Paddy and Water Environment

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 275-284

First online:

The effects of spatial variability of land use on stream water quality in a costal watershed

  • Kwang-Wook JungAffiliated withKorea Water Environment Institute
  • , Sang-Woo LeeAffiliated withEnvironmental Science Department, Konkuk University Email author 
  • , Ha-Sun HwangAffiliated withWater Pollution Cap System Division, National Institute of Environmental Research, Environmental Research Complex
  • , Jae-Ho JangAffiliated withGraduate Program, Konkuk University

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Researchers generally accept that land use types within a watershed closely relate with the water quality characteristics of streams. Despite numerous studies investigating the relationships between water quality and land use, there are increasing concerns about the geographical variation and lack of spatial integration in previous studies. We investigated the relationships between land use and water quality characteristics including biological oxygen demand (BOD5), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), and Escherichia coli in the Wha-Ong estuarine reservoir watershed in Korea, which has spatially integrated land uses. Residential and paddy areas appear to be positively and negatively correlated, respectively, with degraded water quality. The spatial variations of these relationships were also examined using zonal analysis. Some results contrasted with those of previous studies that were conducted mostly in developed Western countries and may reflect the different land use intensities and agricultural practices in Korea. Relationships across zones, distinguished by distances from streams, were inconsistent and erratic, suggesting that the relationships between remote land uses and water quality may be affected more significantly by sub-basin characteristics than by the land use itself. The geographical differences and spatial variations found in this study indicate that caution must be taken in generalizing the relationship between land use and water quality.


Land use Land use planning Pollutant loading Water quality Watershed management