Review: the environmental status and implications of the nitrate time lag in Europe and North America.
Vero, Sara E.
Basu, Nandita B.
Van Meter, Kimberly
Richards, Karl G.
Healy, Mark G.
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Vero, Sara E., Basu, Nandita B., Van Meter, Kimberly, Richards, Karl G., Mellander, Per-Erik, Healy, Mark G., & Fenton, Owen. (2018). Review: the environmental status and implications of the nitrate time lag in Europe and North America. Hydrogeology Journal, 26(1), 7-22. doi: 10.1007/s10040-017-1650-9
The efficacy of water quality policies aiming to reduce or prevent nitrate contamination of waterbodies may be constrained by the inherent delay or Btime lag^ of water and solute transport through unsaturated (soil) and saturated (groundwater) pathways. These delays must be quantified in order to establish realistic deadlines, thresholds and policy expectations, and to design effective best management prac- tices. The objective of this review is to synthesise the current state of research on nitrate-related time lags in both the European and North American environmental and legislative contexts. The durations of time lags have been found to differ according to climatic, pedological, landscape and manage- ment scenarios. Elucidation of these driving factors at a wa- tershed scale is essential where water quality is impaired or at risk. Finally, the existence of time lags is increasingly being acknowledged at a policy level and incorporated into the development of environmental legislation. However, the full impact of these time lags is not yet fully understood or appreci- ated, and continued outreach and education in scientific, public and policy venues is still required.