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The water quality of the River Enborne, UK: observations from high-frequency monitoring in a rural, lowland river system

Halliday, Sarah J.; Skeffington, Richard A.; Bowes, Michael J.; Gozzard, Emma; Newman, Jonathan R.; Loewenthal, Matthew; Palmer-Felgate, Elizabeth J.; Jarvie, Helen P.; Wade, Andrew J.. 2014 The water quality of the River Enborne, UK: observations from high-frequency monitoring in a rural, lowland river system. Water, 6 (1). 150-180. 10.3390/w6010150

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Abstract/Summary

This paper reports the results of a 2-year study of water quality in the River Enborne, a rural river in lowland England. Concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus species and other chemical determinands were monitored both at high-frequency (hourly), using automated in situ instrumentation, and by manual weekly sampling and laboratory analysis. The catchment land use is largely agricultural, with a population density of 123 persons km−2. The river water is largely derived from calcareous groundwater, and there are high nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations. Agricultural fertiliser is the dominant source of annual loads of both nitrogen and phosphorus. However, the data show that sewage effluent discharges have a disproportionate effect on the river nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics. At least 38% of the catchment population use septic tank systems, but the effects are hard to quantify as only 6% are officially registered, and the characteristics of the others are unknown. Only 4% of the phosphorus input and 9% of the nitrogen input is exported from the catchment by the river, highlighting the importance of catchment process understanding in predicting nutrient concentrations. High-frequency monitoring will be a key to developing this vital process understanding.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3390/w6010150
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 2 - Ecohydrological Processes > WA - 2.1 - Identify and quantify sources, fluxes and pathways of water, chemicals ...
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 2 - Ecohydrological Processes > WA - 2.3 - Assess the responses of river, lake and wetland ecosystems to ecohydrological drivers
CEH Sections: Boorman (to September 2014)
Acreman
ISSN: 2073-4441
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - Official URL provides full text
Additional Keywords: water chemistry, nitrogen, phosphorus, turbidity, conductivity, eutrophication, septic tanks, sewage treatment, high frequency, diurnal dynamics
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 10 Mar 2014 11:01 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/505196

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