Decision support tool
The last centuries has led to significant changes in the hydrology of Swedish catchments. For example, farm land and forests have been drained, rivers have been dredged and straitened, lakes have been lowered, etc. This has led to that the water storage capacity of catchments has been reduced and transport times has increased. The consequences of this is that the hydrological system has been more sensitive to extreme weather events. Risks associated with water shortage during droughts and floods after heavy rainfall have thus increased. The expected future climate change will further expose the hydrological systems to changes that will lead to even bigger risks in the coming century.
The research described in the present application aims to increase the hydrodiversity of Swedish catchments to replicate a more natural state. Our main research questions are; what are the hydrological benefits of wetlands and how can you create a diverse system of wetlands to achieve the optimal benefit?
The results from the project will lead to an increased ability of catchments to cope with extreme weather, both today and in the future. In the project, the hydrological benefit of wetlands will be quantified, both in terms of water volumes and in economical values. Using a hydrological model as a base, a decision support tool will be developed. The tool will be tested in five case catchments. The tool will support decision makers and other stakeholders to make informed and evidence-based decisions for the optimal location, design, and management of wetlands and wetland systems. Even if the focus of our research is the hydrological function of wetlands, an increasing hydrodiversity will also lead to other positive effects like an increasing biodiversity and a better water quality.