursued for rivers (confluences, variations in gradient,
morphology, hydrology, interactions with the aquifer), for lakes (morphological components),
for transitional waters (variations in salinity, morphological structures, barrier islands) and
for marine waters (presence of a major source of freshwater and river mouths).
4. The fourth involves the assessment of the status of waters, the relative pressures and the
boundaries of protected areas.
5. The fifth stage concerns the identification of minor elements of surface waters as separate
water bodies, grouping them into a larger adjoining water body as well as identification of
heavily modified or artificial water bodies. In order to analyse pressures and impacts, the
Regions will require accurate detailed knowledge of the anthropogenic activities
(wastewater discharges, morphological changes, water withdrawals, use of plant protection
products, surplus fertilisers) and of the environmental effects brought about by these
pressures for each body of water.
Now, the activity relating to the river basins' characterization has been completed and the
monitoring activities in order to define the water bodies current ecological status have been
started.
In order to analyse pressures and impacts, the regions will require accurate detailed knowledge of
the anthropogenic activities (wastewater discharges, morphological changes, water withdrawals,
use of plant protection products, surplus fertilisers) and of the environmental effects brought about
by these pressures for each waterbody. The subsequent Ministerial Decree no. 56/2009
established technical criteria for water bodies monitoring. The aim of national monitoring
45

programmes is to establish a coherent and exhaustive overview of the ecological and chemical
status of the waters in each hydrographic basin, including marine coastal waters allocated to the
hydrographic district in which the relative hydrographic basin lies, and to enable the classification
of all surface waters identified for the purposes provided for by the WFD. Furthermore, the
knowledge of anthropogenic activities, their pressure and past monitoring data is functional to
assess the vulnerability of water body status and forecast their capacity to meet the quality
objectives established within the times laid down by the WFD. From these considerations, water
bodies are classified as not at risk, probably at risk and at risk.
The recent Decree no. 260/2010 replaces the Annex I, Part III of Legislative Decree no. 152/06
and introduces the revised criteria for the monitoring and classification of surface water and
groundwater by amending the section "Classification and presentation of ecological status". In
particular it provides for the application of the following indexes: LIMeco (chemical and physical
parameters), STAR_ICMi (macro-invertebrates), ICMi (benthic diatoms), IBMR (aquatic
macrophytes) and ISECI (ichtyofauna).
Monitoring activities are carried out in compliance with ISO quality standards.

4.3. Objectives, Aims and Goals


4.3.1. Assets
In different ways, both the Italian legislation and experimental activities identified the following
ecological assets for which water is necessary for the biological integrity:

Native fishes;

Makroinvertebrates;

Phytobenthos;

Fish spawning and reproduction periods;

Biological diversity;

Protection areas;

River connectivity;

River morphology;

Natural seasonal variability of the river flow;

River width and wetted area;

Water depth;

Weighted Usable Area (WUA).

The main aim is to promote a balance between human needs and those of the aquatic ecosystem
in order to ensure a quantity of water in the river beds that allow not only survival but also the
development of biological communities.
The Legislative Decree no. 152/1999 states that the quantitative protection of the water resources
contributes to the achievement of the qualitative goals for aquatic ecosystems, through a planning
for water uses able to assure sustainable water consumption.

46

4.3.2. Objectives
In Italy the regional WPPs are priority planning instruments for the achievement and the
maintenance of the quality objectives for the superficial and underground water bodies. WPP
represents the planning tool of public administrations (region and other local institutions) to achieve
the qualitative aims for the 2015 defined by European Directives, the WFD and Italian laws
(Legislative Decree no. 152/06), through an integrated approach which connects the qualitative
aspects (pollution ecological aspects, biodiversity) and the quantitative aspects (water
conservation, EF). So the experimental activities related to EF assessment are planned in
accordance with the priorities previously identified by the RWPP and River Basin Plans.
The Legislative Decree of 28 July 2004 (Ministerial Guidelines for the definition of the
environmental flow) defines the EF as the instantaneous discharge which has to be determined
along an homogeneous stretch of a river to ensure the safeguard of its physic features, the
maintenance of the chemical water characteristics, the presence of the typical biocenosis
corresponding to the natural local conditions.
It underlines the need to assure the natural evolutionary trends of the water courses, the
maintenance over time of the chemical water characteristics in order to respect the quality
objectives, the preservation of the typical biocenosis taking into account also the different life
cycles.
Objectives of EF implementation are prevention and reduction of pollution, the purification of
polluted water bodies, maintenance of the capacity of self-purification as well as the capacity to
sustain wide and well-diversified animal and plant communities. Among the tools indicated for the
achievement of the above mentioned objectives are the identification of environmental quality
objectives and quality objectives for the specific destination of water bodies, the observance of the
discharge threshold (EF) established by the regions, as well as the definition of threshold values
related to quality objectives for the receptive body. Art.4 of the Legislative Decree no. 152/1999
specifies that the objectives of environmental quality are defined as a function of water bodies
capacity to maintain natural self-purification processes and to sustain wide and well-diversificated
animal and plant communities. Moreover, the object of quality for specific destination identifies the
state of water bodies suitable to specific use. The indication of actions aimed at achieving or
maintaining quality objectives and the measures required to qualitatively and quantitatively
safeguard the water system are contained in the WPP, which the region had to adopt by 31
December 2003.
The WFD established a legal framework to protect and restore clean water across Europe and
ensured its long-term, sustainable use. The WFD introduced the following important concepts into
Italian environmental legislation (Legislative Decree no. 152/2006):

The integration of quantitative and qualitative aspects;

The watershed as the basic unit for water management;

Water environmental quality targets formulated in terms of ecological criteria;

Therefore, the WFD represented a strong impulse to policies concerning long-term sustainable use
and protection of internal, transitional and coastal waters. For each typology of water body, the
WFD defines environmental objectives that become management plan objectives as well, to be
achieved within pre-established deadlines: a good environmental status should be reached by
2015 for every water body in the European Community. The condition of "good ecological status" is
based on the capacity of a water body to maintain natural self-purification and dilution processes
and sustain biodiversity. The WFD introduced a new management unit, the "River Basin District"
47

made up of "one or more neighbouring river basins together with their associated groundwater and
coastal waters". It should represent the main unit for river basin management. The RBMP was in
fact indicated as the process to adopt the investigation of the current status of the water bodies
and the definition of the Programme of Measures that permit to reach the objective of good
ecological status. The discharge of rivers is therefore considered in the assessment of the status
of water bodies since achieving the good ecological status is the aim for all waters within the EU.
In particular, the objective for surface waters is to reach a good ecological and chemical quality
status. Surface water is defined as being of good ecological quality if there is only slight deviation
from the biological community that would be expected in conditions of minimal anthropogenic
impact. The Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 identifies the minimum environmental status as well
as the quality status for waters with specific uses. The environmental quality objectives are defined
taking into consideration the ability of the water body to maintain its natural self-depuration
processes as well as its capacity to support wildlife and vegetation, greatly influencing both
quantitatively and qualitatively the water body and ecosystem. The monitoring frequency must
include at least one sample per month for the macro-index parameters and one per season for the
biological parameters, as set out in the Italian norm with reference to the initial monitoring phase.
Once the monitoring stations have been identified along with the relative sample frequencies for
each parameter (macro-index, IBE, micro-contaminant), the water quality monitoring can begin.
Macro-Index (MI) is based on values of DO, COD, BOD5, NH4-N, NO3-N, total phosphorus,
Escherichia coli.
The environmental status of every single homogenous reach is then defined on the basis of the
data obtained. The environmental status is defined using both the biological and chemical
definitions, with the first being the synthetic expression of the aquatic ecosystem complexity, while
the latter is based upon the presence of dangerous chemicals that must be kept under control. The
Italian norm, conforming to the WFD, foresees at least a good status for the water bodies as well
as a safeguarding and recovery plan, which is subsequently adapted to the classification obtained.
A recovery of quality is necessary if the environmental status is lower than good with the aim of
improving water quality. If the environmental status is good or high, it is important to maintain
this level with an appropriate safeguard plan and any necessary interventions.

4.3.3. Expected Outcome


Article 76 of the Legislative Decree no.152/2006 states that, in order to achieve the protection
and bioremediation of water bodies, two criteria are defined:

Target of environmental quality, defined depending on the capability of water bodies to keep
natural auto-depuration processes and of supporting animal and vegetal large and
diversified communities;

Target of specific destination quality, which individuates water bodies status suitable to a
particular use for human consumption or for fish and shellfish life.

The law establishes that by December 2015 for all significant surface water and groundwater
bodies (for definition of significant see chapter 4.1) the status of good for environmental quality
must be achieved, and, where its already present, the status of high environmental quality must
be kept.
Criteria for determination of status of environmental quality and of specific destination quality of
water bodies are explained in Annex I of the Law. In the same Annex, also criteria for determining
if a water body can be considered as significant are explained. Status of environmental quality of

48

surface water bodies is defined by taking into account both, ecological status and chemical status.
Ecological status of surface waters is defined according to qualitative elements, such as biological
elements, morphologic elements of the water body structure, chemical and physical-chemical
elements, salinity and pollution from priority substances and substances present in the water body
at high concentrations. All these elements are listed in Annex I with differentiation for rivers, lakes,
transition waters and coastal waters. Chemical status is defined on the basis of average value (on
annual basis) of the concentration of hazardous substances in water.

4.4. Best Practice Examples in Italy


In the following chapters, two best practice examples in Italy will be presented.
In 2008, the Lombardia Region issued the Guidelines for experimental EF assessment. These
Guidelines identify the following ecological indicators in order to assess the effects on river
ecosystem induced by water releases:

Hydro-morphological indicators:
o Discharge;

o Water depth;

o Hydraulic continuity;

o Habitat types (pool, run or riffle);

o River width and wetted area;

o WUA;

Chemical and physical indicators:


o Temperature;

o pH;

o Dissolved oxygen;

o Nitrogen;

o Conductivity;

o Phosphorus;

o BOD;

o Suspended solids;

o COD;

o Escherichia coli;

Biological indicators:
o Fishes;
o Makroinvertebrates;
o Phytobenthos;
o Plankton;

4.4.1. Cordevole River


Between 1996 and 1998 the RBA responsible for the Isonzo, Tagliamento, Livenza, Piave and
Brenta-Bacchiglione rivers planned experimental activities financed by the National Body for
Electric Energy (ENEL) and aimed at quantifying EF in the Cordevole river basin. The Cordevole
river is the most important right tributary of the Piave river with a length of 70km and a catchment
area of approximately 868km2. Its located in the upper Piave river basin, inside the Dolomites
region of the north eastern Italian Alps. The hydrological regime is pluvio-nival with high levels from
May to June and low levels from January to February; the highest rainfall intensity occurs during
autumn resulting in significant flood events. The Cordevole river basin is characterized by the
presence of four barrages along the main stretch and numerous water withdrawals. In order to
assess the effects on river ecosystem induced by fixed water release (600l/s) from the Ghirlo dam
49

and S.Ciprianos barrage, a river stretch, included between the Alleghe reservoir and La Stangas
barrage, was identified for the following monitoring activities:

Morphological investigations:
o River width;
o Water depth;
o Substrate;
o Bottom and surface vegetation cover;
o Habitat types (pool, run or riffle);
o Number of discontinuities.
o Chemical and biological analysis:
o Quantitative fish sampling using electric fishing method;
o Quantitative macro-benthonic sampling;

Periphyton cover assessment:


o Quantification of the Extended Biotic Index at 12 monitoring stations;
o Chemical measurements collected at 6 monitoring stations;

Hydraulic measures:
o To assess surface runoffs alterations due to infiltrations phenomena;
o To quantify the flow regime of the Cordevole river;
o To calibrate hydraulic models for fishing habitat simulations (micro-habitat method);

The application of the micro-habitat method (PHABSIM) was also planned in order to quantify the
optimal water release from the Ghirlo dam and S.Ciprianos barrage. The PHABSIM method is
based on the premise that stream dwelling fish prefer a certain range of depths, velocities,
substrates and cover types, depending on the species and life stage, and that the availability of
these preferred habitat conditions varies with streamflow. With input from streamflow, substrate,
and cover type measurements, PHABSIM will quantify habitat availability over a range of flows.
The most commonly used output from PHABSIM is WUA. This habitat measure is a combination of
physical microhabitat quantity and quality. WUA is expressed in units of microhabitat area per
unitized distance along a stream. This method, applied to the Cordevole river, demonstrated that a
fixed water release of 600l/s could be sufficient at the maintenance of a good quality condition for
salmonids habitat.
For different simulated flow rate, WUA index was assessed with micro-habitat method in five
different river stretches and expressed as a percentage of the total wet surface per 1000m of river
length. These functions showed a low influence of water discharge on habitat quality for different
brown trouts vital stages (fry, juvenile, adult) and it was confirmed in all stations by the flatness of
the curves. Instead, egg stage presents a greater sensitivity to discharge variations, showing
WUA values generally higher than the other life stages. Analysis on the Orths optimization curves,
representing minimum relative WUA envelope trend for different vital stages, together with the
information about minimum flows in absence of artificial water releases, enhanced that in every
season a 350l/s water release satisfies the minimum flow condition suggested by Orth and always
leads to WUA values larger than 40% of optimal WUA or simulations maximum. Although the
calculated values are lower then the selected EF which was conservatively fixed at 600l/s, this

50

study showed that water releases of at least 350 to 400l/s are sufficient at the maintenance of a
good quality condition for brown trouts habitat during its life stages.
Before water releases, the Cordevole river was characterized by widespread and abundant fish
and benthonic populations. Water quality was generally good but significantly worsened
downstream the main barrages. Since water releases downstream from the Ghirlo dam and
S.Ciprianos barrage, the river maintained its continuity even in situations of natural water scarcity.
Quantitative macro-benthonic sampling didnt show significant densitys variation related to water
release. As regards salmonid biomass, the value of 10.3 to 26.6g/m2, recorded prior to releases in
March 1996, remained constant during the subsequent sampling. This demonstrated that the fish
population has improved proportionally with the increase of the wetted area.

