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Extreme weather event may induce Microcystis blooms in the Qiantang River, Southeast China

Guo, Chaoxuan, Zhu, Guangwei, Paerl, Hans W., Zhu, Mengyuan, Yu, Li, Zhang, Yibo, Liu, Mingliang, Zhang, Yunlin, Qin, Boqiang
Environmental science and pollution research international 2018 v.25 no.22 pp. 22273-22284
Microcystis, drinking water, hydrology, rain, rivers, temperature, water supply, China
A severe cyanobacterial bloom in the mainstem of a large Chinese river was first reported from China. The Qiantang River is the longest river in the Zhejiang province, southeast China. It provides drinking water supply to ~ 16 million people, including Hangzhou city. Fifteen sites along the Qiantang River (including upper, middle (Fuchunjiang Reservoir), and lower reaches and tributaries) were sampled between August 13 and September 9, 2016 to conduct a preliminary examination of the outbreak of Microcystis blooms. Laboratory investigation revealed that Microcystis spp. are dominant in the Fuchunjiang Reservoir (an overflow reservoir on the mainstem of the Qiantang River) with an extremely high cell density of 2.3 × 10⁸ cells/L, leading to a severe bloom in the mainstem of the Qiantang River. Investigations of the meteorological, hydrological, and nutrient characteristics associated with the bloom indicated that extremely dry (6.8 mm rainfall from August 13 to September 9, 2016) and hot (32 consecutive days of temperatures > 30 °C from July 20 to August 31, 2016) weather might be the key factors triggering the bloom. Additionally, the extremely low flow of the tributary, Lanjiang River (142 ± 56 m³/s from August 13 to September 9), and its high nutrient background, favored the bloom. While nutrient reductions are important, the most immediate and effective management approach might be to implement appropriate minimal flow conditions to mitigate the blooms.