Although Qionghai Lake is one of the 11 large and medium-sized lakes (lake area > 25 km2
) in the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau (YGP), there has been little research on its water quality, especially over the long term. Herein, meteorological, hydrologic, trophic, and biochemical indices were investigated over the 2011–2020 period to explore the spatiotemporal variations in water quality in Qionghai Lake. The results showed that the CCME-WQI
value for Qionghai Lake ranked between marginal and fair during 2011–2020, that the water quality of Qionghai Lake before 2017 was worse than after 2017, and that the water quality of the western part of Qionghai Lake was worse than that of the eastern part. Total nitrogen and total phosphorus were 0.39–0.51 and 0.019–0.027 mg/L during 2011–2020, respectively, and were the main pollution factors in Qionghai Lake. In addition, Qionghai Lake was at the mesotrophic level, but the chlorophyll and trophic state levels (TLI
) increased year by year, and the levels in the western area were higher than in the eastern area. Increased anthropogenic activities (industrialization, urbanization, agricultural intensification, etc.) were the main reasons for the poor water quality of Qionghai Lake before 2017, while, after 2017, effective government environmental restoration and management measures improved the water quality. Moreover, the difference in land-use types within the watershed was the main reason for the spatial heterogeneity of water quality in Qionghai Lake. Potassium permanganate index (CODMn
) and ammonia nitrogen content index (NH3
-N) were not very high, but both showed seasonal variations. Water transparency (SD) in Qionghai Lake was reduced by sediment input and increased algal biomass, while dissolved oxygen (DO) decreased due to thermal stratification. This study is expected to provide a theoretical reference for understanding changes in the water quality and water environmental protection of Qionghai Lake and the YGP.
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