4.4.2. Mis River


As of 1997, flow discharge has been released downstream from the Mis Dam, located in the
Province of Belluno (Italy) in the terminal section of the river Mis, a tributary in the Piave river
basin. Simultaneous with an obligatory for the minimum instream flow, a fish population and
environmental study program was commissioned for the monitoring of the results obtained.
This study demonstrated that the fish population has clearly improved in terms of quantity when
compared with pre-release values. As regards salmonid biomass, the value of 3g/m2 recorded prior
to release in 1997 rose during the 1998 to 2002 observation period to the decidedly higher variable
values of a minimum 13g/m2 and a maximum 45g/m.
The initial EF established by the Piave RBA was of 1m3/s, but this value was subsequently
decreased to 0.5 0.7m3/s due to drought conditions. Pre-release values are unknown. The Piave
RBA commissioned a fish population and environmental study program for the monitoring of the
results obtained.
During monitoring phase, water quality was assessed through the quantification of the Extended
Biotic Index. The comparison with available past data, obtained with the same method, showed an
improvement of the ecological status and of the water quality class (from class 2-3 to class 1-2).
Currently the ecological status of the Mis river has not yet been defined.
The structure of the salmonid community displayed a positive variation and was supported by the
presence of marble trout Salmo (trutta) marmoratus, a native highly esteemed and useful species
for the considered section of the river Mis. The measurements also investigated the presence of
the grayling Thymallus thymallus which returned to good population levels in this area, also used
for spawning. The biological water quality showed a positive increase.

4.4.3. General conclusions


In accordance with Art. 42 of the Veneto Regions WPP, EF within Piave river basin is currently
quantified as determined with the specific bylaws issued by the RBA responsible for the Isonzo,
Tagliamento, Livenza, Piave and Brenta-Bacchiglione rivers. The above mentioned experimental
activities were useful to quantify the site-specific parameters for each homogeneous section of the
rivers. In particular, the following values are in force (for the formula please refer to chapter 4.2.1).

Cordevole river (from the confluence with Sarzana river to La Stangas barrage):
qm = 35l/s.km2;

kBIOL = 1.6;

kNAT = 0.4;

51

Mis river:
qm = 43l/s.km2;

kBIOL = 1.6;

kNAT = 0.4.

Now, the activity relating to the river basins' characterization has been completed but the
monitoring activities in order to define the water bodies current ecological status have not been
completed.
Expected improvements occurred during the experimental monitoring phase. However the above
mentioned case studies were considered only experimental activities useful for evaluating the
interaction between the amount of water released and ecological aspects. EF assessment at basin
scale was subsequently established in the RWPP.
In the above mentioned case study the following ecological assets have been identified:

River morphology: morphological investigations showed a significant increase of the wetted


area, river width (+3m - Cordevole river case study) and water depth (+0,12m - Cordevole
river case study);

Biological quality:
o Fish population: fish community structure displayed
proportionally with the increase of the wetted area;

positive

variation

o Makroinvertebrates: quantitative makroinvertebrates sampling didnt show significant


density variations related to water release;
o Periphyton: a cover assessment after water release showed values near 100% at all
monitoring stations.

Chemical water quality: there wasnt a clear improvement of water quality before and after
water releases;

Although there were no other conditions threatening the achievement of the good ecological status
in the above mentioned practice examples, this is often the case.

Dams can create variations in the physico-chemical characteristics of the water released
downstream which, in turn, affect the abundance and species composition of the benthic
invertebrate fauna. The upstream reservoir slows the water flow and water and sediment
are accumulated for long periods of time. As a consequence, the physico-chemical
characteristic of the water can be altered, with changes in water temperature, reduction in
dissolved oxygen, changes in salinity, and increase in nutrient concentrations.

The presence of dam can enhance accumulation and transformation of specific pollutants
(heavy metal, pesticides, etc) which, in certain conditions, can be released in critical
concentrations in the downstream reaches.

The release of a constant discharge (or with very little variations compared to the natural
regime) can affect the macrophytic communities through the limited renewal of populations
and habitats, and the excessive growth of few species. So, there are important differences
between the methods based on hydrological parameters without any ecological significance
and often characterized by a constant minimum flow, and those based on the quantitative
evaluation of the effects on the biota.

The impact of hydropeaking on the aquatic biota, unable to adapt to such quick and
repeated variations, is usually dramatic;

52

Released water usually has a different temperature than the receiving water body and in
certain phases of the fish life cycles or in certain seasons, even a change of few tenths of
degree celsius can affect the choice of the direction to follow.

Dams can create a sediment deficit and a possible alteration of geomorphological dynamics
and morphological conditions at a wider scale.

Although no other measures for the improvement of the ecological status were performed in the
above mentioned examples, the following measures are often combined with EF assessment:

Construction of appropriate fish passes in mountain rivers, allowing the longitudinal


movements of fish fauna from upstream and downstream and vice versa;

Prohibition of fishing during specific period;

Seasonal fish repopulation;

According to Article 14 of the WFD (Public Information and Consultation) member states shall
encourage the active involvement of all interested parties in the implementation of the directive, in
particular in the production, review, and updating of the RBMPs. In Italy, this article has been
implemented into national legislation by means of Article 122 of Legislative Degree no. 152/06.
Public participation in Italy is on-going only for a few basins. In general, at regional level, where
WPPs are adopted, citizens right to access information (at least publication of the WPPs) and
some forms of consultation (at least written comments) concerning WPPs are guaranteed. Public
participation for strategic environmental assessment and river contracts is also guaranteed.

4.5. National References Italy


Bylaw no. 7/2002 issued by the Po River Basin Authority;
Decree no.260, Revised criteria for the monitoring and classification of surface water and
groundwater, 2010;
European Union Directives 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991, Urban waste-water directive; published in
L 135 ,30/05/1991 P.
European Union Directives 91/676/EEC, Nitrates Directive - Status and trends of aquatic
environment and agricultural practice; of 12 December 1991; concerning the protection of waters
against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources.
Law no.13, Extraordinary measures in the field of water resources and environmental protection,
2009;
Law no.183, Standards for functional reorganization of soil conservation, 1989;
Law no.36, Provisions regarding water resources, 1994;
Legislative Decree no. 152, Environmental Regulations, 2006;
Legislative Decree no.152, Provisions on the protection of waters against pollution, 1999;
Legislative Decree no.275, Rearrangement of public water concessions, 1993;
Legislative Decree of 28th July 2004, Ministerial Guidelines for the definition of the environmental
flow;
Ministerial Decree no.131, Technical criteria for the characterization of
water bodies, 2008;

53

Ministerial Decree no.56, Technical criteria for the monitoring of the water bodies, 2009.
Presidential Decree of July 1995, Definitions of River Basin Plans contents;
Veneto Regions Water Protection Plan, 2009;
Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000): Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and
of the Council estabilishing a framework for the Community action in the field of water policy.
Published in the Official Journal (OJ L 327) on 22. Dec. 2000.

54

5. EF in Slovenia
The following chapters deal with EF in Slovenia and were written by the University of Ljubiljana
(UL, project partner 5) and the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning (MOP, project
partner 6).
Authos are Sao antl (from UL), Nataa Smolar-vanut (from the Institute from Water of the
Republic of Slovenia) and Nevenka Colanri (from MOP).

5.1. Policy and Regulations


Table 7 presents Slovenian legislation concerning Environmental Flow (EF).
Table 7 Slovenian legislation concerning EF
National legislation governing the EF determination in Slovenia
Water Act (Official Journal No. 67/2002 and 57/2008)
Environment Protection Act (Official Journal No. 41/2004)
Decree on criteria for determination and on the mode of monitoring and reporting of ecologically
acceptable flow (Official Journal No. 97/2009)
National legislation that is indirectly connected to the EF determination in Slovenia
Construction Act (Official Journal No. 110/2002 and 102/2004 and 14/2005)
Nature Conservation Act ((Official Journal No. 56/1999, 31/2000 and 96/2004)
Freshwater Fishery Act (Official Journal No. 61/2006)

The Water Act was harmonized with WFD in 2002. Article 71 of the Waters Act (OG RS No.
67/2002, amended by Nos. 110/2002-GZO-1, 2/2004-ZZdrI-A, 41/2004.ZVO-1, 57/2008) refers to
ecologically acceptable flow (hereinafter called EF) as follows:
i.

In the use of surface waters or the emission of substances and heat into surface waters that
might reduce flow, lower the water level or degrade the condition of water, an EF or surface
water level must be ensured at all times of the year.

ii.

EF shall be a quantity of water which, in the case of permitted use or permitted pollution,
does not degrade the ecological condition of surface waters or does not prevent its
improvement.

iii.

EF shall be specified in the water permit referred to in Article 125 of this Act, in the
concession contract referred to in Article 141 of this Act or in the water approval referred to
in Article 150 of this Act, on the basis of an expert opinion formulated by an authorised
person at the expense of the investor.

iv.

The expert opinion referred to in the preceding paragraph shall be formulated by an


authorised person on the basis of a methodology prescribed by the minister in agreement
with the minister responsible for nature conservation.

v.

The authorised person must have appropriate higher education and appropriate work
experience.

vi.

The regulation referred to in the fourth paragraph of this article shall also prescribe more
detailed conditions that must be fulfilled by an authorised person, and the method of
acquisition and revocation of authorisation.

vii.

The minister shall prescribe the types of use and encroachment referred to in the first
paragraph of this article.

55

On the basis of hydrological, hydraulic, morphological and ecological criteria appropriate for
different river types, separate hydrological-based and ecological-based methods were developed
to undertake EF assessments in Slovenia (i.e. those developed in the research project sponsored
by Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning). In the following years, the methods
underpinning both the hydrological and ecological-based approaches were improved. By 2002,
both methods are used in practice, though they are not legalized by decree yet.
On the basis of Article 71 of the Waters Act the Decree on Criteria for Determination and on
the Mode of Monitoring and Reporting of Ecologically Acceptable Flow (OG RS, No. 97/2009)
was adopted in 2009. It consists of the following chapters:
I.

General provisions (application, exceptions, terms)

II.

Criteria for determination of EF


o Article 5: Determination of EF (characteristics of water abstraction, hydrological,
hydro morphological and biological properties of watercourses and the information
on protection arrangements)
o Article 6: Hydrological Elements (MQ, MALQd etc.)
o Article 7: Determination of EF on the basis of hydrological elements (formula
will be given in chapter 5.2.)
o Article 8: Study for the determination of EF (study requirements)
o Article 9: Determinatio of EF in relation ot the protection arrangements
o Article 10: Exceptions to the determination of EF

III.

The mode of monitoring and reporting on EF

IV.

Supervision

V.

Penal provisions

VI.

Transitional and final provisions

Transitional provisions of the decree state, if EF was defined with water permits and concession
contracts before the decree came into force (for existing water use) those values for EF are
considered as EF. Only in the case that the value of the previously defined EF is higher than the
EF determination according to the decree, the EF-calculation according to the decree is used. If EF
for existing water use (before the decree adoption) had not been defined with water permits and
concession contracts, EF is determined by the decree. Nevertheless, there are some mitigation
measures, as for example for hydropower use, a lower EF can be determined to preserve 85% of
electricity production of existing hydropower plants. To be more precise, the decree states that EF
can be determined with lower values to preserve 85% of current electricity production, but a study
in such cases (according to the Annex 3 of the Decree) is obligatory. So if the objectives of the
WFD could not be achieved for a certain water body, where this problem may occur, the possibility
for EF reduction will not be preceded. In this case a problem can occur since it inflicts already
granted concessions and owner rights. This can lead to compensation claims against the state
because of jeopardizing of financial viability of realized investments to the Small Hydro Power
(SHP). But only an insignificant number of cases is expected.
The Decree on EF is new. By 2014 EF needs to be determined and monitoring has to be assured.
By then, it is planned to recognize all discrepancies and to realize proper measures (adoption of
the decree, possibilities of compensations for reduction of electricity production etc.).

56

The value of EF, determined on the basis of Articles 7 and 8 of Decree, may change to the value
set in the opinion on the impact of activities on the fish status in accordance with the regulations
governing freshwater fishing where necessary because of fish migration over built structures or in
order to reduce the impact of activities on the fish status and to the value set in the conditions of
use arising from the nature protection policies and guidelines under the nature preservation
regulations, if a protected area or a valuable natural feature is consistent with the regulations
governing the preservation of nature.

5.2. EF Assessment
The first definition of minimum flows on running waters in Slovenia was defined as a quantity of
water that enables the survival of water organisms.
This formed the basis for granting permission according to specific regulations to ensure the
availability of water supply for drinking and economic purposes (Official Gazette SRS, 1976).
The methodology for EF assessment in Slovenia was developed in research projects by the
Institute of Water of the Republic of Slovenia and part of this approach was used in decree.
In Slovenia there are a large number of proposals that have an impact on aquatic ecosystems, but
the nature and/or extent of these impacts is likely to be limited. Conversely, a small number of
proposals have potentially much greater significance, in terms of the length of reach affected,
quantity of water abstracted and/or ecological importance. In the process to find out appropriate
methods for EF assessment from existing methods it was recognised that approaches based solely
on hydrological indices is not suitable because they are not site specific. As a consequence, the
'rapid assessment method' was established with the aims of being quick to apply based on the use
of basic hydrological data, and site information including an inventory of habitats, and ecological
and morphological information. The 'detailed assessment method' utilizes similar information, but in
addition requires the sampling of zoobenthos and periphyton in different aquatic habitats of the
relevant sections of river. The rapid assessment method is used unless the proposal is influenced
by any one or more of the factors given in the list below:

If the running water is in a preserved or legally protected area.

