Climate-water quality relationships in Texas reservoirs

Hydrological Processes
By: , and 



Water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and concentrations of salts in surface water bodies can be affected by the natural environment, local human activities such as surface and ground water withdrawals, land use, and energy extraction, and variability and long-term trends in atmospheric conditions including temperature and precipitation. Here, we quantify the relationship between 121 indicators of mean and extreme temperature and precipitation and 24 water quality parameters in 57 Texas reservoirs using observational data records covering the period 1960 to 2010. We find that water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductance, chloride, sulfate, and phosphorus all show consistent correlations with atmospheric predictors, including high and low temperature extremes, dry days, heavy precipitation events, and mean temperature and precipitation over time scales ranging from one week to two years. Based on this analysis and published future projections for this region, we expect climate change to increase water temperatures, decrease dissolved oxygen levels, decrease pH, increase specific conductance, and increase levels of sulfate, chloride in Texas reservoirs. Over decadal time scales, this may affect aquatic ecosystems in the reservoirs, including altering the risk of conditions conducive to algae occurrence, as well as affecting the quality of water available for human consumption and recreation.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Climate-water quality relationships in Texas reservoirs
Series title Hydrological Processes
DOI 10.1002/hyp.10545
Volume 30
Issue 1
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Publisher location Chichester, Sussex, England
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 18 p.
First page 12
Last page 29
Country United States
State Texas
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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