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Spatialized freshwater ecosystem life cycle impact assessment of water consumption based on instream habitat change modeling

Abstract : In this article a new characterization model and factors are proposed for the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) of water consumption on instream freshwater ecosystems. Impact pathways of freshwater consumption leading to ecosystem damage are described and the alteration of instream physical habitat is identified as a critical midpoint for ecosystem quality. The LCIA characterization model aims to assess the change in habitat quantity due to consumptive water use. It is based on statistical, physical habitat simulation for benthic invertebrates, fish species and their size classes, and guilds of fish sharing common habitat preferences. A habitat change potential (HCP) midpoint, mechanistic indicator, is developed and computed on the French river network at the river reach scale (the river segment with variable length between the upstream and downstream nodes in the hydrographic network), for median annual discharges and dry seasons. Aggregated, multi-species HCPs at a river reach are proposed using various aggregation approaches. Subsequently, the characterization factors are spatially aggregated at watershed and sub-watershed scales. HCP is highly correlated with median and low flow discharges, which determine hydraulic characteristics of reaches. Aggregation of individual HCPs at reach scale is driven by the species most sensitive to water consumption. In spatially aggregated HCPs, consistently with their reduced smaller average discharge rate, small stream habitats determine the overall watershed characterization. The study is aimed primarily at life cycle assessment (LCA) practitioners and LCIA modelers. However, since it is the result of a productive cross-fertilization between the ecohydrology and LCA domains, it could be potentially useful for watershed management and risk assessment as well. At the moment, the proposed model is applicable in France. For a broader implementation, the development of global, high resolution river databases or the generalization of the model are needed. Our new factor represents nevertheless an advancement in freshwater ecosystems LCIA laying the basis for new metrics for biodiversity assessment.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 25, 2021 - 4:02:13 PM
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M. Damiani, N. Lamouroux, H. Pella, P. Roux, Eléonore Loiseau, et al.. Spatialized freshwater ecosystem life cycle impact assessment of water consumption based on instream habitat change modeling. Water Research, IWA Publishing, 2019, 163, pp.114884. ⟨10.1016/j.watres.2019.114884⟩. ⟨hal-02609653⟩



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