If there are rare, endangered or protected species of flora and fauna in the running water or
in the riparian zone.

If the spawning grounds are threatened by water use.

If the river reach is affected by the water use over a long river section (i.e. for rivers with a
catchment area more than 100km2 a long river section is deemed to be more than 200m).

If the water abstraction is not returned to the river further downstream and is larger than
20% of mean annual minimum flow.

If the public interest demands multi-designation use of the water

If the inventory of habitats, the fieldwork or ecological survey work carried out during the
application of the rapid assessment method raise any of the issues outlined above and
hence require the application of detailed assessment method (Smolar-vanut et al., 2006).

57

5.2.1. EF Calculation
5.2.1.1. EF Assessment according to Article 7
Using hydrological method according to Article 7 EF shall be calculated on the basis of hydrological
elements by means of the following formula:

EF f MALQ d

(5.1)

where

f = a coefficient depending on (see Table 8):


o Irreversible or reversible water abstraction;
o The length of the river section with reversible water abstraction (point, short or long,
whereby short is defined as less than 100m in catchments 100km2 and less than
500m in catchments >100km2);
o The quantity of abstracted water, defined with reference to the value of the mean
flow at the abstraction site (MQ <> 50m3/s when catch. area >1000m3);
o The ratio between mean water flow (MQ) and mean low flow (MALQd) (if MQ/MALQd
exceeds 20, the factor f shall be multiplied by 1.6 for watercourses in ecological type
1 and 2);
o The ecological type group of watercourses (1 to 4);
o size of catchment area (<10, 10-100, 100-1000, 1000-2500, >2500km2);

MALQd = mean small discharge in a period and is the arithmetic average of the lowest
annual mean daily flow (LQ) on the spot over a longer observation period (usually at least
30 years).
N

MALQd LQi

(5.2)

i 1

where
o MALQd = mean small discharge
o LQi = lowest mean daily discharge in calendar year 'i'
o N = number of years in the observation period.
The equations were formed according to the correlation of the EF data provided in previous years,
with data on the mean low flow at the withdrawal site.
Table 8 Factor f determination for reversible water withdrawals (Water Act Annex 1)
Size of catchment area
Ecological
group type
1
2
3
4
1

(1)
(1)

<10km
0.7
0.7
0.5

10 - 100km
0.7
0.5
0.4

100 - 1000km2
Point abstraction
0.5
0.4
0.3

2
1000 - 2500km and
3
sQs < 50m /s

> 2500km2 or
3
sQs > 50m /s

0.4
0.4
0.3

(1)

1.2

Short abstraction all year or long withdrawal in dry period


1.2
1.0
0.8

58

2
3
4

(1)

1.2
1.0

1.0
0.8

0.8
0.7

0.8
0.7

Long abstraction in wet period


1.6
1.3
1.3
1.3
1.1

1 (1)
1.9
1.9
2 (1)
1.9
1.6
3
1.6
1.3
4
1.1
(1)
Factor f is multiplied by 1.6, if ratio between MQ and MALQd at the withdrawal location is higher than 20.

Many reports and studies for evaluation of EF were prepared by the Institute for Water of the
Republic of Slovenia and financed by Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning. The
decree was a compromise between experts point of view and practical use of EF implementation.
To support water users to define EF for certain water use, the Ministry of the Environment and
Spatial Planning prepared data layers with ecological types of rivers and the size of catchment
area (see Figure 6).

Figure 6 Ecological group types of Slovenian rivers


(Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, 2009)

A HER (hydroecoregions) typology defines a system of ecological regionalization with use of


borders of ecoregions according to Illies with application of the mandatory factors for surface
water: altitude, catchment size surface and geology. A system is easy to apply, but to a given
limited range factors allow only limited accuracy of the observed variables in the reference
conditions.
For definition of types of water bodies in Slovenia system B was applied. Table 9 shows the used
descriptors and classes for Danube basin water region of Slovenia, where hydroecoregions are
presented on Figure 7.
59

Table 9 Descriptors and their classes of the decription of types of water bodies (Ministry of
Environment and spatial Planning, 2005)
Hydroecoregion

Catchment size

Major geology of
catchment

3
4
5
11
M
SM
S
SV
V
A
S
F

River Po lowland (Italy by Illies)


Alps
Dinarids (Dinaric West Balkan by Illies)
Panonian lowland (Hungarian lowland by Illies)
up to 10km2
10 to 100km2
100 to 1000km2
1000 to 10000km2
>10000km2
limestone (carbonates)
silicates
flysch

Figure 7 Inland water ecoregions in Slovenia (Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, 2005)

Table 8 shows the values for multiplication factor f in the case of a reversible withdrawal. At first the
catchment area and the ecological group type have to be extracted from Figure 6. For example an
analysed section of Oplotnica river has a catchment size of 10 to 100km2 and belongs to ecological
group type 3. The monitoring area shows mean flow (MQ) of 1.82m3/s and a mean low flow
(MALQd) of 0.38m3/s.
For point withdrawals (powerhouse is situated at the same location as dam or weir) factor f would
be 0.4, leading to an EF of 0.15m3/s, while for short withdrawals (derivation 100m for catchment
areas 100km2) factor f would be 0.8 resulting in a EF of 0.30m3/s. Finally for long withdrawals
factor f depends on the period of the year. During the dry period (Dec. to Feb. and June to Sep.,
see Table 10) the factor f of 0.8 leads to a EFDRY of 0.30m3/s while for the wet period (other
months) a factor f of 1.3 results in EFWET of 0.49m3/s.
Table 10 presents dry and wet periods according to the Slovenian methodology.
60

Table 10 Wet and dry periods definition depending on ecological group type
Ecological
group type
1
2, 3, 4

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

WET
DRY

WET
DRY

WET
WET

WET
WET

WET
WET

DRY
DRY

DRY
DRY

DRY
DRY

DRY
DRY

WET
WET

WET
WET

WET
DRY

5.2.1.2. EF Assessment according to Article 8


Annex 3 deals with the requirements for the preparation of a study for the determination of EF,
which shall contain at least:

Description of the intended encroachment;

Justification for a different determination of EF;

Characterisation of the watercourse,

Definition of the micro location(s) within the section under consideration;

Description of the status of surface WB and the status at the abstraction site;

Description of hydro-morphological characteristics;

Review of the sources of pollution upstream;

Review of other uses,

Proposal of the environmental objectives;

Data sources and literature used in the preparation of the expert opinion on the EF;

Expert opinion on the value of EF, which shall include:


o Explanation and substantiation of the compliance with the conditions, including the
indication of the decisive condition for the final expert determination of the value of
EF;
o Explanation and substantiation of the method by which the annual water flow
dynamics, the data and criteria for the final determination of diverse EFs for different
annual periods are taken into account; in the determination of diverse EFs for
different annual periods, the definition of dry and wet seasons under points 14 and
15 of Article 4 of the Decree shall be fully taken into account;
o Explanation and substantiation of the measurements and sampling carried out,
including the explanation and justification of the selected sampling sites;
o The results of conducted measurements, sampling and analysis of samples,
including the lists of taxa, considered in the assessment where the assessment of
the ecological status is being conducted;
o Explanation and substantiation of the data and criteria used for the assessment
where the assessment of the ecological status is being conducted;
o Explanation and substantiation of the used data and criteria for the assessment and
analysis of individual parameters for the final expert determination of the value of
EF;
o Explanation and substantiation of the parameters decisive for the final expert
determination of the value of EF;
o Explanation and substantiation of the used data and criteria decisive for the final
expert determination of the value of EF;
61

5.2.2. EF Parameters
In case that EF is determined according to the Article 7 on the basis of hydrological elements,
assessment of EF doesn't include the diversity of species, processes in aquatic ecosystems and
maintenance of habitats and river channel shape.
In case that EF is determined according to Article 8, the determination inludes all parameteres of
the river ecosystem. EF may be determined on the basis of a study for the determination of EF,
submitted, after the initiative or application, by an initiator or applicant for water right. The study
shall be examined by the Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia that shall also approve it or
prepare a final expert proposal of EF, except where the study has been prepared by the Institute
for Water of the Republic of Slovenia. The minimum requirements for the preparation of a study for
the determination of EF are laid down in Annex 3, which is a constituent part of this decree.
Therefore, depending on the method, EF assessment under the provisions of the decree can either
include or not include the diversity of species, processes in aquatic ecosystems and maintenance
for habitat conditions and river channel shape and of other parameters.

5.2.3. EF Restrictions
Restrictions (due to. frequency, timing, magnitude, duration etc.) are required only in cases when
EF is determined according to Article 8 of Decree.

5.2.4. EF Monitoring
In the process of EF determination and water licenses issuing the Environmental Agency of the
Republic of Slovenia (Operational body under the Ministry of the Environment) is the authority that
determines the EF regarding the national hydrology monitoring data and issues water use licenses
that include the EF determination. The monitoring of EF must be performed by water right holders.
According to the decree (Articles 11-13), the water right holder shall describe the mode of EF
monitoring in the rules of procedure applying to the operation and maintenance of water facility. On
request, the water right holder shall send the data to the ministry or the inspector responsible for
waters or to the water protection supervisor.
There is only ecological monitoring at the level of water bodies and its done by the Environmental
Agency of the Republic of Slovenia regarding the Regulation on the monitoring of surface water
Dictionary (Official Journal No. 10/2009, 9.2.2009).
The Agency of the Republic of Slovenia is the responsible authority for monitoring. As an expert
institution in the field of water management, the Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia
supports national authorities with additional studies and monitoring. The effectiveness of EF is
assessed only at the level of water bodies to achieve the good ecological status, but there is no
assessment of the effectiveness of EF for each water right.
According to the decree, the explanation of the hydrological elements shall contain:
1. Explanation and rationale for the used measuring equipment and methods for implementing
simultaneous hydrometric flow measurements, referred to in the preceding paragraph, shall
be chosen from among standardised methods in accordance with the following standards:
ISO 748:2007, ISO 1088:2007, ISO 9555-1:1994, ISO 9555-3:1993, ISO 9555-4:1992,
ISO/TR 11656:1993 or ISO/TR 25377:2007, which are available for consultation at the body
responsible for standardisation, or in accordance with other equivalent internationally
62

recognised standards in the field of hydrometry.


2. If an acoustic Doppler flow-meter is used, evidence that a person conducting
measurements participated at least once every two years in programmes of technical
competence testing for carrying out measurements with this meter has to be supplied.
3. When other measuring equipment is used, evidence that the used measuring equipment is
calibrated according to the ISO 3455:2007 standard, which is available for consultation at
the body responsible for standardisation, or in accordance with other equivalent
internationally, recognised standards in the field of hydrometry, has to be produced.
Article 12 of the decree defines the mode of monitoring of EF:

The object, device or system of devices for water withdrawal must be designed in such way
so they dont allow any withdrawals when the discharge is lower than the EF, on the place
of the withdrawal. With this it is considered that the recording of EF is assured.

If the object, device or system of devices for water withdrawal is not feasible, then the
owner of the water rights has to assure continuous or daily monitoring of parameters, from
which it is visible that there was no withdrawal in the time when discharge was lower than
the EF. In this case, the owner of the water rights has to measure water levels or discharge
on his own permanent regulated measurement site which is on the intake spot and one of
the following parameters:
o Water levels or discharge on his own permanent regulated measurement site which
is on the spot downstream and right next to object, device or system of devices for
water withdrawal;
o Water levels or discharge on his own permanent regulated measurement site on the
water infrastructure;
o Water levels or discharge on regulated measurement site of the national
hydrological network;

The owner of water rights can also measure the discharge upstream of the water intake or water
intake discharge based on which it can be determined there was no withdrawal in the time when
discharge was lower than the EF.
For the arrangement of the technical solution to assure the EF and the IT system used in recording
EF, the owner has to get water consent.
For new SHPs or when a renovation is taking place, a state of the art IT system and technical
solutions should be implemented.
According to Article 14 of the decree, supervision of the implementation of the decree shall be
carried out by insprecotrs responsible or water and water protection supervisors in accordance with
the regulations governing water.

5.3. Objectives, Aims and Goals


5.3.1. Assets
Water is necessary for the biological integrity of the following ecological assets:

Fish (and other aquatic organisms) population parameters (as e.g. abundance and
63

biomass);

Spawning period and location (spawning area) of fish species;

River connectivity and transitivity (passability) that enables migration of fish;

Preservation of fish (and other aquatic organisms) habitats;

The benefits deriving from the implementation of an EF are (generally):

Conservation and preservation of the mentioned ecological assets;

Prevention, mitigation and elimination of the water abstraction consequences for fish and
other aquatic organisms (considering the mentioned ecological asset);

Rehabilitation of water bodies that are already influenced by water abstraction;

5.3.2. Objectives
EF is an important issue for the preservation of the good status of water bodies and must be
ensured.
The Water Act and the Decree on the detailed content and method of drawing up a water
management plans tansposed the WFD into national legislation. The aim of the WFD is to achieve
and to maintain the good status of water bodies. To achieve this goal there is a special emphasis
on reducing the burden on water bodies and on improvement of chemical, ecological and
quantitative condition of water bodies. As main legislation, the Water Act and the Decree (OG RS,
no. 26/2006 and 5/2009) consider the good ecological status of water bodies as main objective.

