Assessment of water retention function as tool to improve integrated watershed management (case study of Poprad river basin, Slovakia)

Sci Total Environ. 2017 Dec 1;599-600:1082-1089. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.04.227. Epub 2017 May 12.


The presented study concentrates on assessing the ecosystem function of water retention. The water retention function is defined as the ability of the landscape to retain water, slow runoff and encourage water infiltration. The water retention function was expressed by calculating the hydric significance (HS) indicator. This method is based on scoring the individual input parameters according to their overall impact on watershed hydrology. The study was conducted on a sample area of Poprad River basin. The final results presented a spatial distribution of hydric function within the watershed classified according to its significance into four classes (from limited to excellent significance). A breakdown of the results on the level of elementary watersheds was used in order to examine those with low hydric function. The results showed a significant influence of land-use on retention function; however, this impact could be limited by extreme precipitation or high soil water saturation. The methodology of hydric significance represents an innovative approach towards assessment of ecosystem function of water retention on regional level.

Keywords: Hydric significance; Integrated watershed management; Land-use.