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Investigating the effects of point source and nonpoint source pollution on the water quality of the East River (Dongjiang) in South China

Ecological Indicators

By:
and
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2013.04.002

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Abstract

Understanding the physical processes of point source (PS) and nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is critical to evaluate river water quality and identify major pollutant sources in a watershed. In this study, we used the physically-based hydrological/water quality model, Soil and Water Assessment Tool, to investigate the influence of PS and NPS pollution on the water quality of the East River (Dongjiang in Chinese) in southern China. Our results indicate that NPS pollution was the dominant contribution (>94%) to nutrient loads except for mineral phosphorus (50%). A comprehensive Water Quality Index (WQI) computed using eight key water quality variables demonstrates that water quality is better upstream than downstream despite the higher level of ammonium nitrogen found in upstream waters. Also, the temporal (seasonal) and spatial distributions of nutrient loads clearly indicate the critical time period (from late dry season to early wet season) and pollution source areas within the basin (middle and downstream agricultural lands), which resource managers can use to accomplish substantial reduction of NPS pollutant loadings. Overall, this study helps our understanding of the relationship between human activities and pollutant loads and further contributes to decision support for local watershed managers to protect water quality in this region. In particular, the methods presented such as integrating WQI with watershed modeling and identifying the critical time period and pollutions source areas can be valuable for other researchers worldwide.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Investigating the effects of point source and nonpoint source pollution on the water quality of the East River (Dongjiang) in South China
Series title:
Ecological Indicators
DOI:
10.1016/j.ecolind.2013.04.002
Volume
32
Year Published:
2013
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Contributing office(s):
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description:
11 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Ecological Indicators
First page:
294
Last page:
304
Country:
China
Other Geospatial:
Dongjiang