5.4. Best Practice Example in Slovenia


5.4.1. Rizana River
Water abstraction from the Rizana river (Riana) goes back to the early 19th century when the
Rizana valley was the granary of Trieste. There were 33 mills working in the valley, which are no
more in operation.
The Rizana river has been the source of water supply since 1935. After 1960, the water abstraction
started to increase due to population growth and the development of tourism and at present it has
an essential ecological impact on the watercourse. Today, the Rizana river is the most important
source of water supply for the Slovenian coastal area.
Downstream, there are water abstractions for fish farms, irrigation and industry as well as some
uncontrolled water abstractions for the irrigation in summer. The increasing population density with
all relevant and also negative phenomena such as settlements, agriculture, industry, tourism, trade,
traffic and landfill-sites can be observed downstream and there were numerous hydro technical
interventions carried out. The demand for drinking water as well as industrial and agricultural
exploitation of the Rizana river exceeds the water capacity of the river. The consequences can be
observed primarily in the summer period when, due to the deterioration of the aquatic environment,
there were several cases of fish kills.
As a first step, an analysis of the state of Rizana river water condition was carried out in 1993. The
study included the recommendations for the improvement of water quantity in the riverbed.

64

In 1986, on the basis of hydrologic calculations, the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial
Planning determined 0.110m3/s as the minimum flow value in summer dry period. The growing
recognition of multidisciplinary EF Assessment of other watercourses in Slovenia led to the study
on the Determination of Environmental Flow for the Rizana River in 1996, commissioned by the
Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning. The project group included independent
researches, dealing with hydrology, hydraulics, morphology, biology and landscape architecture.
Hydrological and hydraulic analyses have also been carried out for the Rizana river from its
source to its mouth to derive a flow duration curve from minimum and mean monthly flows.
The differences in phytobenthos biomass, expressed as ash-free dry weight, dry weight and
chlorophyll a were tested with statistical analyses in sampling sections. The percentage of species
deficit was calculated for phytobenthos and zoobenthos taxa between individual sections of the
river. The quality of water was evaluated using the Pantle-Buck saprobic index. The biological
quality of the river was evaluated using the Biological Monitoring Working Party score system
(Armitage et al., 1983) and the Extended Biotic Index (modified by Ghetti, 1986).
The results of biologic analyses revealed that the chosen minimum flow of 0.110m3/s in summer
period was too low, causing the growth of phytobenthos and a decrease in zoobenthos diversity.
With regard to the water supply abstraction, the results of the hydrological analyses showed very
low summer flows, which were a direct result of high level of abstraction along the watercourse
combined with the intergranular porosity of the substrata. This has led to the deterioration of the
aquatic flora and fauna. Taking into consideration the hydrological, ecological, landscape and
morphological characteristics and habitat evaluation, an EF value for the Rizana river for the dry
summer period of 0.160m3/s was proposed. This would reduce the pollution levels, and enable the
maintenance of ecological balance both in the river and in the riparian zone. The level of EF was
decided by experts, taking into account the information detailed above, including the historical
levels of abstraction. The water users were not involved in the study, because the object of the
study was the EF assessment on the level of experts to define what quality and quantity of water
should remain in the river to prevent its structure and function.
With a mean discharge (MQ) of 0.22m3/s and a factor f of 1.2 (catchment is 100 to 1000km2,
ecological type 2, irreversible withdrawals (for example irrigation) in dry period) the calculated EF
according to the decree would be 0.26m3/s (see chapter 5.2.1 for formula). Of course, this higher
value for EF would be implemented if there would be no existing water uses. As mentioned above,
EF according to the decree can be reduced if it would significantly impact the production based on
existing water rights (reduction more than 15%) (Smolar-vanut, 2003).

5.4.2. Koritnica River


The water abstraction for the Monica SHPP takes place on the Koritnica river, in northwest part of
Slovenia. The Monica SHPP has been in operation since 2003, with the installed flow of 2.5m3/s.
The impoundment has a 13m wide inclined concrete dam with lateral abstraction. The abstraction
of water from the riverbed takes place in a relatively short section, at a distance of 300 m. The
Koritnica river flows through a Natura 2000 site, an ecologically significant area of Slovenia, the
protected area of the Triglav National Park and the protected area of the Soa river and its
tributaries. In addition to the marble trout, three other fish species occur in the section of the
Monica SHPP.
The hydrological, morphological, physical, chemical and biological parameters were measured for

65

the purpose of determining the EF. We chose the parameters supposed to be of key importance for
the EF determination. During the low flow period in summer 2005, less than 10% of the water
quantity measured above the dam was flowing downstream of the dam. In spite of low flow below
the dam, the water temperature did not rise significantly during the summer period; however,
changes occurred in the composition and abundance of aquatic organisms.
In order to preserve the aquatic habitats in the water abstraction section it is essential to provide
the quantity and quality of water to preserve at least the habitats with the flow velocities
characteristic of the section upstream of the water abstraction. It is necessary to preserve a similar
diversity of different aquatic habitat types as in the section above the water abstraction and ensure
the dynamics of different water flows during the year. The installed flow for the Monica SHPP is
rather high, but in late autumn, winter and early spring periods, the flow of the Koritnica river is
high. For instance during the period 1957 to 1973, the average flow of the Koritnica River in the
cross-section at Log pod Mangartom was 5.196m3/s in November.
In the case of the Koritnica river, the most important criteria for the determination of EF are the
ecological and morphological ones. The hydrological data for the Koritnica river indicate a big gap
between the data on the flow downstream of the dam and the area of EF determination in relation
to the hydrological principles demanding a higher flow below the dam, which would considerably
reduce the present production of electric power, but would not substantially improve the ecological
conditions of the watercourse.
On the basis of hydrological, hydraulic, morphological and ecological characteristics of the
watercourse, the EF value of 0.2m3/s should be ensured in the section of the Koritnica river where
water abstraction for the Monica SHPP takes place to preserve the natural balance in and along
the watercourse. Notwithstanding the water abstraction, the natural dynamics of water flow, which
forms the downstream riverbed and is important for the preservation of ecological diversity of the
watercourse as an ecosystem, should be maintained during the times of medium and high water
flows (Smolar-vanut et al., 2007).

5.4.3. General Conclusions


The analyses in both case studies included the whole river ecosystem and decision about the EF
was assessed using holistic approach.
Both research projects consist of an interdisciplinary approach covering biology, hydrology,
hydraulics, morphology and landscape architecture. This included the collection of biological and
hydrological data in different habitats at the same time.
The Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning funded the project on the Rizana river. The
estimated value of EF has not yet been complied with in practice. The reasons are that the
methodology and methods for EF assessment were legalized by decree only in 2009 and that the
water-supply company (Rianski vodovod), would have less water at their disposal during dry
months.
More broadly, in the last ten years there have been strong efforts to improve the ecological
characteristics of Slovenian running waters. An important step in river basin management is the
determination and assurance of the EF. The New Water Act, Article 71 states that EF should be
assured for the entire year. The water should be abstracted from the running water only below the
conditions that the ecological status of the running water would not deteriorate. The actual
possibility of water potential should be respected and the natural factors incorporated into the

66

management of the environment.


To be able to evaluate the effects of EF increasing, a monitoring of biological elements for at least
a few years would be necessary. Since decree was adopted in 2009 (it defines periods up to 5
years for assuring and monitoring of EF) and the plan of measures according to the WFD
implementation is not yet prepared and adopted, this field (supervision of improvements, increase
or decrease of EF, definition of specific measures and operational terms etc.) is also in the process
of development and decision making. Main problems and obstacles arise from the existing water
use. Results of the project SEE Hydropower could provide additional basis for efficient decision
making on monitor and administrative level.
Assets are defined in Appendix 3 of the decree and are harmonized with other legislations and
sub-documents (River Basin Management Plan etc.). If EF determination according to the
Appendix 3 of the decree takes place then prioritization of assets is considered. It is done
according to the status of analysed water body, hydro morphological characteristics at the place of
predicted water intake and water release, overview of existing sources of pollution, overview of
other existing and prioritized water uses, overview of protected areas and connected conditions.
Prioritization is also done according to the magnitude of impact of water abstraction on area or
asset.
Community consultation does not take place at EF determination.

5.5. National References Slovenia


Armitage, P. D., Moss D, Wright J F & Furse M T. (1983): The performance of a new biological
water quality score system based on macroinvertebrates over a wide range of unpolluted running
water sites. Wat. Res. 17(3): 333-347.
Construction Act (Official Journal No. 110/2002 and 102/2004 and 14/2005)
Decree on criteria for determination and on the mode of monitoring and reporting of ecologically
acceptable flow (Official Journal No. 97/2009)
Decree on legal regulation in the field of water (slo. Uredba o ureditvi doloenih vpraanj s
podroja voda (Official gazette of Socialistic Republic of Slovenia No. 22/1976: pages 1321-1323)
Environment Protection Act (Official Journal No. 41/2004)
Freshwater Fishery Act (Official Journal No. 61/2006)
Ghetti, P. F. (1986): Manuale di applicazione i macroinvertebrati nell'analisi di qualit dei corsi
d'aqua. Indice biotico: E.B.I., modif. Ghetti, Stazione Sperimentale Agraria Forestale, Servizio
Protezione Ambiente di S. Michelle all'Adige - Trento, 105 pp.
Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning (2005): Izvajanje Vodne Direktive na vodnem
obmoju Donave (ang. Water Framework Directive implementation in the Danube Basin
(http://www.mop.gov.si/fileadmin/mop.gov.si/pageuploads/podrocja/okolje/pdf/vode/porocilo_donav
a.pdf)
Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning (2009): Ecological group types of Slovenian rivers
(http://www.mop.gov.si/fileadmin/mop.gov.si/pageuploads/zakonodaja/okolje/voda/skupine_ekolosk
ih_tipov_vodotokov.jpg)
Nature Conservation Act (Official Journal No. 56/1999, 31/2000 and 96/2004)
Smolar-Zvanut N., Burja D., Muck P., Vrhovsek D., Povz M., Krivograd-Klemencic A., Breznik B.,

67

Rebolj D., Amersek I., (2007): Doloitev ekoloko sprejemljivega pretoka za reko Koritnico na
podroju odvzema vode za MHE Monica, Ljubljana, p. 40.
Smolar-vanut, N. (2003): The Riana river: environmental flow assessment. In: FLOW - The
essentials of environmental flows, (Water and Nature Initiative). [S. l.]: The World Conservation
Union, 2003, p. 1-11. http://www.waterandnature.org/flow/cases/Slovenia.pdf.
Water Act (Official Journal No. 67/2002 and 57/2008)
Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000): Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and
of the Council estabilishing a framework for the Community action in the field of water policy.
Published in the Official Journal (OJ L 327) on 22. Dec. 2000.

68

6. EF in Austria
The following chapters deal with EF in Austria and were written by the Government of Styria
(STYRIA, partner 4).
Authors are Albert Rechberger and Herwig Talker.

6.1. Policy and Regulations


Water protection was totally reformed in 1959 and was made subject in Water Law. The term of
Environmental Flows (EF) assessment was partially integrated in the Water Act already in 1985.
Ecological operability asks for flow conditions that correspond with a sufficient EF assessment.
Before the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) the following norms in
additional to the National Water Act 1959 were used:

Guidelines for the ecological study and assessment of rivers NORM 6232 (1995)

Hydrology - Hydrographical terms and symbols Additional Specifications concerning


NORM EN ISIO 772 and NORM EN ISO 772/A1 (NORM B 2400)

Water Quality Guidance Standard on Determining the Degree of Modification of river


Hydro-Morphology NORM EN 15843.

In Austria the national implementation of the WFD was done by the National Water Act 1959 (as
amended BGBl. I Nr. 14/2011) and implemented by the National River Basin Management Plan
(RBMP) 2009 (enforced 30.03.2010). Furthermore there is the Austrian Regulation for
Ecological Quality Objectives of surface waters (BGBI.II Nr. 99/2010), (hereinafter called
Quality Objective Act; in original: Qualittszielverordnung kologie Oberflchengewsser)
which aims to assess the ecological quality of surface waters using fixed values according to
30a paragraph 1 of the National Water Act 1 1959 to reach good status, and for the
prevention of deterioration in terms of relevant conditions for types of surface waters.
The regulation sets limit values concerning the biological, hydro-morphological and general
physico-chemical quality elements for high, good, moderate, poor and bad environmental quality
conditions.
According to the objectives of the WFD all water bodies should reach the good chemical status as
well as good ecological status up to 2015, except for heavily modified water bodies where the
good ecological potential has to be met.
The requirement of the WFD is to restore the good status (or good ecological potential in case of
heavily modified water bodies) and - where already given - to maintain it.
A general meeting of all these objectives is quite difficult. Primarily the knowledge of status
concerning small water bodies is not exactly enough to find suitable measures until now. Therefore
Austria joined to work in progressive stages beginning with water bodies that need to be urgently
remediated. These measures should cause achievement of objectives by 2015/2021.
Actual researches show that about 67% of our rivers are at risk (no "good ecological status" and so
rivers at risk) because of significant hydro morphological pressures and impacts as main reason.
The main factors for this are deficits in longitudinal continuity combined with deficits of the habitats.

69

For all water bodies in good (or very good) condition, this status should be preserved.
There is no difference to a water bodys environmental condition as far as the continuity is
concerned, it is an absolute priority.
Goals until 2015
For rivers at risk the first measures to be set are to improve the consistency, i.e. the longitudinal
continuity.
Main factors of improvement are:

Aids for fish migrations

EF improvement of the habitats

These three main-factors have to work together.


Diversion plants induce reduced flow conditions the major part of the year. These various negative
impacts harm the biocenosis in terms of aquatic habitat loss.
Certain fish species do not migrate in sections that are characterized by minimum in-stream flow,
minimum flow velocity and minimum depth and eutrophication. As well as the reduced water
amount causes a deposition of sediments, a change of temperature, and a deficit of oxygen.
The Austrian Water Act includes the following statements:

9 Permission process requirement for the use of water by water use plants: There must be
sufficient EF in order to preserve ecological status of the water body.

