Predicting the vulnerability of reservoirs to poor water quality and cyanobacterial blooms

Leigh, Catherine, Burford, Michele A., Roberts, David T. and Udy, James W. (2010) Predicting the vulnerability of reservoirs to poor water quality and cyanobacterial blooms. Water Research, 44 15: 4487-4496. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2010.06.016

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Author Leigh, Catherine
Burford, Michele A.
Roberts, David T.
Udy, James W.
Title Predicting the vulnerability of reservoirs to poor water quality and cyanobacterial blooms
Journal name Water Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0043-1354
Publication date 2010-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2010.06.016
Volume 44
Issue 15
Start page 4487
End page 4496
Total pages 10
Editor Mark van Loosdrecht
Place of publication Lisle, IL, U.S.A.
Publisher IWA Publishing
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Cyanobacterial blooms in drinking water reservoirs present a major ecosystem functioning and human health issue. The ability to predict reservoir vulnerability to these blooms would provide information critical for decision making, hazard prevention and management. We developed a new, comparative index of vulnerability based on simple measures of reservoir and catchment characteristics, rather than water quality data, which were instead used to test the index’s effectiveness. Testing was based on water quality data collected over a number of seasons and years from 15 drinking water reservoirs in subtropical, southeast Queensland. The index correlated significantly and strongly with algal cell densities, including potentially toxic cyanobacteria, as well as with the proportions of cyanobacteria in summer months. The index also performed better than each of the measures of reservoir and catchment characteristics alone, and as such, was able to encapsulate the physical characteristics of subtropical reservoirs, and their catchments, into an effective indicator of the vulnerability to summer blooms. This was further demonstrated by calculating the index for a new reservoir to be built within the study region. Under planned dimensions and land use, a comparatively high level of vulnerability was reached within a few years. However, the index score and the number of years taken to reach a similar level of vulnerability could be reduced simply by decreasing the percentage of grazing land cover via revegetation within the catchment. With climate change, continued river impoundment and the growing demand for potable water, our index has potential decision making benefits when planning future reservoirs to reduce their vulnerability to cyanobacterial blooms.
© 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keyword Agricultural land use
Climate change
Decision making
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Civil Engineering Publications
Official 2011 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 15 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 16 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 24 Mar 2011, 13:56:58 EST by Jeannette Watson on behalf of School of Civil Engineering