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Open AccessArticle

Concentration–Discharge Relationships in Runoff Components during Rainfall Events at the Hydrohill Experimental Catchment in Chuzhou, China

1
College of Water Resource & Hydropower, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210029, China
3
Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(11), 3033; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113033
Received: 1 September 2020 / Revised: 22 October 2020 / Accepted: 26 October 2020 / Published: 29 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology and Hydrogeology)
Concentration–discharge (C-Q) relationships are a convenient and increasingly popular tool for interpreting the episodic hydrochemical response to the varying discharge in small basins, providing insights into solute transport and streamflow generation. While most studies are focused on total runoff, this study quantified C-Q relationships in four runoff components during precipitation events at the Hydrohill experimental catchment in Chuzhou, China. This unique artificial catchment is carefully engineered, allowing observations of the interacting runoff components that collectively determine total flow issuing from the catchment. The four runoff components, or flow paths, include surface runoff (SR), shallow interflow at 0–30 cm depth (SSR30), deeper interflow at 30–60 cm depth (SSR60), and groundwater flow at 60–100 cm depth (SSR100). Water samples were collected during three consecutive precipitation events to study how the concentrations of primary solutes vary with flow. Analysis of C-Q relationships reveals that concentrations of Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, SO42−, and HCO3 in the four runoff components had a negative relationship with discharge, while the concentration of K+ and Cl were negatively correlated with discharge in SR and SSR30 but positively correlated in SSR60 and SSR100. Further insights were gained from principal component analysis. Three eigenvectors explained 92% of the variability in hydrochemistry in surface runoff, while two eigenvectors explained most of the variability in the hydrochemistry of subsurface flows observed at various depths in the soil profile (73% for SSR30, 79% for SSR60, and 76% for SSR100). PC1 (the first Principal Component) can be interpreted as a salinity factor, deriving from carbonate minerals such as dolomites and limestone minerals. Results indicated that leaching and dilution processes, water–soil interaction, and macropore flows in soils are the primary factors controlling the C-Q relationships. Our work sheds light on the coupled processes and streamflow generation mechanisms that control water quality at the catchment scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrochemistry; flow paths; principal component analysis; Chuzhou Hydrohill catchment hydrochemistry; flow paths; principal component analysis; Chuzhou Hydrohill catchment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yang, N.; Zhang, J.; Liu, J.; Liu, G.; Boyer, E.W.; Guo, L.; Wang, G. Concentration–Discharge Relationships in Runoff Components during Rainfall Events at the Hydrohill Experimental Catchment in Chuzhou, China. Water 2020, 12, 3033. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113033

AMA Style

Yang N, Zhang J, Liu J, Liu G, Boyer EW, Guo L, Wang G. Concentration–Discharge Relationships in Runoff Components during Rainfall Events at the Hydrohill Experimental Catchment in Chuzhou, China. Water. 2020; 12(11):3033. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113033

Chicago/Turabian Style

Yang, Na; Zhang, Jianyun; Liu, Jiufu; Liu, Guodong; Boyer, Elizabeth W.; Guo, Li; Wang, Guoqing. 2020. "Concentration–Discharge Relationships in Runoff Components during Rainfall Events at the Hydrohill Experimental Catchment in Chuzhou, China" Water 12, no. 11: 3033. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113033

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