Modelling water storage capacity in small artificial wetlands – now and in the future (master)

Last changed: 20 November 2023

In this project, you will study water storage capacity in constructed wetlands to get insights about buffering of high flows and prevention of drought. Different climate change scenarios will be applied to investigate the role of these wetlands in the future.

During the last centuries, anthropogenic pressures have changed the landscape considerably, wetlands have been drained to create agricultural land and streams have been straightened. This has decreased the natural buffering capacity in the landscape, a capacity that becomes increasingly important with climate change.  

Ponds and wetlands in the landscape have many different purposes e.g. (1) nutrient retention, (2) mitigating floods and droughts, (3) biodiversity and (4) recreation. Previous research has shown that wetlands can be important buffering features in the landscape (Åhlén et al. 2022). 

We have collected high-frequency water level data from 10 constructed wetlands (ponds) in the Mälardalen area during one extreme weather year (2023). Preliminary results show that the water level in the different ponds reacts differently to the weather. Some sites are stable both during dry and wet periods, while some have considerably varying water levels. The design of the pond affects both the storage capacity and likely nutrient retention. In this study, the water levels of ponds will be explored both under current and future climates. Future climate scenarios (RCP:s and extreme weather) will be modelled with PERSiST (Futter et al. 2014) a rainfall-runoff model that can be calibrated to water level. The study will result in advice on how the design affects the storage capacity as well as the buffering capacity of artificial ponds in the landscape. 

If you are interested in this topic, which is a project highly relevant to decision-makers and authorities pease contact Emma or Martyn.



Futter M.N., Erlandsson M.A., Butterfield D., Whitehead P.G., Oni S.K., Wade AJ. 2014. PERSiST: a flexible rainfall-runoff modelling toolkit for use with the INCA family of models. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci.:19.

Åhlén I, Thorslund J, Hambäck P, Destouni G, Jarsjö J. 2022. Wetland position in the landscape: Impact on water storage and flood buffering. Ecohydrology. 15(7):e2458.


  • Main subject area: Environmental Science
  • Level and length: advanced level (Master, 30 hp / 20 weeks)
  • Language: English