The intensive uses of limited water resources, the growing population rates and the various increasing human activities put high and continuous stresses on these resources. Major problems affecting the water quality of rivers, streams and lakes may arise from inadequately treated sewage, poor land use practices, inadequate controls on the discharges of industrial waste waters, uncontrolled poor agricultural practices, excessive use of fertilizers, and a lack of integrated watershed management. This study explores the impact of these pollution problems and the water quality degradation of Irrigated agricultural watersheds When the watersheds have a complex physical basis of interacting water bodies such as canals, drains and coastal lagoons as in the case of irrigated watersheds in coastal river Deltas, and when these environments are ‘data scarce environments’, the problems of managing water quality becomes more obvious and the need for reliable solutions becomes an urgent requirement.
This study focused on the management of surface water quality problems in such watersheds and the importance of taking into consideration all the watershed components and the effects of pollution from the upstream canals on the downstream coastal lakes. In this study a generic framework for a (Water Quality Management Information System) is developed depending on the integration of physically based hydrodynamic and water quality models with GIS capabilities and the spatial and temporal capabilities of remote sensing in water quality modeling. The application is developed and tested for the Edko drainage catchment and shallow lake system in the western part of the Nile Delta, Egypt. The developed framework includes a hierarchy of modeling tools: a 1D-2D basic hydrodynamic model for a combined shallow lake-drainage system, a detailed 2D hydrodynamic model of the shallow lake, and a 2D water quality and eutrophication screening models for the lake system. The basic water quality model for the lake system simulates the main water quality parameters including the oxygen compounds, nutrients compounds, temperature, salinity and the total suspended matter (TSM). The complexity of the physical and ecological properties of the lake system implied the use of different methodologies for models calibration using remote sensing. The combination of remote sensing with mathematical modelling, for the calibration and verification of TSM and chlorophyll-concentrations in the shallow lake system showed reliable and successful results.