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The impact of agricultural land uses on water and sediment quality in the Agassiz/Harrison Hot Springs watershed, B.C.. Addah, Jody

Abstract

Non-point source pollution is a significant threat to surface water quality, particularly from agricultural land uses. The Agassiz / Harrison Hot Springs watershed, which contains various pesticide and manure intensive land uses, was studied in order to determine correlations between land use types and water quality. The technique of correlating water quality with land uses has been well documented in the literature. With the development of computer software applications such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS), spatial analysis of land uses combined with the incorporation of water quality has become more practical. Two techniques were applied to determine the impact of agricultural land uses on water quality. The first, examined land uses within a 100 m buffer around major water courses. This method assumes that land uses adjacent to watercourses are the most relevant to water quality. The second technique divided land into contributing areas and assumes that all land uses within a sub-watershed, regardless of distance from the watercourse, impact water quality. Correlations at each sampling station were determined between various water quality parameters and the total area of different land uses upstream from the sampling point. A wide variety of water quality parameters were examined, including nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, orthophosphate, pH, specific conductivity, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll a concentrations. Sediment quality was also taken into consideration through the measurement of copper, lead, zinc, manganese, and iron in the

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