Measurements of nutrient and suspended matter concentrations and loads entering and leaving the Castanhão reservoir during the rainy season were carried out to assess the influence of this large reservoir on land-sea fluvial transport in the ephemeral Jaguaribe river basin. Spatial variation indicated statistically significant attenuation of concentrations only for total phosphorous and suspended matter across the reservoir. Strong retention of nutrients and suspended matter loads by the reservoir was observed with average trapping efficiency of 89% for dissolved silicon, 98% of soluble reactive phosphorus, 71% for ammonium, 87% for total nitrogen, 98% for total phosphorus and 97% for suspended matter compared to the reservoir inflow. The dam operational procedure defined by the ephemeral conditions of the river reduced water releases compared to reservoir inflow and induced strong retention of nutrient and suspended matter loads within the reservoir when fluvial transfer occurs in this semiarid watershed.
dam; semi-arid; nutrient budget; sediment retention; impoundment