130ff Verification of compliance: Authority Gewsseraufsicht Review of the ecological


status of waters the decisions taken in prescriptions (e.g. requirements, standards) or
minimum water flows are observed. Water authorities do monitoring for investigative
purposes as well.

138 Remedial action of legal status: If an existing permit will be exceeded, or an activity
that requires a permission process, without obtaining the same is executed, has the
authority to those who set this "unauthorized alteration " - where needed by the public
interest or an interested party demands it - to act to, to rectify them back or eliminate the ills
it caused.

21a Amendment of permission processes: The authority - for lawfully operating systems requires the state of the art to achieve such conditions necessary for protection. However, it
also requires adaptation goals and - if necessary - the submission of a project is defined.
Furthermore, measures may not go beyond an existing rehabilitation program. If the
measures are not put on time or orders are not followed, the authority - to withdraw the
license - subject to prior repeated admonition having regard to the legal consequences.

6.2. EF Assessment
The Austrian Quality Objective Act, defines quality objectives for the high and the good
hydromorphological condition. Thereby the quality objectives are differentiated in guiding values
and limiting values. While the quality objectives for the high ecological status are expressed as
limiting values which a river stretch has to meet to be classified as high, the quality objectives for

70

the good hydromorphological condition are defined as guiding values. If these values are not met,
a river stretch can still be classified as good, as long as the biological quality objectives indicate so.
The regulations deals also with quality objectives concerning EF (see next chapter).

6.2.1. EF Calculation
The quality objectives for the high quality of hydro-morphological condition (high status) (excerpts
from 12 of the Quality Objective Act) are given below. Although only point (2) 1 deals with EF,
points 2 to 6 are mentioned for the sake of completeness.
(1) To evaluate the high quality of hydro-morphological condition of a surface water body, the
individual components of water balance, continuity of the river and morphology are to be
used.
(2) Water management, continuity of the river and morphology of a surface water body are in a
very good status, if the following criteria are met:
1. There is a very minimal water withdrawal (as a guideline it is up to 20% of the
annual water amount).
If the months
a) October to March show less discharge than the average discharge for winter
months or
b) April to September show less discharge than the annual average discharge
the water abstraction threshold is set to less than 10% of the natural lowest
discharge per day (LQd).
2. There are no water flow fluctuations caused by human impact concerning hydropeaking phenomena.
3. Anthropogenic reductions in mean flow velocity in the cross section occur only rarely
and only on very short distances.
4. The continuity of the river is only slightly influenced by human activities, so that an
undisturbed migration of the aquatic organisms typical for the water body and the
natural transport of sediments in the river bed might be possible.
5. The majority of the river bank dynamics is unrestricted.
6. The sediment dynamic is perfectly possible, there is none or only very limited action
on the river bed stabilization.
Furthermore, the quality objectives (guiding values) for the good hydro-morphological condition
(good status; excerpts from 13) are indicated as follows:
(1) The good hydromorphological status is given if there are hydro-morphological conditions in
which the good status of the values specified for the biological quality elements can be
reached.
In the hydro-morphological conditions described in the passages 2 to 6 the values
specified in the paragraphs 7 to 11 for the good status of the biological quality elements
are reached with a probability bordering on certainty. In individual cases, a determining of
the value for the hydro-morphological conditions is done on the basis of appropriate project
documentation to check whether is ensured by the application of less stringent values for
the hydro-morphological conditions the long-term compliance with the values of the
71

biological quality elements.


(2) The ecologically necessary minimum flow in all surface waters of the quantity and dynamics
of the flow and the resulting connection to the groundwater ensure that values specified for
the biological quality elements will almost certainly be achieved for the good status.
In detail:
1. such a minimum water flow is permanently present that in the river bed, the
a) instream flow is higher than the value for the lowest natural Tagesniederwasser
(=natural daily minimum flow)

EF LQd

(6.1)

natural

b) in surface waters where the lowest natural daily minimum instream flow is lower
than a third of the natural medium minimum instream flow/year, EF has to be at
least one third of the natural medium instream flow/year.

EF 13 MALQd

natural

(6.2)

c) in rivers where the minimum water flow is smaller than 1m3/sec and the value for the
natural minimal daily minimum flow is smaller than the half of the natural medium
minimum in-stream flow/ year that is indeed the half of the natural medium minimum
flow/ year and in natural fish areas the values of attachment G for minimum water
depth and minimum flow velocity have to be met (see Table 12 and Table 13).

EF 12 MALQd

natural

(6.3)

The thresholds of points a to c are summarized in Table 11.


Table 11 Guiding values for the good ecological status
EF

Natural mean annual flow < 1 m3/s


Natural mean annual flow > 1 m3/s
lowest daily flow (natural)
50% mean annual low flow
33% mean annual low flow
Note: The stricter value has to be applied.

2. Furthermore the discharge shows natural dynamic fluctuations, whereby at least 20% of
the actual discharge have to be released to maintain natural flow variability.
o Anthropogenic discharge fluctuations have to be separately evaluated for large
rivers. All other rivers show no hydro peaking ratio higher than 1:3 and at least 80%
of the river bed are covered by water at all times.
o Anthropogenic reductions of the mean flow velocity per cross section to less than
0.3m/s (for mean discharge) appear only sporadically and on short segments.
o Anthropogenic barriers in fish-bearing rivers are passable the whole year and the
habitat connection is only slightly modified.
The Attachment G of the Quality Objective Act about EF deals with a minimum endowment of
50% MALQd. In this case the adherence of values for minimum depth and for minimum flow
velocity and so the river patency - is granted with a high amount of certainty and measurements
of depth and flow velocity can be omitted. Otherwise the following values are allowed per fish
region:

Minimum depth:

72

Table 12 Minimum water depth


Fish region

For the area of the rapid


Minimum water depth
Tmin [m]

Epirhithral (> 10% gradient)


Epirhithral (3-10% gradient)
Epirhithral (3% gradient)
Metarhithral
Hyporhithral
Epipotamal

For the thalweg


Minimum depth TLR [m]

0.1
0.15
0.15
0.20
0.20
0.25
0.20
0.30
0.20 (0.30 2)
0.30 (0.40 2) 4
0.30
0.40 4
(Attachment G of Quality Objective Act)

1)

The minimum depth applies in the specific spawning and developmental stages of the respective
site-related dominant and sub-dominant fish species.

2)

The values written in brackets are applicable for the presence of huchen.

3)

The determination of the minimum depth in the thalweg and the minimum depth for the habitat
during the fish spawning season is to be carried out as follows: For a 200m-stretch which is
characteristic of the water body, the maximum water depths in the thalweg (at minimum flow) or the
residual-flow flow-off, respectively, shall be determined in the five most distinct riffles or rapids and in
the five most distinct scours. This is to serve as a basis for the calculation of the respective depth in
the thalweg for this stretch of water body at a certain flow-off level of residual water. The arithmetic
mean made up of the ten values accounts for the respective mean depth in the thalweg in this
stretch of water body in the event of flow-off at the time of the depth measurement.
4)

In the hyporhithral and epipotamal zones, higher minimum water depths are possibly required in
the spawning season. These shall be taken into account individually, according to the site-related
dominant and sub-dominant species of fish.

Minimum flow velocities:


Table 13 Minimum flow velocities

5)

For the area of the rapid: vmin (m/s) 5


Principal current in the migration corridor: vmin (m/s) 6

0.3
0.3

Mean velocity in the cross-section

6)

The principal current serves the purpose of rheotactic orientation of fish. Most of the time, the fishmigration corridor is situated laterally, in the area of the channel line and in current areas exhibiting a
velocity of 1m/s. The flow velocities are determined in the channel line in the area of the measured
riffles or rapids and scours (measurement carried out vertically, 3-point measurement in 20%, 60%
and 80% of total water depth, respectively).

The question of minimum in-stream flow in connection with fish migration barriers was one of the
focal points of the 1st RBMP. According to the gradual achievement of objectives by 2015 almost
150 recycled water lines are to improve the ecological status or potential by special measures.
These determinations are made in the Quality Objective Act, Federal Law Gazette II No.
99/2010.

6.2.2. EF Parameters
As mentioned before, there are many important parameters which have to be considered when
quantifying EF. The diversity of species is relevant for all biological components (additional to
density, and other factors) and is assessed for:
1. Phytoplankton

73

2. Macrophytes
3. Phytobenthos
4. Benthic invertebrate fauna
5. Fish fauna
Furthermore, river typical processes (e.g. sediment transport, fish migration) are also taken into
account: The conditions are defined via reference conditions of the so called quality components
(e.g. fish, macroinvertebrates). Work requires dealing with the one out-all out-regulation which
means the worst one is decisive. For example: If phytoplankton, macrophytes, phytobenthos and
benthic invertebrate fauna of a waterbody are in very good status but fish fauna just shows a
good status, the whole WB is just in good status.
Also all habitat conditions for the quality components (1-5) have to be maintained in a scale that no
jump to the next worse condition is caused. If for example in a river section the components 1-5
are in good condition but a planned project would lead to a moderate condition for fish fauna (e.g.
because of losing relevant spawning areas) the project has to be adopted to maintain the fish
fauna in a good condition.

6.2.3. EF Restrictions
There are no detailed restrictions per se but as the tool of the RBMP the Quality Objective Act
tells that in case of water use (e.g. hydropower) flow regime, frequency, timing magnitude and
duration of the residual flow is just allowed in a size that the quality components does not change
into a worse status.
This is implemented by the National Water Act in 30a (Verschlechterungsverbot, i.e. prohibition
of degradation), where the environmental aims for surface waters are defined. Surface waters
including heavily modified and artificial waters have to be protected, meliorated and remediated in
a way that a decline of the particular status is prevented. The objective status is reached in surface
waters, when the water body is at least in a good ecological and in a good chemical status.

6.2.4. EF Monitoring/Effectiveness
The execution of the National Water Act (as followed by the National RBMP) is shown in the
diagram below:

74

Principles and tasks of Water Management

Competent authorities (Austria)

Federal ministry of agriculture


and forestry, environment and
water management

Federal Ministry of
social security,
generations and
Consumer
Protection

Administration
Regional Government
Styria
Federal Ministry of
Economics and
Labour

Federal Chancellery
Communities

Abteilung 19 Wasserwirtschaft und Abfallwirtschaft;


Bereich Fachkoordination und EU-Wasserwirtschaft

BUMEL

Figure 8 Competent authorities in Austria

Survey and operative control is an assignment of the federal government. The same authority is
responsible for the assessment of the effectiveness.
Monitoring is regulated by the Act of Water Status Control (GZV) and coordinated by the
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW),
which provides the specifications for the selection of measuring facilities and for the tender
procedure of monitoring. As responsible regional authorities for the accomplishment of monitoring
there are to call the regional governments for Styria it is the Regional Government of Styria. Data
management and processing is made by the Federal Environmental Agency. All in all, the
monitoring program is teamwork with a close cooperation of federal government, regional authority
and Federal Environmental Agency.
In Austria, the monitoring compliant to the WFD started in 2007 and within 6 years, all water bodies
(rivers, lakes, and groundwater) based on field investigations or on the basis of analogies
(grouping) are assigned an ecological status. After completion of the investigations of water bodies,
in which the risk is confirmed appropriate measures are taken in order to improve the condition
performed.
These new assignments lead to a differentiation of objectives, range of parameters and
measurement frequencies. Sampling sites are in accordance with these criteria divided into

over-view monitoring executives,

operational monitoring executives and

investigative monitoring executives.

Within these types there are further distinctions. There is no inspection program covering all
measuring points, rather, the selection of each measuring point matches the natural conditions and
75

human activities.
To rate this overall state of the ecosystem more groups of organisms are examined as a
deterioration of the conditions affect all species communities. The deterioration of overall
conditions is seen as a deviation from a natural reference status assessed. That is why new
assessment methods have been developed. In order to describe the environmental status
chemical parameters are taken into account as well as groups of organisms, differentiated by the
kind of water bodies. For each of the WFD to be studied groups of organisms as "quality
elements"- an evaluation method was developed. Exact instructions for sampling and data analysis
were published in a guideline (Waters condition monitoring 2007 to 2009).
The best indicator for assessing an impact - that is that group of organisms, which responds to this
impact most sensitive - is the most indicative biological quality element. This quality element is for
this specific impact particularly sensitive and therefore proves that special impact best (see Table
14).

