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Temporal and spatial assessment of river surface water quality using multivariate statistical techniques: a study in Can Tho City, a Mekong Delta area, Vietnam


The present study is an evaluation of temporal/spatial variations of surface water quality using multivariate statistical techniques, comprising cluster analysis (CA), principal component analysis (PCA), factor analysis (FA) and discriminant analysis (DA). Eleven water quality parameters were monitored at 38 different sites in Can Tho City, a Mekong Delta area of Vietnam from 2008 to 2012. Hierarchical cluster analysis grouped the 38 sampling sites into three clusters, representing mixed urban-rural areas, agricultural areas and industrial zone. FA/PCA resulted in three latent factors for the entire research location, three for cluster 1, four for cluster 2, and four for cluster 3 explaining 60, 60.2, 80.9, and 70 % of the total variance in the respective water quality. The varifactors from FA indicated that the parameters responsible for water quality variations are related to erosion from disturbed land or inflow of effluent from sewage plants and industry, discharges from wastewater treatment plants and domestic wastewater, agricultural activities and industrial effluents, and contamination by sewage waste with faecal coliform bacteria through sewer and septic systems. Discriminant analysis (DA) revealed that nephelometric turbidity units (NTU), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and NH3 are the discriminating parameters in space, affording 67 % correct assignation in spatial analysis; pH and NO2 are the discriminating parameters according to season, assigning approximately 60 % of cases correctly. The findings suggest a possible revised sampling strategy that can reduce the number of sampling sites and the indicator parameters responsible for large variations in water quality. This study demonstrates the usefulness of multivariate statistical techniques for evaluation of temporal/spatial variations in water quality assessment and management.

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We offer sincere thanks to the staff of the Health Environment Management Agency(Ministry of Health), Can Tho Health Department, Can Tho Preventive Medicine Centre, and Can Tho University for providing kind support and assistance to our data collection.

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Phung, D., Huang, C., Rutherford, S. et al. Temporal and spatial assessment of river surface water quality using multivariate statistical techniques: a study in Can Tho City, a Mekong Delta area, Vietnam. Environ Monit Assess 187, 229 (2015).

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  • Water quality
  • Temporal assessment
  • Spatial assessment
  • Mekong Delta
  • Vietnam