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Water 2014, 6(10), 2946-2968; doi:10.3390/w6102946

Quantifying and Predicting the Water Quality Associated with Land Cover Change: A Case Study of the Blesbok Spruit Catchment, South Africa

Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg, Kingsway Campus, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
Present Address: Department of Geography, University of South Africa, Florida Science Campus, Calabash Building, Office 042, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
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Received: 15 May 2014 / Revised: 14 August 2014 / Accepted: 29 August 2014 / Published: 30 September 2014
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Abstract

The integrity of the Blesbok Spruit catchment has been significantly compromised over the past decades, mainly due to the discharge of mining effluent and sewage. This research investigated the hydrological responses, in terms of water quality, in the event of land cover change within the catchment to make predictions on the future sustainability of the region’s water resources with the application of Partial Least Squares (PLS) regression analysis. The quantification of hydrological responses in terms of water quality towards land cover changes has not been completed by previous research studies within the catchment. This research established the catchment’s present state of water quality and formulated PLS model equations to enable the prediction of future concentrations of specific water quality parameters in association with future land cover change. A change in land cover was found to have various negative influences. The retransformation of land cover into natural areas is accompanied with unintended and undesirable effects due to the degradation of the catchment’s buffering capabilities and the absence of the enforcement of the decommissioning of mining operations. For the Blesbok Spruit catchment to avoid a future water predicament, systematic and interdisciplinary measures need to be implemented according to these and other related findings, to ensure the future sustainability of the catchment and the region as a whole. View Full-Text
Keywords: land cover change; hydrological response; water quality; Blesbok Spruit Catchment; predictions land cover change; hydrological response; water quality; Blesbok Spruit Catchment; predictions
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

du Plessis, A.; Harmse, T.; Ahmed, F. Quantifying and Predicting the Water Quality Associated with Land Cover Change: A Case Study of the Blesbok Spruit Catchment, South Africa. Water 2014, 6, 2946-2968.

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