The analysis and prevention of hydrogeological risks plays a very important role and, currently, much attention is paid to advanced numerical models that correspond more to physical reality and whose aim is to reproduce complex environmental phenomena even for long times and on large spatial scales. Within this context, the feasibility of performing an effective balance of surface water flow relating to several months was explored, based on accurate hydraulic and mathematical-numerical models applied to a system at the scale of a hydrographic basin. To pursue this target, a 2D Riemann–Godunov shallow-water approach, solved in parallel on a graphical processing unit (GPU), able to drastically reduce calculation time, and implemented into the RiverFlow2D code (2017 version), was selected. Infiltration and evapotranspiration were included but in a simplified way, in order to face the calibration and validation simulations and because, despite the parallel approach, it is very demanding even for the computer time requirement. As a test case the Pescara river basin, located in Abruzzo, Central Italy, covering an area of 813 km2 and well representative of a typical medium-sized basin, was selected. The topography was described by a 10 × 10 m digital terrain model (DTM), covered by about 1,700,000 triangular elements, equipped with 11 rain gauges, distributed over the entire area, with some hydrometers and some fluviometric stations. Calibration, and validation were performed considering the flow data measured at a station located in close proximity to the mouth of the river. The comparison between the numerical and measured data, and also from a statistical point of view, was quite satisfactory. A further important outcome was the capability to highlight any differences between the numerical flow-rate balance carried out on the basis of the contributions of all known sources and the values actually measured. This characteristic of the applied modeling allows better calibration and verification not only of the effectiveness of much more simplified approaches, but also the entire network of measurement stations and could suggest the need for a more in-depth exploration of the territory in question. It would also enable the eventual identification of further hidden supplies of water inventory from underground sources and, accordingly, to enlarge the hydrographic and hydrogeological border of the basin under study. Moreover, the parallel computing platform would also allow the development of effective early warning systems, for example, of floods.
Removing sugarcane straw to increase bioenergy production can generate significant income to the industry. However, straw contributes to the regulation of soil functions and consequently supports the provision of ecosystem services, such as water flow regulation. Thus, straw removal may hinder the provision of these services, especially in mechanized sugarcane production systems, which have soil compaction problems due to machinery traffic. In this study, we assess a six-year experiment in Brazil with four rates of straw removal: 0 Mg ha−1 (TR), 5 Mg ha−1 (HR), 10 Mg ha−1 (LR), and 15 Mg ha−1 (NR) remaining straw. Using attributes, such as soil bulk density, porosity, water infiltration, runoff, saturated hydraulic conductivity and available water-holding capacity, as indicators of key soil functions, we calculated a soil-related ecosystem service (ES) index for water flow regulation provision. The ES index revealed that water flow regulation was low regardless of the straw management (0.56, 0.63, 0.64 and 0.60 for TR, HR, LR and NR, respectively). It can be a consequence of soil compaction caused by machinery traffic throughout the successive cycle, whose straw was unable to mitigate this issue. Thus, by the end of the sugarcane cycle (sixth ratoon), straw removal had little effect on soil physical and hydraulic indicators, and consequently had little impact on the provision of the soil-related ES associated with water flow regulation. Nevertheless, straw management should be planned to consider other functions and soil-related ES benefited by straw retention.