Changes in river discharge structure and regime in mining-industrial-urban areas

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In mining-industrial-urban areas, the variability of river discharge is regulated, directly or indirectly, by human economic activity. This results from the presence of alien water, which often comes from outside the catchment area, is discharged into the river network. This water includes industrial and municipal wastewater and deep-drainage mine water. Simultaneously, as a result of water intake and water infiltration into dry ground (due to mining), the volume of river discharge decreases. Such changeable conditions of water alimentation and drainage are typical of many regions of Europe. Detailed investigations of the range and directions of changes in river structure and regime were carried out for the area of Upper Silesian Industrial Region (USIR) of Poland. The results were compared with the results of investigations carried out in the Ruhr Basin of Germany and the Donetsk Basin of the Ukraine and Russia. The investigations showed that, in some cases, prolonged, multifunctional economic activity of a man has effectively eliminated of the influence of natural hydrometeorological conditions on river discharge. Wastewater and mine water which has contributed to river flow is only slightly variable in the annual cycle and it causes an increase of water volume and a discharge smoothing. Sewage effluent and mine wastewater also change the structure of river runoff because their contribution to the runoff sometimes exceeds 90% of its volume.

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