Special Issue "Water Quality Assessments for Urban Water Environment"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Pankaj Kumar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies | IGES · Natural Resources and Ecosystem Services (NRE), Japan
Interests: hydrological modeling; urban water management; wastewater management; sustainable development goals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Worldwide demand for freshwater resources is continuously increasing to satisfy the need for increasing population and growing economies. Further, both biophysical and social patterns and processes are interacting in ways that increase pressure on water and lead to water scarcity. About one-third of the world’s river basins attend their maximum capacity for exploitation, and more than half of the world’s population is directly/indirectly affected by water scarcity. In addition, rapid urbanization in developing countries of Asia, Africa, and South America is one of the prime causes for water quality deterioration in urban waterbodies and, hence, increasing health risk for urban dwellers. One of the main causes for this water scarcity is direct discharge of approximately 85% of all wastewater into water bodies without being properly treated and nonstructured/weak governance policies. It is predicted that with continuous rapid economic growth and urbanization, more than 3.5 billion people will live in cities by the year 2050, which will lead to massive increase in the need for land, food, and water. However, existing sanitation systems and land use management frameworks are inadequate, meaning that without transformational changes, these cities will fall well short in meeting the growing demands for resources. In addition, global changes (urbanization and climate change) will further aggravate the challenges for different entities involved in water planning and management. There are big gaps on scientific studies which report the current status of water quality/quantity and predict its future status based on ‘what-if’ scenarios as well as their best-fitting management options. Delivery of sustainable water supply and sanitation services in growing towns and cities has become a serious issue. Therefore, there is an urgent need for holistic research work which integrates biophysical and social aspects, looking at environmental and human contexts to solve the complex issue of water scarcity/security. Outcomes of such research work in terms of strategies based on scientific evidence, to reduce urban water pollution through better wastewater and land use management practices, will have substantial environmental and economic co-benefits for communities. Finally, how they can contribute to national adaptation plans, which can briefly sketch the appropriate local actions for addressing local climate change impacts.

Based on the aforementioned background information, this Special Issue strives to highlight the gaps, opportunities, and challenges, lessons learned from past experiences for estimating current status and future predictions of water resources in the context of urban spaces/cities, as well as up to what extent scientific innovations have contributed significantly to resolve these issues, and, finally, what the way forward is for the better science-policy we need to create to achieve global goals, e.g., SDGs at local level in a timely manner.

Prof. Pankaj Kumar
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • urban water management
  • urban water quality
  • hydrological simulation
  • science–policy interface

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Artificial Intelligence Techniques for Groundwater Quality Assessment
Water 2021, 13(9), 1172; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091172 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 301
Abstract
Freshwater quality and quantity are some of the fundamental requirements for sustaining human life and civilization. The Water Quality Index is the most extensively used parameter for determining water quality worldwide. However, the traditional approach for the calculation of the WQI is often [...] Read more.
Freshwater quality and quantity are some of the fundamental requirements for sustaining human life and civilization. The Water Quality Index is the most extensively used parameter for determining water quality worldwide. However, the traditional approach for the calculation of the WQI is often complex and time consuming since it requires handling large data sets and involves the calculation of several subindices. We investigated the performance of artificial intelligence techniques, including particle swarm optimization (PSO), a naive Bayes classifier (NBC), and a support vector machine (SVM), for predicting the water quality index. We used an SVM and NBC for prediction, in conjunction with PSO for optimization. To validate the obtained results, groundwater water quality parameters and their corresponding water quality indices were found for water collected from the Pindrawan tank area in Chhattisgarh, India. Our results show that PSO–NBC provided a 92.8% prediction accuracy of the WQI indices, whereas the PSO–SVM accuracy was 77.60%. The study’s outcomes further suggest that ensemble machine learning (ML) algorithms can be used to estimate and predict the Water Quality Index with significant accuracy. Thus, the proposed framework can be directly used for the prediction of the WQI using the measured field parameters while saving significant time and effort. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Assessments for Urban Water Environment)
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Open AccessCommunication
Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in Aerosolized Wastewater: Toilet Flushing, Wastewater Treatment, and Sprinkler Irrigation
Water 2021, 13(4), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040436 - 08 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 789
Abstract
The existence of SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in wastewater raises the opportunity of tracking wastewater for epidemiological monitoring of this disease. However, the existence of this virus in wastewater has raised health concerns regarding the fecal–oral transmission of [...] Read more.
