Trend analysis of nutrient loadings in a large prairie catchment

Luis Alejandro Morales-Marín*, Kwok Pan CHUN, Howard Simon Wheater, Karl Erich Lindenschmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Nutrient loadings in many river catchments continue to increase due to rapid expansion of agriculture, urban and industrial development, and population growth. Nutrient enrichment of water bodies has intensified eutrophication which degrades water quality and ecosystem health. In this study, we carried out a trend analysis of total phosphorus and total nitrogen loads in the South Saskatchewan River (SSR) catchment using a novel approach to analyse nutrient time series. Seasonal analysis of trends at each of the water quality stations was performed to determine the relationships between annual flow regimes and nutrient loads in the catchment, in particular, the influence of the high spring runoff on nutrient export. Decadal analysis was also performed to determine the long-term relationships of nutrients with anthropogenic changes in the catchment. Although it was found that seasonal and historical variability of nutrient load trends is mainly determined by streamflow regime changes, there is evidence that increases in nitrogen concentration can also be attributed to anthropogenic changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-679
Number of pages23
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number4
Early online date6 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Water Science and Technology

User-Defined Keywords

  • nutrient load
  • prairie catchment
  • regression analysis
  • Trend analysis
  • water quality stations


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