Special Issue "The Interrelationship between Agricultural Activities, Water Quality and Human Health"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Contamination".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2023) | Viewed by 13640

Special Issue Editors

Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan
Interests: river pollution control and water quality management; assessment of carrying capacity of water bodies; strategy for TMDL (total maximum daily load) implementation; watershed management; environmental chemistry; water and wastewater treatment; advanced oxidation processes; impact of macromolecule on AOP treatment efficiency; photo-catalytic oxidation of disinfection by-products in drinking water; transport and fate of environmental contaminants; quality assurance and conservation of agro-environment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, Tamkang University, New Taipei City 25137, Taiwan
Interests: groundwater resource management; geochemical modeling; water chemistry; groundwater contamination transformation simulation; soil and groundwater contamination remediation; mobilization and bioaccumulation of heavy metals in the agro-environment; hydrogeological investigation; geostatistical analysis; multivariate statistical analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agricultural activity is important for human survival.  In general agriculture practices, water is introduced into farmland for irrigation with possible pesticide and fertilizer applications. Water is also used for livestock breeding and aquaculture development. Agricultural practices may adversely impact water quality. Improper agricultural activities increase the concentrations of nutrients, fecal coliforms, and sediment loads in water.

The increase in crop production was achieved mainly through the massive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. With the improvement in agriculture productivity, excess chemical use transfers agricultural pollution to receiving water bodies. The livestock sector is growing in almost all countries due to the increasing demand for food supply. Increased organic loading from animal waste causes the eutrophication of water bodies and the deterioration of aquatic ecosystems. All the associated waste and pollutants, including manure, have serious implications for water quality. In the practice of aquaculture, fish excreta and uneaten feed from fed aquaculture impair water quality. Increased production has also been achieved with the greater use of antibiotics, fungicides, and anti-fouling agents, which contribute to the contamination of downstream ecosystems.

Water pollution from agriculture has direct negative impacts on human health. To mitigate such a significant impact on the environment, efforts regarding investigations into (1) smart agriculture practices for environmental sustainability, (2) nutrient cycles of agro-ecosystems, (3) pollution control for agriculture, (4) assessment and strategies for assuring agro-ecosystem sustainability, and (5) other related investigations that enhance the resource consumption efficiency and sustainable agriculture are welcome in this Special Issue. Hopefully, these studies will be able to build a linkage between agriculture practices and sustainable agro-ecosystems to achieve the ultimate goal of environmental sustainability.

Prof. Dr. Chihhao Fan
Dr. Sheng-Wei Wang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • agriculture
  • pesticides
  • fertilizer
  • animal husandry
  • irrigation
  • water quality
  • non-point source pollution
  • water polution control
  • public health
  • food safety

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Challenges of Water Quality Management for Agricultural Development
Water 2023, 15(10), 1816; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15101816 - 10 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 701
Abstract
Agriculture, including crop growing, livestock breeding, and fish farming, is essential for human survival [...] Full article

