Anthropogenic N inputs have become progressively more problematic and have profoundly affected the water quality in megacities throughout China. Thus, to design and implement appropriate megalopolis watershed management, it is important to understand the relationship between N inputs and exports and to identify the N pollution sources. To that end, in this work, the net anthropogenic N inputs (NANI) in Chengdu City were estimated based on statistical data collected between 1970 and 2019. N input fluxes and pollution sources were estimated through sample collection and field measurements that were performed between 2017 and 2019, while nitrate (
) was identified using stable isotope and Bayesian model (SIAR) analysis. The NANI was found to be affected primarily by livestock and poultry consumption of N rich feed. Moreover, the N export fluxes and runoff showed a high degree of correlation. Notably,
fluxes exhibited a significant increase over the course of the study period, such that, by 2019, the total N fluxes (18,883.85 N kg/
) exceeded the NANI (17,093.87 N kg/
). The results indicate that although livestock and poultry farming were the original primary sources of NANI, their contributions declined on an annual basis. Moreover, with the emphasis placed on point source management in Chengdu City, domestic sewage discharge has been significantly reduced. Therefore, N retention in groundwater is thought to be the factor driving the N flux increase. These findings are pivotal to solving the N pollution problem in megacities like Chengdu (China).
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