Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp 1913–1925 | Cite as

Water management and aquatic ecosystem services of a tropical reservoir (Itaparica, São Francisco, Brazil)

  • Günter Gunkel
  • Florian Selge
  • Jonas Keitel
  • Debora Lima
  • Silvana Calado
  • Maria Sobral
  • Maricela Rodriguez
  • Elena Matta
  • Reinhard Hinkelmann
  • Peter Casper
  • Michael Hupfer
Original Article


Reservoirs have a wide variety of uses that have led to frequent conflicts over ecological conservation and contamination, especially as land management has intensified. Oligotrophication must be implemented in numerous tropical reservoirs that experience advanced eutrophication to maintain aquatic ecosystem functions. To quantify impacts on ecosystem functions and to develop an adaptive management policy, multiple studies have been conducted on the Itaparica Reservoir, São Francisco River, in the semi-arid north-eastern region of Brazil. Here, we add to that existing body of knowledge through investigating how nutrient accumulation is affected by water exchange between the main river flow and Icó-Mandantes Bay. Operational water-level fluctuations in the reservoir create large desiccated littoral areas that release high amounts of nutrients when they are rewetted. In particular, water-level variation promotes proliferation of Egeria densa, a noxious weed, thus elevating trophic levels of the Itaparica Reservoir and Icó-Mandantes Bay. Analysis with a P efficiency model determined 25 μg P L−1 to be the critical concentration and further indicated that the critical load in both bodies of water have been exceeded. Moreover, intensive fish aquaculture using net cages has led to further overtaxing of the reservoir. We conclude that an effective ecological reservoir management policy must involve oligotrophication, harvesting of noxious water weeds for use as soil amendment in agriculture or biogas production, “blue” aquaculture, and limiting hydroelectric power production based on current water availability.


Water quality Eutrophication “Blue” aquaculture Water-level fluctuations Oligotrophication Noxious water weed 



The study reports data from the CHESF monitoring program conducted during 2007–2010 by the FADURPE and the INNOVATE project.

Funding information

The binational INNOVATE project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Brazilian Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), the Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (MCTI), and the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Günter Gunkel
    • 1
  • Florian Selge
    • 1
  • Jonas Keitel
    • 2
  • Debora Lima
    • 1
  • Silvana Calado
    • 3
  • Maria Sobral
    • 3
  • Maricela Rodriguez
    • 2
  • Elena Matta
    • 1
  • Reinhard Hinkelmann
    • 1
  • Peter Casper
    • 4
  • Michael Hupfer
    • 2
  1. 1.Chair Water Quality ControlBerlin University of TechnologyBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department Chemical Analytics and BiogeochemistryLeibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Federal University of PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  4. 4.Department Experimental LimnologyLeibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesBerlinGermany

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