Research

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Article
Identifying Key Influences on Surface Water Quality in Freshwater Areas of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta from 2018 to 2020
Water 2023, 15(7), 1295; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15071295 - 25 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1080
Abstract
Urbanization, industrialization, and the loss of freshwater resources are leading to an increased awareness of the importance of surface water quality worldwide. Limited ground water resources, prolonged drouths, and flooding are creating pressure on the availability of freshwater sources in the Vietnamese Mekong [...] Read more.
Urbanization, industrialization, and the loss of freshwater resources are leading to an increased awareness of the importance of surface water quality worldwide. Limited ground water resources, prolonged drouths, and flooding are creating pressure on the availability of freshwater sources in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. However, the surface water quality in this region is measured mainly at the provincial level, without reference to the water quality of adjacent regions. In order to identify and understand the key factors that contribute significantly to the quality of surface water, it is necessary to consider the delta region as a holistic system and to systematically investigate the influence of different land uses on water quality. In this study, surface water quality was evaluated during the dry season, when flow is low and water exchange is limited. For this purpose, the temporal variation in the surface water quality of 12 water quality parameters at 132 monitoring stations was analyzed according to their surrounding type of land use. To further investigate the impact on low-hierarchy canals, a correlation analysis between the river and canal class hierarchy and all investigated water quality parameters was performed. The results show that surface water quality suffers particularly in the case of a low dissolved oxygen (DO) content, with a measured minimum of 0.48 mg/L, and in cases of organic pollution in the form of total suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand, and chemical oxygen demand, with values up to 146 mg/L, 75.0 mg/L, and 41.0 mg/L, respectively. As the main factors influencing surface water pollution, freshwater aquaculture and industrial activities were identified. This could have a relevant impact on future sustainable land use planning. Full article
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Article
Interactions between Aquatic Plants and Cyanobacterial Blooms in Freshwater Reservoir Ecosystems
Water 2023, 15(4), 672; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15040672 - 08 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1595
Abstract
Climate change and nutrient pollution are echoed by worldwide increasing trends in the frequency, duration, and toxicity of cyanobacterial (blue-green algal) blooms. Therefore, searching for the best options to mitigate blooms is relevant and timely. Aquatic vascular plants offer a promising solution through [...] Read more.
Climate change and nutrient pollution are echoed by worldwide increasing trends in the frequency, duration, and toxicity of cyanobacterial (blue-green algal) blooms. Therefore, searching for the best options to mitigate blooms is relevant and timely. Aquatic vascular plants offer a promising solution through biological control. In this study, we use reservoirs regularly affected by intensive blooms (the Kyiv and Kaniv Reservoirs of the Dnipro River, Ukraine) to investigate whether macrophytes may inhibit or reduce the massive development of cyanobacteria. Special attention was paid to plants with floating leaves and free-floating plants since data on their effects on cyanobacteria are controversial. On the basis of field and satellite observations, the spatial distribution of cyanobacterial blooms and aquatic macrophyte patches was assessed. Multispectral images captured by satellites Sentinel-2a (S2A) and Sentinel-2b (S2B) were used. In addition, based on data from field observations, a comparative analysis of phytoplankton and physical and chemical parameters between areas of the reservoirs overgrown and not overgrown by macrophytes was carried out. The obtained results indicate that in macrophyte patches phytoplankton structure differed from that observed in open waters. However, in areas of reservoirs dominated by floating-leaf plants or free-floating plants, a significant decrease in phytoplanktic or cyanobacterial biomass was not observed. This is most likely due to the fact that these macrophytes did not reduce the concentration of biogenic substances to a level that would limit cyanobacterial growth. On the contrary, intensive overgrowth of floating-leaf plants (in particular, Trapa natans) along the river sections of the reservoirs, as well as other factors, contributed to nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment. Therefore, in the face of relevant nutrient supply, these ecological groups of macrophytes (floating-leaf plants and free-floating plants) have not shown statistically significant effectiveness in controlling the process of cyanobacterial blooms in reservoir ecosystems. Full article
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Article
Geochemistry of Groundwater in the Semi-Arid Crystalline Terrain of Sri Lanka and Its Health Implications among Agricultural Communities
Water 2022, 14(20), 3241; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14203241 - 14 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1337
Abstract
Chronic kidney disease with uncertain etiology (CKDu) is an emerging health problem in Sri Lanka, particularly among the dry-zone farming communities that use groundwater for drinking. We investigated the quality of groundwater in an area where both high- and low-prevalence clusters of CKDu [...] Read more.
