Quality of surface water related to land use: a case study in a catchment with small farms and intensive vegetable crop production in southern Brazil

Qualidade da água superficial relacionada ao uso do solo: um estudo de caso em uma microbacia com pequenas propriedades e produção intensiva de vegetais no sul do Brasil

Water degradation is strongly related to agricultural activity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of land use and some environmental components on surface water quality in the Campestre catchment, located in Colombo, state of Parana, Brazil. Physical and chemical attributes were analyzed (total nitrogen, ammonium, nitrate, total phosphorus, electrical conductivity, pH, temperature, turbidity, total solids, biological oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand and dissolved oxygen). Monthly samples of the river water were taken over one year at eight monitoring sites, distributed over three sub-basins. Overall, water quality was worse in the sub-basin with a higher percentage of agriculture, and was also affected by a lower percentage of native forest and permanent preservation area, and a larger drainage area. Water quality was also negatively affected by the presence of agriculture in the riparian zone. In the summer season, probably due to higher rainfall and intensive soil use, a higher concentration of total nitrogen and particulate nitrogen was observed, as well as higher electrical conductivity, pH and turbidity. All attributes, except for total phosphorus, were in compliance with Brazilian Conama Resolution Nº 357/2005 for freshwater class 1. However, it should be noted that these results referred to the base flow and did not represent a discharge condition since most of the water samples were not collected at or near the rainfall event.

water pollution; agriculture; nutrients; micro watershed

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