The existence of SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in wastewater raises the opportunity of tracking wastewater for epidemiological monitoring of this disease. However, the existence of this virus in wastewater has raised health concerns regarding the fecal–oral transmission of COVID-19. This short review is intended to highlight the potential implications of aerosolized wastewater in transmitting this virus. As aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 could offer a more direct respiratory pathway for human exposure, the transmission of this virus remains a significant possibility in the prominent wastewater-associated bioaerosols formed during toilet flushing, wastewater treatment, and sprinkler irrigation. Implementing wastewater disinfection, exercising precautions, and raising public awareness would be essential. Additional research is needed to evaluate the survival, fate, and dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and the environment and rapid characterization of aerosols and their risk assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Assessments for Urban Water Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Surface Water Quality in Mokopane Area, Limpopo, South Africa
Water 2021, 13(2), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020220 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 823
Abstract
Considering the well-documented impacts of land-use change on water resources and the rapid land-use conversions occurring throughout Africa, in this study, we conducted a spatiotemporal analysis of surface water quality and its relation with the land use and land cover (LULC) pattern in [...] Read more.
Considering the well-documented impacts of land-use change on water resources and the rapid land-use conversions occurring throughout Africa, in this study, we conducted a spatiotemporal analysis of surface water quality and its relation with the land use and land cover (LULC) pattern in Mokopane, Limpopo province of South Africa. Various physico-chemical parameters were analyzed for surface water samples collected from five sampling locations from 2016 to 2020. Time-series analysis of key surface water quality parameters was performed to identify the essential hydrological processes governing water quality. The analyzed water quality data were also used to calculate the heavy metal pollution index (HPI), heavy metal evaluation index (HEI) and weighted water quality index (WQI). Also, the spatial trend of water quality is compared with LULC changes from 2015 to 2020. Results revealed that the concentration of most of the physico-chemical parameters in the water samples was beyond the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted permissible limit, except for a few parameters in some locations. Based on the calculated values of HPI and HEI, water quality samples were categorized as low to moderately polluted water bodies, whereas all water samples fell under the poor category (>100) and beyond based on the calculated WQI. Looking precisely at the water quality’s temporal trend, it is found that most of the sampling shows a deteriorating trend from 2016 to 2019. However, the year 2020 shows a slightly improving trend on water quality, which can be justified by lowering human activities during the lockdown period imposed by COVID-19. Land use has a significant relationship with surface water quality, and it was evident that built-up land had a more significant negative impact on water quality than the other land use classes. Both natural processes (rock weathering) and anthropogenic activities (wastewater discharge, industrial activities etc.) were found to be playing a vital role in water quality evolution. This study suggests that continuous assessment and monitoring of the spatial and temporal variability of water quality in Limpopo is important to control pollution and health safety in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Assessments for Urban Water Environment)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Did the COVID-19 Lockdown-Induced Hydrological Residence Time Intensify the Primary Productivity in Lakes? Observational Results Based on Satellite Remote Sensing
Water 2020, 12(9), 2573; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092573 - 15 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1090
Abstract
The novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has brought countries around the world to a standstill in the early part of 2020. Several nations and territories around the world insisted their population stay indoors for practicing social distance in order to avoid infecting the disease. [...] Read more.
The novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has brought countries around the world to a standstill in the early part of 2020. Several nations and territories around the world insisted their population stay indoors for practicing social distance in order to avoid infecting the disease. Consequently, industrial activities, businesses, and all modes of traveling have halted. On the other hand, the pollution level decreased ‘temporarily’ in our living environment. As fewer pollutants are supplied in to the hydrosphere, and human recreational activities are stopped completely during the lockdown period, we hypothesize that the hydrological residence time (HRT) has increased in the semi-enclosed or closed lake bodies, which can in turn increase the primary productivity. To validate our hypothesis, and to understand the effect of lockdown on primary productivity in aquatic systems, we quantitatively estimated the chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentrations in different lake bodies using established Chl-a retrieval algorithm. The Chl-a monitored using Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 sensor in the lake bodies of Wuhan, China, showed an elevated concentration of Chl-a. In contrast, no significant changes in Chl-a are observed for Vembanad Lake in India. Further analysis of different geo-environments is necessary to validate the hypothesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Assessments for Urban Water Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Rice Intensification and Urbanization on Surface Water Quality in An Giang Using a Statistical Approach
Water 2020, 12(6), 1710; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061710 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 821
Abstract
A few studies have evaluated the impact of land use land cover (LULC) change on surface water quality in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD), one of the most productive agricultural deltas in the world. This study aims to evaluate water quality parameters inside [...] Read more.
A few studies have evaluated the impact of land use land cover (LULC) change on surface water quality in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD), one of the most productive agricultural deltas in the world. This study aims to evaluate water quality parameters inside full- and semi-dike systems and outside of the dike system during the wet and dry season in An Giang Province. Multivariable statistical analysis and weighted arithmetic water quality index (WAWQI) were used to analyze 40 water samples in each seasons. The results show that the mean concentrations of conductivity (EC), phosphate (PO43−), ammonium (NH4+), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and potassium (K+) failed to meet the World Health Organization (WHO) and Vietnamese standards for both seasons. The NO2 concentration inside triple and double rice cropping systems during the dry season exceeds the permissible limit of the Vietnamese standard. The high concentration of COD, NH4+ were found in the urban area and the main river (Bassac River). The WAWQI showed that 97.5 and 95.0% of water samples fall into the bad and unsuitable, respectively, for drinking categories. The main reason behind this is direct discharge of untreated wastewater from the rice intensification and urban sewerage lines. The finding of this study is critically important for decision-makers to design different mitigation or adaptation measures for water resource management in lieu of rapid global changes in a timely manner in An Giang and the VMD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Assessments for Urban Water Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Participatory Approach for More Robust Water Resource Management: Case Study of the Santa Rosa Sub-Watershed of the Philippines
Water 2020, 12(4), 1172; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041172 - 19 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1992
Abstract
Due to the cumulative effects of rapid urbanization, population growth and climate change, many inland and coastal water bodies around the world are experiencing severe water pollution. To help make land-use and climate change adaptation policies more effective at a local scale, this [...] Read more.
Due to the cumulative effects of rapid urbanization, population growth and climate change, many inland and coastal water bodies around the world are experiencing severe water pollution. To help make land-use and climate change adaptation policies more effective at a local scale, this study used a combination of participatory approaches and computer simulation modeling. This methodology (called the “Participatory Watershed Land-use Management” (PWLM) approach) consist of four major steps: (a) Scenario analysis, (b) impact assessment, (c) developing adaptation and mitigation measures and its integration in local government policies, and (d) improvement of land use plan. As a test case, we conducted PWLM in the Santa Rosa Sub-watershed of the Philippines, a rapidly urbanizing area outside Metro Manila. The scenario analysis step involved a participatory land-use mapping activity (to understand future likely land-use changes), as well as GCM precipitation and temperature data downscaling (to understand the local climate scenarios). For impact assessment, the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) tool was used to simulate future river water quality (BOD and E. coli) under a Business as Usual (BAU) scenario and several alternative future scenarios considering different drivers and pressures (to 2030). Water samples from the Santa Rosa River in 2015 showed that BOD values ranged from 13 to 52 mg/L; indicating that the river is already moderately to extremely polluted compared to desirable water quality (class B). In the future scenarios, we found that water quality will deteriorate further by 2030 under all scenarios. Population growth was found to have the highest impact on future water quality deterioration, while climate change had the lowest (although not negligible). After the impact assessment, different mitigation measures were suggested in a stakeholder consultation workshop, and of them (enhanced capacity of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), and increased sewerage connection rate) were adopted to generate a final scenario including countermeasures. The main benefit of the PWLM approach are its high level of stakeholder involvement (through co-generation of the research) and use of free (for developing countries) software and models, both of which contribute to an enhanced science-policy interface. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Assessments for Urban Water Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Distribution Characteristics and Spatial Differences of Phosphorus in the Main Stream of the Urban River Stretches of the Middle and Lower Reaches of the Yangtze River
Water 2020, 12(3), 910; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030910 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 909
Abstract
Excessive phosphorus is the main problem of water pollution in the main stream of the Yangtze River, while it is not clear about the distribution characteristics and spatial differences of phosphorus in the urban river stretches of the middle and lower reaches of [...] Read more.
