The expected response of fluvial biofilms to the environment and metal pollution prevailing under different discharge conditions was investigated. The relationship between inter-annual hydrological variability and metal concentration in water and sediments was explored in Mediterranean rivers (Catalonia, NE Spain) affected by low but chronic metal pollution, using monitoring data provided by the Catalan Water Agency (ACA). During the period investigated (2000-2006), metal pollution was characterized by low water concentrations and high concentrations in sediments. The most consistent pattern was observed for sediment cadmium (Cd) concentrations, showing a positive relationship with annual discharge, reaching values of environmental concern (above ecotoxicological benchmarks). A different pattern was observed for Cu, Zn, and As increasing with flow in some sites and decreasing in others. While Cd seems to proceed from diffuse sources being washed by surface runoff, Zn, Pb, and As may proceed from either diffuse or point-sources in the different river sites investigated. The relevance of diffuse metal pollution in the area of study indicates that polluted landfills runoff might be an important source of metals causing repetitive pulses of high metal concentration in the receiving water courses. The experimental results presented demonstrate that metal effects in fluvial biofilms may be accumulative, increasing the toxicity after repetitive pulse exposures. Since draughts and extreme rain events are expected to increase at higher latitudes due to global change, the sources of metal pollution, its final concentration and potential effects on the fluvial ecosystem may also change following the patterns expected for human-impacted Mediterranean rivers.