Chronic kidney disease with uncertain etiology (CKDu) is an emerging health problem in Sri Lanka, particularly among the dry-zone farming communities that use groundwater for drinking. We investigated the quality of groundwater in an area where both high- and low-prevalence clusters of CKDu have been recorded. Eighty-four groundwater and five surface water samples, covering the selected region, were collected and analyzed for both major anions and cations. The groundwater in the region is mainly of the Ca-Mg-HCO3 type, probably due to the long residence time in fractured hard rock aquifers in this region. Irrespective of the CKDu prevalence, over 50% of samples exceeded the recommended limits for EC/TDS, alkalinity, hardness, and Mg2+ content in groundwater. Water hardness in CKDu clusters was dominated by Mg2+. High fluoride content up to 4.0 mg/L was also found in most groundwater samples from the region. The water quality index (WQI) values indicated that 42% of the groundwater samples in regions with no or low CKDu prevalence and 49% of the samples in regions with high prevalence were poor in quality. The spatial distribution of WQI and fluoride concentration overlapped, indicating the direct influence of fluoride on the groundwater quality in the study region. In addition, regions with higher WQI values overlapped with the CKDu hotspots, indicating the direct impact of groundwater quality on the disease prevalence in the studied river basin. The WQI can be used to effectively demarcate areas with possible groundwater-related health effects in the dry-zone regions of Sri Lanka. Full article
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Article
Hydrogeochemistry of Shallow Groundwater and Suitability to Irrigation: The Case of the Karfiguéla Paddy Field in Burkina Faso
Water 2022, 14(16), 2574; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14162574 - 20 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1592
Abstract
Shallow groundwater is often exposed to multiple sources of pollution that can make it unsuitable for certain uses. Complete hydrogeochemical studies are necessary for the better management of these resources. Well water samples were collected on the extent of Karfiguéla paddy field for [...] Read more.
Shallow groundwater is often exposed to multiple sources of pollution that can make it unsuitable for certain uses. Complete hydrogeochemical studies are necessary for the better management of these resources. Well water samples were collected on the extent of Karfiguéla paddy field for physico-chemical parameters, such as pH, EC, TDS, Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, NH4+, NO3, NO2, SO42−, CO32−, Cl, and HCO3, and metallic trace elements analyses as a case study. Due to the alluvial nature of aquifer deposits and the short residence time of groundwater, physical parameters and ion concentrations are low and within the recommended guideline values for irrigation water of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. However, Cd presents concentrations above 10 µg/L, the limit recommended by the FAO, while NO3 presents a slight to moderate risk. Piper and Stiff diagrams showed two types of water, Ca·Mg·HCO3 and Ca·Mg·SO4·Cl. Saturation indices revealed the under mineralization of natural minerals. Gibbs and bivariate diagrams, correlations and factorial analyses indicated that groundwater mineralization is mainly controlled by anthropogenic agricultural activities (60.05%), calcite and magnesite alteration (15.01%) and CO2 dissolution process (9.05%). Irrigation water suitability parameters, such as sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), sodium percentage (%Na), potential salinity (PS), the Kelly ratio (KR), residual sodium carbonate (RSC) and irrigation coefficient (Ka), confirmed that the shallow groundwater is 100% good for irrigation, while NO3 and permeability index (PI) indicated that it is permissible. However, according to magnesium hazard (MH), the groundwater is 100% unsuitable for irrigation and could lead to soil alkalinity. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Ammonium–N and Nitrate–N Contamination of Shallow Groundwater in a Complex Agricultural Region, Central Western Taiwan
Water 2022, 14(13), 2130; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14132130 - 04 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1886
Abstract
The characteristics of nitrogen contamination of shallow groundwater were evaluated through current status analysis and trend detection of ammonium–N and nitrate–N concentrations under various cropping patterns to assess the effectiveness of rational fertilization in the Choushui River alluvial fan, central Western Taiwan. The [...] Read more.
The characteristics of nitrogen contamination of shallow groundwater were evaluated through current status analysis and trend detection of ammonium–N and nitrate–N concentrations under various cropping patterns to assess the effectiveness of rational fertilization in the Choushui River alluvial fan, central Western Taiwan. The influence of cropping patterns on both ammonium–N and nitrate–N contamination associated with redox conditions/dissolved oxygen (DO) in shallow groundwater was also discussed in this study. The analysis revealed that shallow groundwater beneath double rice cropping and rotational cropping regions is still characterized by high ammonium–N concentration despite rational fertilization promotion. However, very few monitoring wells showed an upward trend of ammonium–N/nitrate–N concentrations, indicating that shallow groundwater is not further deteriorated by nitrogen pollution in most parts of the study area. Therefore, the remediation of nitrogen contaminated groundwater will be a long-term process and more effort must be invested. Moreover, the strict redox conditions defined by a single DO threshold value may not account for groundwater nitrogen pollution in the study area. It is difficult to determine the redox conditions and predominant nitrogen pollution patterns of shallow groundwater purely from cropping patterns. Instead, contamination may have resulted from an integrated process governed by several other factors. Tracing the potential sources of nitrogen pollution and establishing a more integral monitoring network should be implemented to formulate a more comprehensive nitrogen pollution control strategy in this area. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of the Groundwater and Irrigation Quality in the Zhuoshui River Alluvial Fan between Wet and Dry Seasons
