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Identifying spatial and seasonal patterns of river water quality in a semiarid irrigated agricultural Mediterranean basin

AutorDarwiche-Criado, Nadia ; Jiménez, Juan J. ; Comín, Francisco A. ; Sorando, Ricardo ; Sánchez-Pérez, José Miguel
Palabras claveWater quality
Land use
Spatial analysis
Agricultural intensification
Partial triadic analysis
Fecha de publicación1-oct-2015
CitaciónEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research (on-line first): 1-11 (2015)
ResumenA detailed understanding of the study area is essential to achieve key information and optimize the monitoring, analysis, and evaluation of water quality of natural ecosystems that have been highly transformed into agricultural areas. Using classification techniques like the hierarchical cluster analysis (CA) and partial triadic analysis (PTA), we assessed the sources of water pollution and the seasonal influence of human activities in water composition in a river basin from northeastern Spain. The results suggested that a strong connection existed between water quality and the seasonality of the human activities. The CA showed the spatial relationship between water chemistry and the adjacent land uses. The PTA associated the analyzed variables to their pollutant source. Electrical conductivity (EC), Cl−, SO4 2−–S, Na+, and Mg2+ ions were related with agricultural sources, whereas NH4 +–N, PT, and PO4 3−–P were linked with urban polluted sites. Concentration of NO3ˉ–N was associated with urban land use. Differences in water composition according to the irrigation intensity were also found during the irrigation season. The statistical tools used in this work, especially the PTA, allowed us to jointly analyze the spatial and seasonal components of water pollutant trends. We obtained a more comprehensive knowledge of water quality patterns in the study area, which will be essential when taking measures to minimize the effects of water pollution.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-5484-5
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