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Modeling nutrient sources, transport and management strategies in a coastal watershed, Southeast China

Zhou, Pei, Huang, Jinliang, Hong, Huasheng
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.610-611 pp. 1298-1309
fertilizer application, livestock breeding, models, nitrogen content, nutrient management, phosphorus, rivers, sewage, stream flow, water quality, watershed management, watersheds, China
Integrated watershed management requires an analytical model capable of revealing the full range of impacts that would be caused by the uses and developments in the watershed. The SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed Attributes (SPARROW) model was developed in this study to provide empirical estimates of the sources, transport of total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) and to develop nutrient management strategies in the Jiulong River Watershed, southeast China that has enormous influence on the region's ecological safety. We calibrated the model using data related to daily streamflow, monthly TN and TP concentrations in 2014 at 30 locations. The model produced R² values for TN with 0.95 and TP with 0.94. It was found that for the entire watershed, TN came from fertilizer application (43%), livestock breeding (39%) and sewage discharge (18%), while TP came from livestock breeding (46%), fertilizer application (46%), and industrial discharge (8%). Fifty-eight percent of the TN and 80% of the TP in upstream reaches are delivered to the outlets of North and West rivers. A scenario analysis with SPARROW was coupled to develop suitable management strategies. Results revealed that controlling nutrient sources was effective in improving water quality. Normally sharp reduction in nutrient sources is not operational feasible. Hence, it is recommended that preventing nutrient on land from entering into the river as a suitable strategy in watershed management.