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Water 2014, 6(1), 150-180; doi:10.3390/w6010150

The Water Quality of the River Enborne, UK: Observations from High-Frequency Monitoring in a Rural, Lowland River System

1
Department of Geography & Environmental Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6DW, UK
2
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford Oxon OX10 8BB, UK
3
Environment Agency, Fobney Mead, Reading RG2 0SF, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 November 2013 / Revised: 2 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2014 / Published: 17 January 2014
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Abstract

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: water chemistry; nitrogen; phosphorus; turbidity; conductivity; eutrophication; septic tanks; sewage treatment; high frequency; diurnal dynamics water chemistry; nitrogen; phosphorus; turbidity; conductivity; eutrophication; septic tanks; sewage treatment; high frequency; diurnal dynamics
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Halliday, S.J.; Skeffington, R.A.; Bowes, M.J.; Gozzard, E.; Newman, J.R.; Loewenthal, M.; Palmer-Felgate, E.J.; Jarvie, H.P.; Wade, A.J. The Water Quality of the River Enborne, UK: Observations from High-Frequency Monitoring in a Rural, Lowland River System. Water 2014, 6, 150-180.

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