Priority environmental issues as identified above are often quite general (e.g., water quality, air quality, biodiversity). As we go forward, it is important to be more specific with regard to each priority environmental issue. This will make it much easier to identify what is happening to the environment and why.
Consider water quality for example. This issue is sometimes specified in an aggregate form (e.g., a country’s national water quality index). To conduct an integrated analysis it is necessary to think of water quality in a more spatially defined context. For example, a certain river and lake system might be particularly problematic at the time you are developing your IEA. The following case illustrates this level of specificity, building on an earlier case study under Section 3. This example will be used in later sections to illustrate the telling of an integrated story using the DPSIR framework.
|Figure 7: Flow adjusted nitrogen
concentration in the Red River north
(downstream) of Winnipeg
The state of water quality in the Red River, Province of Manitoba, Canada
For an example of an environmental state issue, consider water quality in Lake Winnipeg (introduced in section 4). From 1978 through 2000, there was an increase in nutrient concentration ( in the Red River flowing into Lake Winnipeg, particularly north of the city of Winnipeg (approximately 600 000 inhabitants) and where two other rivers, the Assiniboine and Seine, merge with the Red River.
The figure below illustrates the increase in total nitrogen concentration between 1978 and 2000 at a monitoring station north of the city of Winnipeg, MB. The increase of nitrogen concentration in a major river flowing into Lake Winnipeg is relevant for IEA analysis, as nitrogen in excessive quantities can be one of the common factors in causing algal blooms and other water quality problems. This piece of information is necessary, but insufficient to understand the nature of water quality problems in the lake, as there may also be other causal agents at work that would need to be monitored and understood.