Environmental Geology

, Volume 58, Issue 5, pp 937–942 | Cite as

The influence of topography and land use on water quality of Xiangxi River in Three Gorges Reservoir region

  • Lin Ye
  • Qing-hua Cai
  • Rui-qiu Liu
  • Ming Cao
Original Article


A self-organizing map (SOM) was used to cluster the water quality data of Xiangxi River in the Three Gorges Reservoir region. The results showed that 81 sampling sites could be divided into several groups representing different land use types. The forest dominated region had low concentrations of most nutrient variables except COD, whereas the agricultural region had high concentrations of NO3N, TN, Alkalinity, and Hardness. The sites downstream of an urban area were high in NH3N, NO2N, PO4P and TP. Redundancy analysis was used to identify the individual effects of topography and land use on river water quality. The results revealed that the watershed factors accounted for 61.7% variations of water quality in the Xiangxi River. Specifically, topographical characteristics explained 26.0% variations of water quality, land use explained 10.2%, and topography and land use together explained 25.5%. More than 50% of the variation in most water quality variables was explained by watershed characteristics. However, water quality variables which are strongly influenced by urban and industrial point source pollution (NH3N, NO2N, PO4P and TP) were not as well correlated with watershed characteristics.


Land use Redundancy analysis (RDA) Self-organizing map (SOM) Topography Water quality 



This work was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30330140, 40671197), Key Project of Knowledge Innovation Program of CAS (No. KZCX2-YW-427), and “973” Programme (No. 2002CB412300). The authors would like to thank the members of system and watershed ecology group for their assistance in field sampling. We also thank anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments in improving this manuscript and Rebecca Hale for her help in improving English presentation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Aquatic Ecosystems of Chinese Ecosystem Research Network, State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and BiotechnologyInstitute of Hydrobiology, The Chinese Academy of SciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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