Phytobenthos

Makrophytes

Benthic invertebrate fauna

(x)

(x)

(x)

Fish fauna

Phytoplankton

Load types

Hydromorphological quality
components

Quality components

Physical and chemical quality


components

Table 14 Significance of quality components

Material load types


Nutrient

Oxygenation conditions

Temperature

Salinization

(x)

Acidification

(x)

Pollutants

(x)

(x)

(x)

(x)

(x)

(x)

(x)

(x)

(x)

(x)

Hydromorphological load
Morphological changes

Only changes in the streambed

Residual flow

(x)

(x)

Hydropeaking

(x)

(x)

Impoundment

(x)

(x)

Continuity interruption

(x)

Annex B, Quality Objective Act (x = high significance; (x) = low significance)

Also the "worst case" principle is applied, which means, the worst condition that is indicated by one
76

of the quality elements is decisive. That is, why not all quality elements need to be examined, but
only those with the highest indicative significance.
Fish monitoring is the relevant instrument for monitoring and assessing EF (see Table 14). The
additional program (e.g. makroinvertebrates, chemistry) is not mentioned here. All electric fishing
machines have the current CENELEC and IEC standards, IEC 60335-2-86 particular match, and
subjected to a 2-year review. As a rule, especially smooth AC current has to be used with virtually
no ripple. Pulse devices (frequency f > 2Hz) should only be used in exceptional cases (e.g. very
low or very high conductivity or increasing the planar anode effect in rake). Here are exclusively
fish-friendly pulse shapes allowed. AC is very harmful to fish and should not be used. For the
fishing by boat, only electric fishing equipment is to be used that is firmly connected with the boat.
The performance of the electro-fishing equipment in connection with anode rakes must rake in up
to 6 Anodes 5kW and at least 8kW. Pole rods and nets shall be of stable, non-conductive material.
The catching poles should not be covered with a net except in small water bodies.
Spoon nets must be node-less. The mesh size of the fishing nets or mounted catching poles has to
be adapted on the one hand to the flow conditions, on the other hand to expected fish sizes
(juveniles and small fish). For the careful manipulation of the fish, appropriate hand nets are
provided.
The sampling of a section or the selection of the sample lines has to be such that the conditions in
typical habitats or habitats of expression in their non-living and frequency can be measured as
representative with the appropriate methods. In general, at any rate, the area with the most
dominant strain is in its strongest expression has to be sampled. For EF this is always below the
diversion (the biggest influence) and, where appropriate, in a hydrologically defined point (e.g. EF =
MALQd).
Fish stocks in rivers and streams have fundamentally be done at maximum fishing success for
species, size classes and biomass, during the period made at low flows (or down-surge during the
entire fishing) and low turbidity and high water transparency; preferably, the period between August
and mid-December is desirable. Generally fishing (in consideration to human beings and animals)
should only be done to an extent of 30C air temperature. A timetable for maximum catch-fishing
success, depending on the fishing region is mentioned below:

Epi-and Metarhithral: generally from June to the local trout spawning season, at water
temperatures between 5C and 20C. On test tracks at an altitude of about 500m and at
water temperatures below 5C, where normal fishing success is expected and the actual
conductivity of not less than 50uS/ cm.

Hyporhithral: water temperatures between 5C and a maximum of 20C.

Epipotamal: water temperatures between 8C and a maximum of 20C.

Lake outflows (with respect to the temperature regime from an upstream lake in significantly
influenced river sections) in June, at water temperatures between 8C and a maximum of
20C.

Data collected in the course of the Water Status Monitoring Regulation (formerly Water Quality
Survey Regulation) and some special measurement programs were raised to be in the H2O
Special database.
The H2O specialist database provides metrics like monitoring wells, water bodies, lakes and is
used to administrate master data and parameters. Furthermore, the measured Quality data are
recorded. It is also possible making reports and queries. In order to carry out certain tasks, specific
77

privileges are necessary. The authorization system is divided into 3 sections:

BMLFUW Federal Ministery Users;

Users of the federal districts (regions);

Users of WISA (Water Information System Austria);

In former times (before implementation of the WFD) different methodologies (e.g. formulas) for EF
were used (with quite different results). That led to work with single case contemplation until now.
The implementation can be carried out by adapting existing instruments. For a more detailed
description of objectives (fish patency) the appropriate instrument for the governor is the
improvement of the program for "water quality" according to 33d National Water Act 1959 possibly minor adaptations might be necessary. In it remedial measures are to be taken and a
timeframe for its implementation should be established. In order not to enforce individual
proceedings it is proposed to adapt remedial measures in 33d National Water Act 1959, a
commitment should be in place at the time of entry into force of a program in the redevelopment
area so that lawfully existing water uses according to the (possibly staggered) remediation
objectives (EF) should be adjusted.
Besides the priority of the redevelopment area the gradual increase in EF concerning surface
waters with a catchment area >100km2 is planned for the 2nd period (fish patency) until 2021 and
for the 3rd Period until 2027 (to achieve the good condition/good-potential) is provided. For
catchment areas <100 km2 the remediation is planned for the 3rd period until 2027.
For rivers we have standard sized monitorings (manuals for the assessment of quality elements,
called Leitfden) for the following quality components (all conditions are defined via these):

Macrophytes: A4 - Leitfaden Fliegewsser Qualittskomponente Makrophyten

Phytobenthos: A3 Leitfaden Fliegewsser Qualittskomponente Phytobenthos

Benthic invertebrate fauna: A2 - Leitfaden Fliegewsser Qualittskomponente


Makrozoobenthos

Fish fauna: A1 - Leitfaden Fliegewsser Qualittskomponente Fische

Here some examples:


For the minimum depth/migration possibility and hydro-morphological problems the EF is defined
via fish fauna (e.g. water depth not below 40cm in a river where Danube salmon is resident). For
hydro-morphological problems with sediments there is additional to look after the benthic
invertebrate fauna.
If the EF is combined with trophic problems the main component to look after is phythobenthos.
Many rivers show the need of a combination of all components to define the EF. So until now
measurements for single case studies are done Fish are because of their life cycle and because
of their differences in habitat requirements a good indicator of the ecological status of waters.
Biocenosis is for hydro-morphological pressures the relevant quality element. It must be noted that
the biocenosis does not only react to anthropogenic influences but also to extreme natural events
such as floods and droughts, and internal population factors.
The method was developed by the Federal Office for Water Management - Institute of Freshwater
Ecology, Fisheries and Lake Research (Haunschmid et al. 2006) in collaboration with the Fish
Group. The sampling here is usually carried out by electro-fishing. However other methods or a
78

combination of methods are used. Evaluated are species composition, abundance, biomass and
age structure, in rating 9 multimetrical algorithm parameters for fish-ecological status are charged.

6.3. Objectives, Aims and Goals


6.3.1. Assets
Assets and their objectives are given by the Quality Objective Act (as amended BGBI.II NR.
99/2010)
It depends on the specific given problem, which quality component indicates best. For most
hydro-morphological deficits e.g. fish fauna is the best indicator (but as mentioned there can be a
need for a combination with other biological quality components e.g. for river dams in the dam area
a priority on the benthic invertebrate fauna).
Assets are:

Phytoplankton (excerpts from 7):


1. The status of the biological quality element phytoplankton is described in item 2 of
Appendix C to the National Water Act 1959;
2. The impact of pollution on the biological quality element phytoplankton is to
determine in each case by an expert assessment on the basis of condition 2 of
Annex C to the National Water Act 1959;
3. The biological quality element phytoplankton is only for assessing the ecological
reference condition of the rivers Danube, Morava and Thaya.

Macrophytes (excerpts from 8):


1. The status of the biological quality element macrophytes is defined in Appendix C.
2. The impact of pollution on the biological quality element macrophytes is expressed
as a deviation of the condition of the surface water body from the reference value of
each water body type by index values.

Phytobenthos (excerpts from 9):


1. Assessment of the biological quality element phytobenthos is done by the modules
trophy and saproby and reference types have to be taken into account. To assess
the quality component phytobenthos the worst of the three values is crucial. If only
one of these values less than 0.03 index points from the class boundary, this value
is not suitable for the assessment.
2. The state of the module due phytobenthos trophic defined in Appendix D1, because
the module Saprobie in Appendix D2 and due to the module reference species in
Appendix D3. The module describes the response of the trophic phytobenthos on
nutrient loading, the module Saproby describes the reaction of the phytobenthos in
organic load and the module reference describes the types of synergies between
nutrient loading and organic loading and changes in other environmental conditions.
3. The impact of pollution on the trophic modules, saproby and reference types is a
variation of the condition of the surface water body from the reference condition of
the water body type expressed by index values. The reference values for each
trophic ground state class 4 in Appendix D, defined for each saprobial ground
79

status in class 5 and Appendix D for each base class status of the reference index
species in Appendix D6.

Benthic invertebrate fauna (excerpts from 10):


1. To assess the biological quality element benthic invertebrate fauna of the modules
Saprobie and general degradation have to be used. To assess the biological quality
element benthic invertebrate fauna of the worst of the values is crucial. If only one of
these values in a worse condition than the other class and less than 0.02 index
points from the class boundary, this value is not suitable for the assessment.
2. The condition of the benthic invertebrate fauna because of the module saprobity is
set out in Appendix E of the module and due to a general degradation in Appendix
E 2. The module saprobity describes the response of the benthic invertebrate fauna
on organic load, the module describes the general degradation reaction of the
benthic invertebrate fauna to changes in various environmental conditions, such as
degradation of stream morphology and dams, recycled water, and toxic loads
Feinsedimentbelastung a surface water body.
3. The effect of stress on the modules saprobity and general degradation is a variation
of the condition of the surface water body from the reference condition of the water
body type expressed by index values. The reference values are defined for each
class saprobial ground state in Appendix E1 and for the general degradation in
Appendix E3.

Fish fauna (excerpts from 11):


1. To assess the biological quality element fish fauna the Fish Index Austria (FIA) is to
be used. The FIA is composed of the criteria species composition, age structure, fish
area index and biomass. In assessing the moderate, unsatisfactory and poor
condition of the biological quality element fish fauna is the worst value of the criteria
fish region index and biomass of fish decisive as well as of the FIA calculated only
from the criteria for the species composition, age structure and fish region index.
2. The condition of the fish fauna because of the FIA is in Appendix F1, drawn on the
basis of that fish region index in Appendix F2 and determined on the base of the
criteria biomass in Appendix F3.
3. The FIA is expressed as the deviation of the status of the particular reference value.
The FIA, which is the Austrian approach to classify the ecological status of rivers
according to the fish biocenosis, is a multimetrical index representing the deviation
of the river-type-specific fish assemblage. The main parameters are (in correlation to
a fish-based typology of Austrian rivers by means of cluster analysis resulting in 8
different fish zones in 9 different geographical regions, i.e. fish bioregions):

species composition,

abundance and

age structure;

It is not possible to call even a single (or just a view) valued parameters for a riverine system as
the factors are multifactorial/multifunctional and affecting various EU - directives, federal laws and
also regional laws.
80

Most essential points are the goals to keep in order to the WFD and its implementation through the
National Water Act, the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the
conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora) and Birds directive (Directive
2009/147/EC ) on implementation of the regional government compound. In Austria there are 9
regional governments with 9 conservation laws where the Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive as well
as the Birds Directive was implemented. The content of the WFD implemented in the National
Water Act is for all regions the same as it is a federal law.
One example according to a Regional Nature Conservation Act is the Regional Nature
Conservation Act of Styria (Steiermrkisches Naturschutzgesetz 1976 - NschG 1976) to the
Topic of Natural Monuments.
Natural Monuments are excellent individual creations of nature and are worth preserving because
of

their scientific or cultural importance

their character, beauty or rarity

their particular stamp on the landscape or townscape.

Another example is mentioned in 7 (1) protection of standing and flowing waters (waters and
shoreline protection).
1. All natural standing waters and their shore areas to inland to a distance of 150m, measured
according to the site, in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 3 of 6 to 8 are
protected as conservation areas.
2. Backwaters, floodplains and the like in the area of natural flowing water, including its relicts,
the execution of a project thereof requires a grant of the authority:
a) Construction of hydro power plants;
b) Production of protective and regulatory water projects that provide for a transfer of
the bed or a significant change of the bed or banks;
c) Soil removals or expansion of existing production facilities in a 10m distance,
measured from the shoreline inland along the shoreline, other than minor
withdrawals for the own use, made without any special devices;
d) Felling of trees and shrubs of the vegetation, where this is not required by a permit
under the Forestry Act 1975 or an official order is given under the National Water
Act;
e) Dumping of rubbish, waste and the like in the shore area and filling up of backwater
relicts.

6.3.2. Expected Outcome


The expected outcome is defined in the RBMP which also has defined the (stepwise) objectives
that have to be met.
Objectives for species frequency, abundance and evaluation of age structure are included in the
FIA.
If the assessment of the fish region index is a downgrade to good status (difference between
current fishing region to the reference index value 0.6), the overall classification is not better than
81

the classification based on the fish region index as well. In these cases the status class is known
as co-criterion: for a difference between the current and the reference value of 0.6 to 0.9 of the
total status "moderate" (3), between 0.9 to 1.2 at most "unsatisfactory" (4) and for a difference of
1.2 in each case "bad" (5).
Exceptions are river sections in which the fish population is strongly influenced by sediment
management or sections with an altitude higher than 1000m above sea level, in these cases the
biomass co-factor is not applied. For the calculation of the biomass allochthonous, naturalized
Salmonids are involved.
Basically, for the determination of the FIA the concept only represents native species used.
Exceptions are allochthonous salmonids in relation to biomass and the rainbow trout
(Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the calculation of the current fish region index. The assessment of the
status of the species composition includes the evaluation parameters:

Relative proportion of the number of indicator species in comparison to the model;

Relative proportion of the number of typical accompanying species in comparison to the


model;

Relative proportion of the number of rare species compared to the accompanying mission
statement;

Number of missing flow guilds;

Number of missing reproductive guilds;

The classification of the status classes (integer 1 to 5) is obtained for each classification parameter
by means of acceptable deviations from the particular reference status.