Water 2022, 14(9), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14091494 - 06 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1439
Abstract
The Zhuoshui River alluvial fan is one of the most important groundwater and agricultural areas in Taiwan. Abundant groundwater resources are the main source of domestic water supply and irrigation water. However, groundwater recharge and groundwater quality have been greatly affected under extreme [...] Read more.
The Zhuoshui River alluvial fan is one of the most important groundwater and agricultural areas in Taiwan. Abundant groundwater resources are the main source of domestic water supply and irrigation water. However, groundwater recharge and groundwater quality have been greatly affected under extreme climate and hydrological conditions. Hence, the quality of groundwater has been a topic of concern to the public. In this study, groundwater level and groundwater quality data of the Zhuoshui River alluvial fan from 2008 to 2020 were used to divide the wet and dry season groups according to the sampling dates. An independent samples t-test was used to evaluate the differences in the mean groundwater level and the mean concentration between the wet and dry seasons. The test results show that there was no statistically significant difference in the mean groundwater level between the wet and dry seasons. This may result from the time lag effects of groundwater recharge. Except for groundwater temperature, bicarbonate, and total organic carbon (TOC), there were no significant differences among the mean concentrations of other groundwater quality parameters in Aquifer 1 and Aquifer 2 between the wet and dry seasons. In terms of the alluvial fan location, although the soil texture, land utilization, cropping systems, and hydrogeology of the proximal, mid-, and distal fan may affect groundwater quality variations, it seems that only Aquifer 1 is affected by surface water infiltration, resulting in significant differences in mean groundwater temperature, mean concentrations of major ions, and nitrate between the wet and dry seasons, whereas Aquifer 2 is less affected. At the same time, owing to the geological conditions and intensive cultivation in the Zhuoshui River alluvial fan, nitrate and arsenic could represent a high risk to the public’s health if groundwater is used as a source for domestic water supply or irrigation water in the distal fan area, whether in the wet season or dry season. Meanwhile, due to global climate change and uneven droughts and floods, the hydrological conditions of the so-called “wet season” and “dry season” are obviously different from those in the past. Compared with precipitation, groundwater level may be a better indicator for understanding variations in groundwater quality. Full article
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Article
Hydrochemical Assessment of the Irrigation Water Quality of the El-Salam Canal, Egypt
Water 2021, 13(17), 2428; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172428 - 03 Sep 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2611
Abstract
The El-Salam canal in Egypt is considered an important stream of fresh water for the agricultural sector that extends from the Nile River to Sinai, while it is subjected to several anthropogenic stresses. In this study, five-georeferenced stations (named from S1 to S5) [...] Read more.
The El-Salam canal in Egypt is considered an important stream of fresh water for the agricultural sector that extends from the Nile River to Sinai, while it is subjected to several anthropogenic stresses. In this study, five-georeferenced stations (named from S1 to S5) were monitored along the El-Salam Canal before El-Sahara of the Suez Canal, via the estimation of the WQ index based on major cations and anions analysis including salinity hazard, permeability index, residual sodium carbonate, magnesium hazard, sodium percentage, sodium adsorption ratio, Kelley index, potential salinity, total hardness, and irrigation water quality index (IWQI). The sequence of average concentration of cations in water were Na+ > Ca2+ > Mg2+ > K+. The major cations constitute around 60% of the total dissolved salts. While the sequence of major anions in water were SO42− > HCO3 > Cl > CO32−. These cations and anions showed an increasing trend from S1 (intake of the canal) to S5 (before El-Sahara) of the El-Salam Canal. Moreover, the order of heavy metals was Zn < Cd < Cr < Ni < Fe < Mn < Co < Cu < Pb. According to the US EPA (1999) guidelines, the levels of Fe and Zn in the El-Salam Canal are within the permissible limits for drinking and irrigation purposes, while Mn, Pb, Cu, Co, Ni, Cr, and Cd were detected at higher concentrations than those recommended. The value of IWQI in water samples varied from 40.26 to 114.82. The samples of S1 showed good water, the samples of region S2 (after mixing with Faraskour drainage) showed poor water quality, samples of regions S3 (after mixing with the El-Serw drain waters) and S5 (before El-Sahara) fell under the very poor water category and samples of region S4 (after mixing with the Hadous drainage) showed unsuitable water. Croplands irrigated with such water will not be exposed to any alkaline risks but will be exposed to the risk of salinity, which is more severe after mixing at the S3 and S4 sites. It is recommended to treat the drainage water before mixing with the irrigation water of El-Salam Canal to raise the suitability of irrigation water for crops, particularly for the Hadous drain. Full article
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