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Factores determinantes de la calidad del agua superficial en una cuenca mediterránea: el caso del Río Llobregat, NE de la Península Ibérica (España)

AuthorsGimeno, D.; Fernandez-Turiel, J. L. ; Valero, F.
Keywordstrace elements
water quality
Issue Date2006
PublisherDiputación de Badajoz
CitationMedio Ambiente en Iberoamérica. Visión desde la Física y la Química en los albores del Siglo XXI, t. 1: 327-334 (2006)
AbstractThe objective of this work is to study the factors that influence the surface water quality in a typical Mediterranean catchment: the Llobregat River in Northeast Spain. The Llobregat River, together with the Ter River, supplies water to more than 4.5 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. Spatial and temporal variations of more 50 water quality parameters were monitored in 10 sampling sites for a period that extended from July 1996 to December 2000. The temperature, pH and conductivity were measured at sites, whereas metals were analysed using ICP-OES and ICP-MS techniques. The head waters of the Llobregat River catchment flow through detrital Mesozoic - Cenozoic sedimentary rocks resulting in calcium bicarbonate-type water with low mineral content. The high water quality of the waterhead is deteriorated in the upper-middle part of the catchment due to the occurrence of evaporite-bearing geological formations, and the mining and industrial activities related to potash exploitation. As a result, an increase in Na, K, Mg, Cl-, Br, Rb, and Sr concentrations is reported leading to a sodium (potassium) chloride water type. This saline hydrochemical fingerprint persists downstream. This important feature renders the low water quality of the Llobregat River to be adequate for drinking supply purposes. In addition, the industrial and residential activities, especially at the lower part of the catchment, increases P, B, Mn, Fe, Pb, Al, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As and Sb water concentrations.
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