6.4. Best Practice Example in Austria


6.4.1. Mur River
In 2007, the Institute fr Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management of the University of
Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Vienna) was consigned with the accomplishment of
investigations of water ecology at the power-plant of Pernegg, Styria on river Mur of the AHP
(VERBUND-Austrian Hydropower AG). The background is to make adaptations of energy economy
on the power-plant including the adaptation of EF on the state of the art.
With the official notification of August 25 2008, the legal authorization of revitalization, modification
and renovation of the power-plant was granted. In consideration to the results of the examinations
of the in morphometry, hydraulics and fish ecology of the residual flow reach at the power-plant of
Pernegg there is determined a minimum in-stream flow in the notification based on the data
modelling as follows:

Jan.1 Feb.29

10m/s

Mar.1 Mar.31

12m/s

Apr.1 Apr.30

16m/s

May.1 Jun.30

20m/s

Jul.1 Jul.31

18m/s
82

Aug.1 Aug.31

16m/s

Sep.1 Oct.31

14m/s

Nov.1 Dec.31

12m/s

The residual flow reach has to be designed according to the defined base of the project so that
there might be guaranteed adequate aquatic biocenoses in terms of achievement of the aimed
status of the good ecological potential.
In March 2011 there was the end of the first construction phase of channels and fish migration
aids. In the second construction phase from October 2012 until April 2012 structuring of the
residual flow reach and modification of the middle machine set will be done. In the expected third
construction phase from October 2012 to April 2013 machine 1 will be modified.
Ecological evaluations of the measures according to the project will be possible, when the
construction phase will be finished and there is reached an estimated normal operating of the
power plant. With respect to monitoring activities is is known that the used standard formulas
(e.g. Qmin = minimum annual flow) is not enough for EF in some investigated river systems.
Until now the knowledge of status concerning all small water bodies is not exactly enough to find
suitable measures a reason why working in progressive stages beginning with water bodies that
need to be urgently remediated. These measures should cause achievement of objectives by
2015/2021.
Researches show that about 67% of our rivers are at risk because of significant hydro
morphological pressures (deficits in longitudinal continuity combined with deficits of the habitats) as
main reason. So in the first step for rivers at risk the first set measures are to improve the
consistency/longitudinal continuity. For all rivers in very good and good condition the priority is to
keep them (to prevent deterioration of the status).
To prioritise river continuity the University of Natural Resourcen and Life Sciences, Institute for
Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management, has worked out an ecologically-based
strategic guideline for restoring the longitudinal connectivity for fish in running waters of Austria,
called MIRR (a Model-based Instrument for River Restoration).
As part of the implementation of the Austrian Water Act provides that the public can submit
comments on current issues. The submitted comments on the draft RBMP can be found online
(see references: public participation links). The draft of the RBMP was discussed intensively by the
public during the contribution 27 April 2009 to 27th October 2009. All comments received by the
Environment Ministry until October 2009 were treated in the further processing of the RBMP.
After public participation there was made a "response document" which can be found on the
website of Environment Ministry (see public participation links in chapter 6.5). Here you can find
the results of public participation. Also public participation was and still is involved in the process on
the information and participation rail, which means that the process of public participation is still
going on. In addition also from the Regional Government's side there were information events to
different regional stakeholders (e.g. NGO's, fishing representatives, representatives from energy
production etc.).

6.5. National References Austria


Act of Water Status Control (GZV) BGBl. II Nr. 479/2006
83

Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds published in Official Journal
L 103, 25.4.1979, pg. 118.
Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and
flora published in Official Journal L 206, 22.7.1992, pg. 750.
FIA (Fish Index Austria): (download area: www.baw igf.at and http://wisa.lebensministerium.at/article/articleview/74897/1/27032/
Haunschmid R., Wolfram G., Spindler T., Honsig-Erlenburg W., Wimmer R., Jagsch A., Kainz E.,
Hehenwarter K., Wagner B., Konecny R., Riedmller R., Ibel G., Sasano B. & N. Schotzko (2006):
Erstellung einer fischbasierten Typologie sterreichischer Fliegewsser sowie einer
Bewertungsmethode des fischkologischen Zustandes gem EU-Wasserrahmenrichtlinie.
Schriftenreihe des BAW, Band 23, Wien; 104 Seiten.
Manuals
for
the
assessment
of
http://wisa.lebensministerium.at/article/articleview/74897/1/27032/
MIRR
project:
Model
Based
Instrument
http://mirr.boku.ac.at/dl/MIRR_Kontinuumsleitfaden.pdf

for

quality
River

elements:

Restoration,

at:

National Water Act - National Water Act 1959 - CELEX-Nr.: 32000L0060 (as amended BGBl. I Nr.
14/2011): http://www.lebensministerium.at/article/articleview/19678/1/5629/
Public participation links:

http://wisa.lebensministerium.at/article/articleview/77929/1/15126/

http://wisa.lebensministerium.at/article/articleview/78156/1/15126/

www.wasseraktiv.at

Regional Nature Conservation Act of Styria (Gesetz vom 30.Juni 1976 ber den Schutz der Natur
und die Pflege der Landschaft) - Steiermrkisches Naturschutzgesetz 1976 - NschG 1976:
http://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokument.wxe?Abfrage=LrStmk&Dokumentnummer=LRST_5500_002
Regulation for ecological quality objectives of surface waters in original: Qualittszielverordnung
kologie Oberflchengewsser(as amended BGBI.II NR. 99/2010) CELEX-Nr.: 32000L0060:
http://www.wasserwirtschaft.steiermark.at/cms/beitrag/11267954/4569582/
River
Basin
Management
Plan
(2009)
http://recht.lebensministerium.at/article/articleview/82118/1/6588
http://wisa.lebensministerium.at/article/archive/29367

(enforced

30.03.2010)
and

Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000): Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and
of the Council estabilishing a framework for the Community action in the field of water policy.
Published in the Official Journal (OJ L 327) on 22. Dec. 2000.
Waters condition monitoring 2007-2009: http://www.bmlfuw.gv.at/article/articleview/70254/1/6423

84

7. Summary and Conclusions


This chapter was written by the Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management of
the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). The authors are Carina
Mielach, Rafaela Schinegger and Stefan Schmutz.
Table 15 represent answers of the project partners.
There are many different EF assessment methodologies used incorporating different aspects of
hydrology, ecology, their interaction and expert knowledge. Methods differ not only from country to
country, but sometimes even within a country. Since the variety of methods is so extensive, it is not
easy to perform a comparison or ranking of these different methodologies. In the end it is not the
most important fact how an EF value was derived, but wheter the method is able to fulfil ecological
requirements or not. Since all partners involved in this deliverable are from EU member states, the
methods need to be designed for a good ecological status/potential as demanded by the WFD.
The Methods are evaluated with regard to criteria important for EF assessments (see chapter 2
Introduction). Table 15 gives a short summary of the previously discussed criteria and how much
those criteria are fulfilled by the the methodologies of the countries.
Table 15 Summary of EF assessments

Important EF criteria
Hydrological criteria
Mean flow
Low flow
Ecological Parameters
Species diversity
Processes in aquatic ecosystems
Maintainance of habitat conditions
and river channel shape
Components of natural flow
Flow regime
Frequency
Timing
Magnitude
Duration
() Not included
(+) Included
(~) Indirectly considered

Slovenia
UL
MOP
Inst. from Water
Art. 7
Art.8

Romania
APELE
POLI-B

Italy
ARPAV

+
+

+
-

~
~

+
+

~
+

+
+
+
+
+

~
~
~
~
~

Austria
STYRIA

In Romania, different EF assessment methodologies are used but none of them is legally
implemented at the moment. The general used formulas can be classified as hydrological index
methods or look-up tables, since they base mainly on Q95. In general these methods use only
hydrological data to define an EF threshold, which is expressed as a minimum flow. In addition, Q95
is used as guaranteed flow meaning the water release downstream of small hydropower plants in
order to comply with specific obligations and its value (Q95) is in line with the recommendations
made by European Small Hydropower Association being in range Q90% to Q99%. Furthermore, in
Romania Q95 was analysed in relation to certain habitat conditions (i.e. velocity and depth) to
derive a formula, indirectly incorporating biological components. This formula is used for rivers,

85

where data availability is limited. However, since the resulting EF is only a minimum value, the
method recommends a flow variation in time.
At that stage, the Romanian method does not include ecological parameters as species diversity,
maintenance of habitat conditions or river channel shape. Depth- and velocities values were only
included indirectly for the development of a general applicable formula. For rivers with certain
structures the method might not be sufficient to preserve the ecological integrity. Also processes in
aquatic ecosystems (as e.g. spawning periods) are not incorporated. Typical components of a
natural flow regime (e.g. frequency, timing) are not obligatory but recommended at the moment.
This finally leads to the question if the selected EF assessment methodology is ecologically
sufficient, which is not answered yet. Further conclusions will follow in the second river basin
management plan, where Romania is planning to increase the contribution of ecological
parameters and flow components to improve EF assessment.
In comparison Italy uses many different methodologies, since in Italy EF has to be defined within
the Regional Water Protection Plans. Although this approach allows to include regional
characteristics of a river basin, there is a reduced transparency compared to a general national
approach. Therefore, here only the EF assessment of the Po river basin is discussed. Art. 42 of
the Veneto Regions Water Protection Plan states that for the Po river basin the EF is quantified
as determined with the Bylaw no. 7/2002 issued by the Po River Basin Authority. This method is a
combination of a general hydrological component (8 to 10% of the mean annual discharge) and six
environmental correction factors which are quantified on the basis of local river characteristics as
e.g. catchment size, river morphology (e.g. presence of pools), interaction with groundwater,
location in protected areas and water quality. At the moment these correction factors are only used
for new water concessions, while existing permits have to incorporate them by 2016.
This regional Italian method can be classified as an interim method between hydrological index
methods and hydraulic rating methods since its basis structure depends on hydrologic data, but the
ecological correction factors are already too sophisticated to be classified as hydrologic index
method. Although species diversity is not directly included, the correction factors incorporate
ecological parameters indirectly as processes in aquatic ecosystems (time modulation parameter
for spawning periods) and maintenance of habitat conditions (naturalistic and morphological
parameter). Typical components of natural flow are not considered. Although the method seems to
be very sophisticated, EF depends on a lot of factors which makes the resulting EF hardly
conceivable in comparison to other methods. Also in Italy the evaluation of the EF assessment
effectiveness was not performed yet. Therefore, the second river basin management plan will
provide more information on that issue.
In Slovenia, according to the Decree on Criteria for Determination and on the Mode of
Monitoring and Reporting of Ecologically Acceptable Flow (OG RS, No. 97/2009) two different
EF assessment methodologies are used, whereby the first (rapid method, Article 7) can be
classified as hydrological index method (or look-up table) and the second one (detailed method,
Article 8) can be classified as expert panel or holistic approach.
Although the method according to Article 7 is composed only out of the mean annual daily low flow
(MALQd) and a single correction factor (f), the factor f itself incorporates conditions concerning the
water abstraction (i.e. length, quantity, reversibility), the catchment, parts of the flow regime and
the ecological type of river. The factor f can take values higher or lower than 1. For reversible water
abstractions the lowest possible f value is 0.3 while the highest is 1.9, whereby f is multiplied by 1.6
if the ratio of mean flow and mean annual daily low flow is higher than 20 (see Table 8). This
method is used in most cases, unless certain parameters are fulfilled. For rivers with high
protection potential (protected area, endangered species, important spawning grounds) or high
86

human impact (long water use or high irreversible water abstraction) the method according to
Article 8 has to be applied. Therefore ecological parameters (species diversity, aquatic processes
and maintenance of habitat conditions) and natural flow components (e.g. frequency, timing) are
only incorporated in the detailed assessment method according to Article 8. Again the effectiveness
of this methodological approach has to be assessed by the achievement or maintenance of the
good ecological status.
In Austria, EF assessment bases on the Austria regulation for ecological quality objectives of
surface waters (BGBI.II NR. 99/2010). The regulation does not only concern EF, but all quality
components demanded by the WFD (i.e. biological, hydro-morphological and physico-chemical). In
general the EF assessment method is a hydrological index method, since the EF thresholds
themselves rely solely on hydrological data (LQd or MALQd).
The Austria method also incorporates ecological parameters as processes in aquatic ecosystems
(i.e. spawning, sediment transport) and maintenance of habitat conditions (i.e. oxygen,
temperature). Species diversity is only considered indirectly, since a fulfilment of the requirements
most probably leads to the good status of biological quality elements. The method also deals with
dynamic discharge including natural flow dynamic. In general it is recommendation to release 20%
of the actual flow. If an EF below the defined thresholds is used, detailed habitat models are
necessary to prove its suitability.
In the end, the most important question is if the EF assessment methods are sufficient to restore or
maintain the ecological integrity of a river. As mentioned before, EF is always a compromise
between nature and human use of water resources, whereby not only ecological but also
economical and social factors play a major role. Since monitoring data to evaluate the
effectiveness of the selected EF methods are missing in many countries or only present for some
case studies, it will be necessary to collect more comprehensive data in the future, in order to test
if the discussed methods are suitable and sufficient or have to be adapted to achieve the good
ecological status/potential as demanded by the WFD.
As it is shown in this deliverable, the legal status of environmental flow calculation and
implementaion is quite different in the SEE countries at that stage. However, from an
environmental perspective, methods that consider both, hydrological and ecological parameters
should be preferred in the future, in order to guarantee positive effects for aquatic the aquatic
ecosystem and its biocenosis.

87

8. Annex
8.1. Energy Loss due to EF Implementation (Romania)
To investigate the impact of WFD requirement concerning the ecological flow, on small hydropower
plants (SHPPs) in terms of energy losses, a total of 24 SHPPs belonging to five river sectors from
different rivers were analysed. Three river sectors have 6 SHPP, one river sector 4 SHPPs and
one 2 SHPPs.
Given the information was provided by a private company, the river sectors were named Ri (i=1..,
5) and the corresponding SHPPs as SHPPi.j, where i stands for the river sector and j for the
position of the SHPP.
The characteristics for the five sectors are presented in a table.
River sector

Characteristics
about 27 km length; altitudes between 926 and 462.5 mASL; gross head about 463.5
1
3
m; natural discharge between 1.29 and 4.54 m /s
about 27.5 km length; altitudes between 485 and 365 mASL; gross head about 120
2
m
about 16.4 km length; altitudes between 725 and 576.5 mASL; gross head about
3 *
148.5 m
1 reservoir, channel diversions and 6 SHPPs
2 reservoirs, and 6 SHPPs out of which 4 are with channel diversions and 2 with
4
penstocks
1 reservoir, and 4 SHPPs out of which 3 are with channel diversions and 1 with
5
penstock
* For the third sector, the ecological flow was computed as 10% of the natural flows (and not from the
multiannual mean flow) because the regulated inflows are increased with flows from the reservoir.

