Caring about the future

VITAQUA: Climate change: an additional threat to aquatic systems under intensive pressure from agricultural diffuse pollution
Coordinator - Nelson J C Abrantes
Programme - PTDC/AAC-AMB/112438/2009
Execution dates - 2011-04-01 - 2014-09-30 (42 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT
Funding for CESAM - 162369 €
Total Funding - 162369 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Aveiro

Project Description

The main challenge of the VITAQUA project will be to study the impacts of climate change on hydrological processes, agricultural pollution, ecosystem functioning, and ecological status of water bodies that are located nearby intensive agricultural areas. Moreover, it is also an objective of the project to study and propose adaptation measures which conform to the WFD while taking climate change into account.

Therefore, a tiered design was planed in order to reach the major goals of the project:

  • Apply and evaluate the reliability of the SWAT model to simulate the input of agrochemicals (nutrients and pesticides) to aquatic systems in intensive vineyard areas and to reproduce current chemical status and ecological status indicators.

  • Evaluate the impacts of climate changes on water quality status, taking into account their implications in the main diffuse pollution drivers.

  • Perform microcosm bioassays for simulate aquatic ecosystems under present and future climate scenarios.

  • Design and test adaptations in agricultural practices to minimize the impacts of agriculture on water bodies under baseline and future climate conditions.

The project will focus on a pilot basin (Cértima catchment), which corresponds to an important viticulture region in the Portuguese context - Bairrada.VITAQUA project includes a multidisciplinary research team with competences on hydrological, climatological, chemical, ecological and ecotoxicological subjects, allowing a solid combination of distinct tools, which results in a holistic overview. The results of this project will help to cover a lack of information regarding the implications of the climate change on aquatic resources impacted by agricultural diffuse pollution contributing therefore for an effective environmental management strategy to secure resource sustainability and help in the formulation of agricultural best practice' decisions.

CESAM members on this project


Jan Jacob Keizer


CESAM Funding: UIDP/50017/2020 + UIDB/50017/2020 + LA/P/0094/2020