Hydromorphology – the Study of the Hydromorphological Characteristics of Surface Water and the Changes in the Hydromorphological Processes and Characteristics Resulting from Various Disturbances of the Aquatic Environment
With the increasing demand for water for irrigation, power generation, breeding of aquatic organisms and activities affecting water and offshore land due to settlement, development of transport infrastructure and agricultural land use, man has caused numerous changes to the natural hydromorphological characteristics. Many barriers and dams were built, interrupting the characteristic longitudinal flow continuity, more often than not making the corridors narrower and depriving the rivers of their natural plan courses. Variegated riverbeds have in many cases been replaced with rectangular and trapezoidal shapes, while their banks and beds have been reinforced using rigid materials. In many areas, riparian vegetation has been removed that otherwise protects the river from the ingress of pollution from agricultural and urban areas and provides spawning and hiding areas for aquatic and riparian animals. Floodplains were recklessly settled and must now be protected using high water river embankments. In some places, the development of lake- and sea-shores has left the riparian zone completely different, with consolidated river embankments, numerous piers and organised access to water, paved riverbeds and extensive coastal soil spilling. In many areas, access to water has been restricted.
Hydromorphological pressures (regulation of the Triglavska Bistrica Stream at Mojstrana, the Medvode Hydro-Electric Power Plant on the Sava River and the abstraction of water on the Kamniška Bistrica watercourse at Stahovica)
By protecting hydromorphological values, we want to prevent the deterioration and perhaps even improve the status of aquatic ecosystems at rivers, lakes and coastal waters. To this end, the IWRS analyses the changes in the hydromorphological characteristics of rivers, lakes and coastal waters and how the aquatic ecosystems respond to these pressures. We investigate the reasons and the causes for the poor hydromorphological status of water and define adequate measures as part of our integral water management activities. We analyse pressures and impacts on individual water bodies (rivers, lakes and coastal waters) using statistical analyses of databases and layers and by retrieving data in the field.
Hydromorphological pressures (regulation of the Kamniška Bistrica watercourse at Kamnik, regulation of the Kobilje Stream at Kobilje, the Lake Žovnek reservoir, regulation of the Sava River at Šentjakob)
Results from analyses show that a third of the surface water bodies in Slovenia are under heavy hydromorphological pressure due to hydrological regime changes, intensive use of the riparian zones of rivers, lakes and coastal waters, river regulation and water consumption. This is why identifying and analysing hydromorphological pressures and their impacts and causes is vital for further action and to improve the status of the aquatic environment.
Petra Repnik Mah (email@example.com)