The average energy generated by the sixth SHPP was estimated based on the following data and
assumptions:

the monthly average discharges for a period of 67 years,

the discharge duration and utilization curves at the hydrological station, upstream
the river sector, were known,

the ecological discharges were calculated either based on the current regulation
provisions in force, or taking into account the other constraints,

the units installed discharges,

the hydraulic losses,

the average efficiencies for turbine and generators,

the units belonging to river sectors R1-R3 are equipped with Francis turbines with
average efficiencies of 0.89, those belonging to river sectors R4 and R5 with
Kaplan turbines with average efficiencies 0.9,

the generators have an average efficiency of 0.96,

the availability coefficient for the units, corresponding to a period of 15 days per year
for revisions/repairs;

One important remark has to be made in relation with the ecological flow calculations. To estimate

88

the ecological flow three alternatives were considered, each of them corresponding to 3 different
approaches used along time within the applicable legal Romanian context.
The first type of approach corresponds to a period before 1990, when, if the water intended use of
the scheme was only to generate hydropower no reserved flow was required or, in the case of
multiple uses of water, the requirement was to provide a particular discharge, called servitude
discharge, to cover the necessary uses downstream.
The second type of approach was applied between 1990 and around 2000, when the reserved flow
had to be estimated as 10% of the multiannual mean flow.
The third type of approach, applies after 2000. For catchment areas with a size smaller than 3.000
km2, the EF is computed based on a formula, depending on the minimum average flow with a 95%
probability of exceedance, as follows:

if Q95% > 0.2m3/s, then EF = Q95 + 0.1 [m3/s],

if Q95% < 0.2m3/s, then EF = 1.25Q95 + 0.05 [m3/s].

The three alternatives are differentiated with indices as it follows:


1. without EF,
2. with FE computed as 10% of multiannual mean flow,
3. with EF computed in accordance with the formula from above.
For each of the 24 SHPPs several design parameters are presented in table 3, with the following
notations:

Hgr = gross head,

MQ = multiannual mean flow,

Qi = installed flow,

Hn = net head corresponding to the installed flow,

Pi = installed capacity,

EF = environmental flow,

perc3 = percentage assigned to the ecological flow in alternative 3,

Qa = available flow, determined as the difference between MQ and EF,

Qt = turbined flow,

Ey = annual average power output,

E = loss of energy in alternatives 2 or 3, taking into account the ecological flow, as


compared to alternative 1 (difference between the energy generated in alternative 1
and the energy generated in alternative 2 or 3),

e = percentage of loss of energy (given by E divided with Ey in alternative 1).

Guidelines with hydro-morphological measures (including resettlement of lost species, fish


migration ladders, improvement of river bed structures) have been elaborated during the process
of the development of the First River Basin Management Plan, within the National Administration
Apele Romane. These guidelines were sent to the 11th river basin authorities and the experts
89

particularised them for each main river basin of Romania. A cost-effectiveness analysis has been
done and some measures will be implemented in the next river basin management cycles. In
general, for the fist cycle, Romania has a lot to do in order to reduce pollution (e.g. to build
wastewater networks and wastewater plants).
Table 16 Energy loss due to EF constrain
Parameter

Units

Hgr
MQ
Qi
Hn
Pi
Qa1
Qt1
Ey1
EF2
Qa2
Qt2
Ey2
E12
e12
EF3
perc3
Qa3
Qt3
Ey3
E13
e13

m
m3/s
m3/s
m
kW
m3/s
m3/s
GWh/year
m3/s
m3/s
m3/s
GWh/year
GWh/year
%
m3/s
%
m3/s
m3/s
GWh/year
GWh/year
%

Parameter

Units

Hgr
MQ
Qi
Hn
Pi
Qa1
Qt1
Ey1
EF2
Qa2
Qt2
Ey2
E12
e12
EF3
perc3
Qa3
Qt3
Ey3
E13
e13

m
m3/s
m3/s
m
kW
m3/s
m3/s
GWh/year
m3/s
m3/s
m3/s
GWh/year
GWh/year
%
m3/s
%
m3/s
m3/s
GWh/year
GWh/year
%

Parameter

Units

Hgr
MQ
Qi
Hn

m
m3/s
m3/s
m

SHPP
1.1
72.00
1.29
1.3
64.08
676
1.29
0.89
4.01
0.13
1.16
0.83
3.78
0.23
5.67
0.46
35.56
0.83
0.61
2.77
1.24
30.93
SHPP
3.1
15.00
22.28
25.0
13.62
2890
22.28
15.26
14.82
2.14
20.14
14.70
14.27
0.55
3.71
2.74
12.30
19.54
14.30
13.88
0.94
6.34
SHPP
4.3
10.91
29.71
30
9.67

SHPP
1.2
107.00
1.57
1.6
98.37
1292
1.57
1.08
7.52
0.16
1.42
1.02
7.09
0.43
5.69
0.54
34.14
1.04
0.76
5.29
2.22
29.58
SHPP
3.2
31.00
22.28
25.0
29.71
6430
22.28
15.26
32.73
2.14
20.14
14.70
31.52
1.21
3.70
2.74
12.30
19.54
14.30
30.66
2.07
6.32
SHPP
4.4
11.15
29.71
30
10.16

SHPP
1.3
57.00
1.72
1.7
51.16
706
1.72
1.17
4.20
0.17
1.55
1.10
3.96
0.24
5.66
0.58
33.62
1.14
0.83
2.98
1.22
28.96
SHPP
3.3
14.00
22.28
25.0
12.65
2680
22.28
15.26
13.77
2.14
20.14
14.70
13.26
0.51
3.70
2.74
12.30
19.54
14.30
12.90
0.87
6.32
SHPP
4.5
11.85
47.72
50
9.96

SHPP
1.4
77.00
2.17
2.2
67.13
1198
2.17
1.49
7.13
0.22
1.95
1.41
6.73
0.40
5.66
0.70
32.29
1.47
1.08
5.16
1.97
27.64
SHPP
3.4
20.00
22.28
25.0
18.71
4050
22.28
15.26
20.65
2.14
20.14
14.70
19.89
0.76
3.68
2.74
12.30
19.54
14.30
19.35
1.30
6.30
SHPP
4.6
10.90
47.72
50
8.65

SHPP
1.5
78.00
2.46
2.5
70.95
1456
2.46
1.69
8.50
0.25
2.21
1.60
8.02
0.48
5.68
0.78
31.76
1.68
1.23
6.19
2.31
27.17
SHPP
3.5
20.00
22.28
25.0
18.55
4020
22.28
15.26
20.50
2.14
20.14
14.70
19.75
0.75
3.66
2.74
12.30
19.54
14.30
19.21
1.29
6.29
SHPP
5.1
10.00
76.01
80
8.00

SHPP
1.6
72.50
2.46
2.5
65.15
1337
2.46
1.69
7.85
0.25
2.21
1.60
7.40
0.45
5.67
0.78
31.76
1.68
1.23
5.72
2.13
27.15
SHPP
3.6
20.00
22.28
25.0
18.51
4010
22.28
15.26
20.47
2.14
20.14
14.70
19.72
0.75
3.66
2.74
12.30
19.54
14.30
19.18
1.29
6.30
SHPP
5.2
10.00
76.01
80
8.00

SHPP
2.1
110.00
5.16
4.5
105.66
3900
5.16
3.01
22.23
0.52
4.64
2.88
21.29
0.94
4.23
1.03
19.95
4.13
2.58
19.10
3.13
14.07
SHPP
4.1
11.55
29.71
30
10.07
2458
29.71
21.00
15.64
2.97
26.74
19.00
14.23
1.41
9.04
1.43
4.81
28.30
20.10
14.98
0.67
4.26
SHPP
5.3
10.00
76.01
80
7.00

SHPP
2.2
38.50
7.61
6.5
35.66
1900
7.61
4.37
11.07
0.76
6.85
4.19
10.60
0.47
4.23
1.47
19.32
6.14
3.78
9.60
1.47
13.29
SHPP
4.2
11.25
29.71
30
10.35
2631
29.71
21.00
16.12
2.97
26.74
19.00
14.62
1.50
9.32
1.43
4.81
28.30
20.10
15.41
0.71
4.40
SHPP
5.4
10.00
76.01
80
7.50

90

Pi
Qa1
Qt1
Ey1
EF2
Qa2
Qt2
Ey2
E12
e12
EF3
perc3
Qa3
Qt3
Ey3
E13
e13

kW
m3/s
m3/s
GWh/year
m3/s
m3/s
m3/s
GWh/year
GWh/year
%
m3/s
%
m3/s
m3/s
GWh/year
GWh/year
%

2460
29.71
21.00
15.07
2.97
26.74
19.00
13.67
1.40
9.30
1.43
4.81
28.30
20.10
14.41
0.66
4.40

2583
29.71
21.00
15.83
2.97
26.74
19.00
14.35
1.48
9.32
1.43
4.81
28.30
20.10
15.13
0.70
4.40

4222
47.72
34.30
26.73
4.77
42.95
31.10
24.31
2.42
9.06
2.23
4.67
45.50
32.90
25.63
1.11
4.14

3665
47.72
34.30
22.06
4.77
42.95
31.10
20.00
2.06
9.32
2.23
4.67
45.50
32.90
21.11
0.95
4.30

5603
76.01
54.80
33.73
7.60
68.41
49.70
30.71
3.02
8.97
3.50
4.60
72.50
52.50
32.38
1.35
4.01

5603
76.01
54.80
32.49
7.60
68.41
49.70
29.54
2.95
9.08
3.50
4.60
72.50
52.50
31.20
1.29
3.97

4902
76.01
54.80
29.01
7.60
68.41
49.70
26.43
2.58
8.90
3.50
4.60
72.50
52.50
27.91
1.10
3.81

5253
76.01
54.80
30.75
7.60
68.41
49.70
27.98
2.77
9.01
3.50
4.60
72.50
52.50
29.55
1.20
3.89

Figures below shows, respectively, the dependence of the ecological flow and of the percentage of
loss of energy on the multiannual mean flow.
8

Qec [m3/s]

35

e [%]

30

25

20

15

10

1
0

0
0

20

40

60

80
Qm [m3/s]

Figure 9 EF versus multiannual mean flow

20

40

60

80
Qm [m3/s]

Figure 10 percentage of energy loss versus


multiannual mean flow

(Dotted lines = alternative 2, continuous lines = alternative 3)

One conclusion could be that, for rivers characterized by flows up to 20m3/s the EFs and the
corresponding losses of energy are lower for the alternative with constant EF equal to 10% from
the multiannual mean flow. For rivers characterized by larger flows, the EFs and the losses of
energy become higher for the alternative with constant ecological flow, 10% of the multiannual
mean flow.

91

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94

Authors Contact
Carina Mielach (BOKU)
e-mail: carina.mielach@boku.ac.at
Telephone: +43 1 47654 5227
Fax: +43 1 47654 5217

Dino Gasparetto (ARPAV)


e-mail: dgasparetto@arpa.veneto.it
Telephone: +39 041.2794705
Fax: +39 041 2794713

Rafaela Schinegger (BOKU)


e-mail: rafaela.schinegger@boku.ac.at
Telephone: +43 1 47654 5223
Fax: +43 1 47654 5217

Italo Saccardo (ARPAV)


e-mail: isaccardo@arpa.veneto.it
Telephone: +39 041.2794005
Fax: +39 0412794713

Stefan Schmutz (BOKU)


e-mail: stefan.schmutz@boku.ac.at
Telephone: +43 1 47654 5202
Fax: +43 1 47654 5217

Matteo Cesca (ARPAV)


e-mail: mcesca@arpa.veneto.it
Telephone: +39 0437 935514
Fax: +39 0437 098200

Andreea Galie (APELE)


e-mail: andreea.galie@hidro.ro
Telephone: +40 723252402
Fax: +40 21 315 55 35

Albert Rechberger (STYRIA)


e-mail: albert.rechberger@stmk.gv.at
Telephone: +43 316 877 2464
Fax: +43 316 877 2480

Florentina Isfan (APELE)


e-mail:.isfan_florentina@yahoo.com
Telephone: +40 729842274
Fax: + 40 21 315 55 35

Herwig Talker (STYRIA)


e-mail: herwig.talker@stmk.gv.at
Telephone: +43 316 877 3654
Fax: +43 316 877 2480

Ileana Tanase (APELE)


e-mail: liliana.tanase@hidro.ro
Telephone: +40 744430522
Fax: + 40 21 315 55 35

Sao antl (UL)


e-mail: saso.santl@fgg.uni-lj.si
Telephone: +386 1 42 54 052
Fax: +386 1 426 91 63

Bogdan Popa (POLI-B)


e-mail: popab_234@yahoo.com
Telephone: +40 214029189
Fax: -

Nevenka Colnaric (MOP)


e-mail: nevenka.colnaric@gov.si
Telephone: +386 2 234 96 31
Fax: +386 2 234 96 34
Nataa vanut Smolar (Water Institute)
e-mail: natasa.smolar@izvrs.si
Telephone: +386 14775 326
Fax: +386 1 4264 162

www.seehydropower.eu
Project Contact
Ing. Maximo Peviani
maximo.peviani@rse-web.it
Telephone: +39 035 55771 (switchboard)
Fax: +39 035 5577999

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