The ever-increasing pollutant loads have significantly degraded the quality of receiving water bodies. High-resolution, spatially distributed water quality simulation models can be unsuitable at the planning/reconnaissance level of water resources decision making or for the rapid interactive analysis to support a participatory decision environment. This study presents a complex system dynamic (SD) eutrophication model in an object-oriented template to facilitate reservoir nutrient simulation process and assessment of alternative management strategies. The proposed model considers feedback and interactive loops between phytoplanktons, herbivorous zooplanktons, carnivorous zooplanktons, particulate organic matter, dissolved organic matter, ammonium, nitrate, phosphorus, total suspended solids, and dissolved oxygen in the simulation process. The reservoir SD eutrophication model is structured and expressed as a series of 30 differential equations for 10 state variables and three segmented layers. The model was applied to the Karkheh Reservoir in Iran to simulate the key epilimnion, thermocline, and hypolimnion temporal patterns of the system. The SD eutrophication model is quite suitable for rapid scenario analysis and preliminary management targets. Results of the proposed model compared well with those of a well-known two-dimensional process-based water quality simulation model (CE-QUAL-W2) and measured field data during the calibration and verification periods. Effects of reduction and/or increase in total incoming nutrient loads resulting from different load management scenarios were also examined. Results showed that the Karkheh Reservoir is phosphorus limited during the summer stratified periods. Copyright 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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