Sonja Behmel publishes in the journal “Science of the Total Environment”.
Title: Water quality monitoring strategies – A review and future perspectives
Abstract: The reliable assessment of water quality through water quality monitoring programs (WQMPs) is crucial in order for decision-makers to understand, interpret and use this information in support of their management activities aiming at protecting the resource. The challenge of water quality monitoring has been widely addressed in the literature since the 1940s. However, there is still no generally accepted, holistic and practical strategy to support all phases of WQMPs. The purpose of this paper is to report on the use cases a watershed manager has to address to plan or optimize a WQMP from the challenge of identifying monitoring objectives; selecting sampling sites and water quality parameters; identifying sampling frequencies; considering logistics and resources to the implementation of actions based on information acquired through the WQMP. An inventory and critique of the information, approaches and tools placed at the disposal of watershed managers was proposed to evaluate how the existing information could be integrated in a holistic, user-friendly and evolvable solution. Given the differences in regulatory requirements, water quality standards, geographical and geological differences, land-use variations, and other site specificities, a one-in-all solution is not possible. However, we advance that an intelligent decision support system (IDSS) based on expert knowledge that integrates existing approaches and past research can guide a watershed manager through the process according to his/her site-specific requirements. It is also necessary to tap into local knowledge and to identify the knowledge needs of all the stakeholders through participative approaches based on geographical information systems and adaptive survey-based questionnaires. We believe that future research should focus on developing such participative approaches and further investigate the benefits of IDSS’s that can be updated quickly and make it possible for a watershed manager to obtain a timely, holistic view and support for every aspect of planning and optimizing a WQMP.