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Temporal and spatial variations in carbon and nutrient loads, ion chemistry and trophic status of the Ganga River: a watershed-scale study

  • Ekabal Siddiqui
  • Jitendra PandeyEmail author
Research paper


Ganga, a river of global significance, is under increasing pressure from excessive release of carbon and nutrients. We conducted the first detailed watershed-scale study to assess water quality status and possible drivers in different segments of the Ganga River. For this, we analyzed 24 water quality variables from March 2016 to February 2018, at 7 study sites, along a 2320-km river stretch. The data revealed large spatiotemporal variations in total dissolved solids, major ions, nutrients, dissolved organic carbon, biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand, chlorophyll a biomass (Chl a) and gross primary productivity. Principal component analysis identified three major determinants (source input, stream flow, and tidal influence) explaining over 84% of the total variance. A high concentration of oxygen-demanding chemicals, especially in the middle segment, underscores the importance of restoration efforts that address BOD reduction alone. This work advances our understanding with respect to inter-segment variations and factors regulating Ganga River water quality and demonstrates the significance of watershed-scale studies for integrated river basin management.


Eutrophication Ganga River Indicator Integrated river basin management Pollution 



We thank the Coordinators, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany and DST-FIST, Banaras Hindu University for facilities, and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research [Grant no. 09/013(0611)/2015-EMR-I], New Delhi, for funding support as a fellowship to ES.

Supplementary material

10201_2019_575_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 21 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Limnology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ganga River Ecology Research Laboratory, Environmental Science Division, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Institute of ScienceBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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