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01.09.2014 | Original Article | Ausgabe 6/2014

Environmental Earth Sciences 6/2014

A combined statistical approach for evaluation of the effects of land use, agricultural and urban activities on stream water chemistry in small tile-drained catchments of south Bohemia, Czech Republic

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Ausgabe 6/2014
Autoren:
Petr Fučík, Pavel Novák, Daniel Žížala

Abstract

This work evaluates the changes of nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N), ammonium-nitrogen (NH4-N), total phosphorus (P) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentrations in stream waters as related to the land use/land cover (LULC) alterations within eight small (5–39 km2) tile-drained catchments in the southern part of The Czech Republic in the period 1993–2010, when massive grassing of arable land took place. The robust tools of seasonal Mann–Kendall trend test and LOcally WEighted Scatterplot Smoothing methods were employed to reveal trends of the monitored parameters with adjustment to hydrology. Using principal component analysis and multiple regressions, statistically significant factors with highest impacts on the assessed water quality parameters were identified. Besides indicators of LULC changes in the catchments and their various zones, information of built tile drainage systems were used along with factors reflecting point pollution sources such as the population number, sewerage type and proximity to a watercourse, effectiveness of wastewater treatment, and number of livestock units. The change in LULC was essential only for NO3-N concentrations, when grassing of arable land, presence of water ponds, areas of permanent cultures and also areas of drained land explained up to 90.6 % NO3-N variability and nitrate-nitrogen concentrations showed a significantly decreasing trend in all monitored catchments during the evaluated period. LULC changes within infiltration vulnerable zones were discovered as less important for the assessed water quality parameters compared to LULC changes in the whole catchment area. However, for NH4-N, P and COD, the results did not enable a definite quantification of the effects of LULC changes. The influence of non-point pollution sources on these parameters was revealed as uncertain and was heavily overshadowed by point sources, in particular by wastewater management, and livestock numbers, although the proportion of arable land in tile drainage subcatchments was discovered fundamental in case of the COD. The increasing numbers of livestock, population, and changes in sewage treatment led in some catchments to significant worsening of water quality. Achieved findings may be critical for supporting water quality policy and management decisions.

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