The original decision support system tool (DSS) Hydromanager - as developed by the Altai State University - aimed at the economic optimisation of the quality management, by integrating environmental, socio-economic and legal considerations for the conditions in the Russian Federation. During the project, this DSS was adapted, in order to allow it to take environmental processes into account in a way that is compatible with the integrated basin management - as expressed in the Water Framework Directive of the EU - and with the economic principles that are applied in the EU with regard to the water management.
To achieve this goal, the similarities and the differences in the approaches for the environmental and economic management of the water quality of river basins in the EU and Russia have been analysed.
Based on this analysis, a new algorithm for the optimisation of the funds for water quality protection measures has been formulated. As opposed to the original procedure, whereby the total cost was optimised, the new procedure provides a ranking of water quality protection actions with respect to their economic efficiency on the basin scale. Other adaptations that were made to the DSS deal with the simulation model for the water quality, the calibration of this model and the data handling procedures.
In order to provide feedback on the applicability of the new DSS, the latter has been tested on the River Nete in Belgium and the River Ob in Russia. The research on the test cases allowed for the evaluation of the integrated environmental and economic optimisation of the considered river basins.
From a scientific point of view, the work that has been carried out is quite original, as few tools allow for the integration of the environmental and the economic aspects of the water quality management of river basins. On the other hand, there is a need for this type of models, as the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires to take economic considerations into account for the definition of the pollution abatement plans. The latter is also illustrated by the fact that, during the project, the Belgian and the French partners of the project collaborated with their respective authorities in view of an economic evaluation / optimisation of the pollution abatement plans for the Nete and the Seine river basins.
In the Russian Federation, the comparative analysis of the principles, norms and mechanisms for the river basin water quality management in the EU and Russia led to recommendations for adaptations of the Russian legislation. While the management of the water quality on the scale of the river basins - one of the major novelties of the WFD - is not believed to be applicable in the RF, due to the regional economic management in the water sector and the lack of financial tools, it was nevertheless suggested to adopt elements of the WFD for the reform of the relevant legislative base in Russia.