Excessive phosphorus is the main problem of water pollution in the main stream of the Yangtze River, while it is not clear about the distribution characteristics and spatial differences of phosphorus in the urban river stretches of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. In this study, a field survey in June 2014 revealed that the average particulate phosphorus (PP) concentration ranged from 0.195 mg/L to 0.105 mg/L from Wuhan (WH) in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River to Shanghai (SH, 1081 km from WH) in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, and the average PP-to-the total phosphorus (TP) ratio decreased from 85.71% in WH to 45.65% in SH, while the average soluble reactive phosphate (SRP) concentration ranged from 0.033 to 0.125 mg/L, and the average SRP-to-total dissolved phosphorus (TDP) ratio increased from 60.73% in WH to 88.28% in SH. In general, PP was still an important form of TP in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The concentrations of PP and SRP at different sampling locations and water depths in the same monitoring section showed differences, which might be related to the transportation and sedimentation of suspended sediment (SS) and differences in the location of urban sewage outlets. Historical data showed that the concentration and particle size of the SS decreased over time, while the discharge of wastewater also increased over time in the Yangtze River Basin. The measured results showed that there was a significant positive correlation between SS and PP. As a result, the concentration of SRP might increase in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. If the SRP concentration is not properly controlled, the degree of eutrophication of water body could significantly increase in the Yangtze River estuary, the riparian zone of the urban river stretches, the tributary slow-flow section, and the corresponding lakes connected with the Yangtze River. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Assessments for Urban Water Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Hydrogeochemical Assessment of Groundwater Quality of Mokopane Area, Limpopo, South Africa Using Statistical Approach
Water 2019, 11(9), 1891; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091891 - 11 Sep 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2119
Abstract
Despite being a finite resource, both the quality and quantity of groundwater are under tremendous pressure due to rapid global changes, viz. population growth, land-use/land-cover changes (LULC), and climate change. The 6th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) aims to “Ensure availability and sustainable management [...] Read more.
Despite being a finite resource, both the quality and quantity of groundwater are under tremendous pressure due to rapid global changes, viz. population growth, land-use/land-cover changes (LULC), and climate change. The 6th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) aims to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. One of the most significant dimensions of the SDG agenda is the emphasis on data and governance. However, the lack of good governance coupled with good observed data cannot ensure the achievement of SDG6. Therefore, this study strives to evaluate water quality status and hydrochemical processes governing it in the data-scarce Mokopane area of South Africa. Groundwater is the main source of fresh water supply for domestic usage, intensive agriculture, and mining activities in Mokopane. In this study, hydrogeochemical analysis of groundwater samples was employed to calculate the water quality index (WQI) and evaluate factors governing water quality evolution in the study area. Statistical and spatial analysis techniques were carried out to divide sampling sites into clusters and delineate principal factors responsible for determining water quality of the sampled groundwater. Results suggest that most of the physico-chemical parameters are within permissible limits for drinking water set by the World Health Organization (WHO), except for high fluoride in some samples. Na-HCO3 is the most abundant water type followed by Mg-HCO3, which indicates dominance of Na+, Mg2+, and HCO3±. Rock-water interaction is the prime factor responsible for fluoride enrichment in water. The alkaline nature of groundwater favors the release of exchangeable F from minerals like muscovite. The WQI suggests that 80% of water samples fall into the good and excellent categories. Poor management of untreated domestic sewage and agricultural runoff is a main factor for the bad/very bad categories of water samples. As the area lacks any credible scientific/government work to report water quality and its management aspects, the findings of this study will definitely help both scientific communities and policy makers to do what is needed for sustainable water resource management in a timely manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Assessments for Urban Water Environment)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Nexus between Water Security Framework and Public Health: A Comprehensive Scientific Review
by , , , , , , and
Water 2021, 13(10), 1365; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101365 (registering DOI) - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 221
Abstract
Water scarcity, together with the projected impacts of water stress worldwide, has led to a rapid increase in research on measuring water security. However, water security has been conceptualized under different perspectives, including various aspects and dimensions. Since public health is also an [...] Read more.
