Water quality in freshwaters is declining worldwide due to increases in human populations, expansion of agricultural activities, and climate change. There are quite a number of regions of the world, Africa inclusive, that are understudied, and little to no baseline information exists related to water quality. This study was focused on the Bua River in Malawi, which supports sustenance fishing and basic needs for local communities. A portion of the river has elevated levels of protection because it is found within the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. The focus of this study was to understand the spatial-temporal variations of water quality at five sites in the Bua River from May 2018 to June 2020 capturing the three main seasons (warm wet, cool dry, and hot dry). Although other water quality parameters did not vary spatially. Spatially, the Bua River mouth registered the highest values of Soluble reactive phosphorus and the Bua River upstream had the lowest. However, there were greater temporal differences across seasons for water temperature, water pH, and chlorophyll a. For instance, chlorophyll-a was higher during the hot dry season (3.28 µgL-1) compared to the cool dry season (2.10 µgL-1) and warm wet season (1.91 µgL-1). Water transparency, as measured by secchi depth was lowest during the warm wet season, which coincides with higher concentrations in SRP. All measurements of salt content, Electrical Conductivity (EC), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), and salinity) were higher during the hot dry season and correlated negatively with SRP. Similarly, bicarbonate and alkalinity were also higher during the hot dry season. Principle Component Analysis indicated that the parameters responsible for variations of Bua River water quality are mainly related to soluble minerals, water temperature, and surface runoff associated with agricultural activities and domestic waste accounting for 78.49 % of the total variance in the data set.
African Parks and USDA Forest Service , Senga Bay Fisheries Research Centre
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|Journal Section||Research Article|
|Publication Date||December 30, 2022|
|Published in Issue||Year 2022Volume: 8 Issue: 3|