WP3 - Pressures and Impacts

Workpackage-leader: AHEC


WP 3 (Pressures and Impacts) has the objective to establish an overview of driving forces, pressures and impacts on the rivers in the HKH region. Among the most relevant pressures, focus may be given to: industrial and domestic pollution, toxic contamination, disturbance caused by hydropower (hydropeaking, damming), morphological disturbance, erosion and water abstraction. The focus of investigation will be dependent on the most significant problems experienced in the respective countries. The pressures and impacts will also be evaluated in terms of their socio-economic aspects (drinking water quality, water-borne diseases, water usage etc.), which will lead to creation a list of pressures and impacts.

Based on the results of the first tasks of this WP, a scheme for pre-classifying the ecological status of a site will be developed. This procedure is solely focusing on abiotic criteria (sensoric, physical and chemical features) and leads to the pre-classification of an investigation site in one of five different ecological status classes (high=reference, good, moderate, poor and bad). This preliminary classification will serve as a hypothesis and will be used to select fauna metrics reflecting the degradation of the individual sites.

The pressures and impacts study is the basis for sampling design as described in WP 4 and will provide a scientific basis for testing different stream assessment methods and developing a combined methodological procedure ("ASSESS-HKH Methodology") within WP 5.

Description of work

Task 3.1 Identify and prioritise driving forces, pressures and possible impacts in the HKH region: Within this task insight will be provided to the current pressures in the HKH region. Selected driving forces having the most negative impact and causing the most significant problems on HKH rivers will be chosen for further investigation. This step will not be based on field work but on the evaluation of existing published and unpublished data.

Task 3.2 Review of existing policies with regard to sustainable water management and describe the socio-economic aspects related to the pressures and impacts: A review of existing policies and instruments (legal and regulatory framework) that effect water quality, its availability and sustainable use (differentiation between rural, industrial and urban sector) will be compiled. Along with Task 3.1, the results of the review will be available as a report and also serve as a base for selecting stressors for investigation within this research work.

Task 3.3 Define a pre-classification scheme for ecological status: Based on Task 3.1 and 3.2, but also on the results of WP2, a pre-classifying scheme for allocation of a site to one of the five ecological quality classes will be applied. The system will exclusively be based on abiotic features such as those mentioned under 3.1.

Task 3.4 Select impacted sites for investigation: As final task within this WP, stream sections representing different deviations from the reference conditions will be selected. Four sites of class II and three sites per other ecological quality class (III-V) and stream type will be selected in each HKH country resulting in 13 impacted sampling sites per stream type and a total of 130 impacted sampling sites.

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