Water scarcity, together with the projected impacts of water stress worldwide, has led to a rapid increase in research on measuring water security. However, water security has been conceptualized under different perspectives, including various aspects and dimensions. Since public health is also an integral part of water security, it is necessary to understand how health has been incorporated as a dimension in the existing water security frameworks. While supply–demand and governance narratives dominated several popular water security frameworks, studies that are specifically designed for public health purposes are generally lacking. This research aims to address this gap, firstly by assessing the multiple thematic dimensions of water security frameworks in scientific disclosure; and secondly by looking into the public health dimensions and evaluating their importance and integration in the existing water security frameworks. For this, a systematic review of the Scopus database was undertaken using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A detailed review analysis of 77 relevant papers was performed. The result shows that 11 distinct dimensions have been used to design the existing water security framework. Although public health aspects were mentioned in 51% of the papers, direct health impacts were considered only by 18%, and indirect health impacts or mediators were considered by 33% of the papers. Among direct health impacts, diarrhea is the most prevalent one considered for developing a water security framework. Among different indirect or mediating factors, poor accessibility and availability of water resources in terms of time and distance is a big determinant for causing mental illnesses, such as stress or anxiety, which are being considered when framing water security framework, particularly in developing nations. Water quantity is more of a common issue for both developed and developing countries, water quality and mismanagement of water supply-related infrastructure is the main concern for developing nations, which proved to be the biggest hurdle for achieving water security. It is also necessary to consider how people treat and consume the water available to them. The result of this study sheds light on existing gaps for different water security frameworks and provides policy-relevant guidelines for its betterment. Also, it stressed that a more wide and holistic approach must be considered when framing a water security framework to result in sustainable water management and human well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Assessments for Urban Water Environment)
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Open AccessReview
Water Security in a Changing Environment: Concept, Challenges and Solutions
Water 2021, 13(4), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040490 - 14 Feb 2021
Viewed by 894
Abstract
Water is of vital and critical importance to ecosystems and human societies. The effects of human activities on land and water are now large and extensive. These reflect physical changes to the environment. Global change such as urbanization, population growth, socioeconomic change, evolving [...] Read more.
Water is of vital and critical importance to ecosystems and human societies. The effects of human activities on land and water are now large and extensive. These reflect physical changes to the environment. Global change such as urbanization, population growth, socioeconomic change, evolving energy needs, and climate change have put unprecedented pressure on water resources systems. It is argued that achieving water security throughout the world is the key to sustainable development. Studies on holistic view with persistently changing dimensions is in its infancy. This study focuses on narrative review work for giving a comprehensive insight on the concept of water security, its evolution with recent environmental changes (e.g., urbanization, socioeconomic, etc.) and various implications. Finally, it presents different sustainable solutions to achieve water security. Broadly, water security evolves from ensuring reliable access of enough safe water for every person (at an affordable price where market mechanisms are involved) to lead a healthy and productive life, including that of future generations. The constraints on water availability and water quality threaten secured access to water resources for different uses. Despite recent progress in developing new strategies, practices and technologies for water resource management, their dissemination and implementation has been limited. A comprehensive sustainable approach to address water security challenges requires connecting social, economic, and environmental systems at multiple scales. This paper captures the persistently changing dimensions and new paradigms of water security providing a holistic view including a wide range of sustainable solutions to address the water challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality Assessments for Urban Water Environment)
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