Towards a new drinking water resource classification approach at a river basin scale

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This study proposes a new approach for improving resource quality management, monitoring and treatment plant management, whatever the environmental and climatic stressors. First trend analysis of water quality at a river basin scale, based on historical water quality data and multivariate exploitation (principal component analysis, PCA), led to a classification of the monitoring stations with regard to the main pressures (land use, urbanization and hydroclimatic impacts). This method was applied to the Vilaine's watershed, the largest river basin in Brittany, western France, and one which is under agricultural and urban pressure. A complementary research using a UV index was proposed for the evaluation of spatial and temporal variations of water quality. This approach may be considered as a useful and relevant tool to quickly assess the variation of water quality and the main explanatory factors. It also points out monitoring stations under specific stressors considered as outliers regarding UV parameters. Finally, PCA and UV index give complementary results. PCA allows factors influencing drinking water resource to be highlighted and the UV index allows global water quality under specific times and impacts to be reflected.

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