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A catalogue of European intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams

Sauquet, Eric; van Meerveld, Ilja; Gallart, Francesc; Sefton, Catherine; Parry, Simon; Gauster, Tobias; Laaha, Gregor; Alves, Maria Helena; Arnaud, Patrick; Banasik, Kazimierz; Beaufort, Aurélien; Bezdan, Atila; Datry, Thibault; De Girolamo, Anna Maria; Dörflinger, Gerald; Elçi, Alper; Engeland, Kolbjørn; Estrany, Joan; Fialho, Alice; Fortesa, Josep; Hakoun, Vivien; Karagiozova, Tzviatka; Kohnova, Silvia; Kriauciuniene, Jurate; Morais, Manuela; Ninov, Plamen; Osuch, Marzena; Reis, Edite; Rutkowska, Agnieszka; Stubbington, Rachel; Tzoraki, Ourania; Żelazny, Mirosław

SMIRES is a COST Action addressing the Science and Management of Intermittent Rivers & Ephemeral Streams (coord. T. Datry, INRAE, and G. Singer, University of Innsbruck; This COST Action had brought together scientists from various research field and stakeholders to develop a European multidisciplinary network for synthesising the fragmented and recent knowledge on temporary water courses, improving our understanding of Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams (IRES) and translating this into a science-based, sustainable management of river networks.

The working group “Prevalence, distribution and trends of IRES” (WG1) has the central role to provide the physical basis of the SMIRES Action. One of the tasks of WG1 was to compile flow gauging data at the European scale. As part of this work, examples of intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams were collected across Europe, including gauged catchments with both natural and highly influenced river flow regimes. A total of 40 examples have been put together in this catalogue to provide an overview of the variety of IRES in Europe. The selected IRES are not meant to be representative of all intermittent water courses in Europe but rather highlight the variety in these water courses.

Introductory pages describe the procedures used to create the catalogue including definitions of the statistical measures reported for the individual intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams, and provide an overview of the catalogued water courses. Information on the selected gauged intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams is summarised in a two-page document:

  • The first standardized page describes the main characteristics of the catchments (land-use, geology, climate, etc.) and the river flow regime. Two panels display the hydrographs and flow durations curves, and a table gives metrics specific to river flow intermittence relevant for ecology.
  • The second page is dedicated to the description and reasons for intermittence. A short description about the spatio-temporal pattern of zero-flow events. This section may describe the seasonal behaviour of the stream, observed long-term trends, locations with frequently observed zero-flow events along the river network, etc. The monitoring network, including gauging stations and other types of observations (e.g. visual inspection of the flow states at different locations along the river) in the catchment, are also described.
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