, Volume 48, Issue 10, pp 1154–1168 | Cite as

Development and application of GIS-based assessment of land-use impacts on water quality: A case study of the Kharaa River Basin

  • Gunsmaa BatbayarEmail author
  • Martin Pfeiffer
  • Martin Kappas
  • Daniel Karthe
Research Article


Effective analytical tools, such as geographical information systems (GIS) and multivariate analysis, help to deal with spatial data and complex interactions in watershed management. To investigate the impact of land-use on chemical water quality in the Mongolian Kharaa River Basin, the whole catchment and sub-catchments in relation to each sampling point were delineated. Chemical water quality over three seasons was assessed with GIS and RDA in a modeling approach with forward selection of variables and cluster analysis. The most powerful predictors of river water quality were altitude, settlements, forest, cropland, and distance to spring. In particular, this was true when instead of full sub-basins riparian buffer zones (max. 3 km) were considered. From a management perspective, this implies that the protection of riparian zones should be a priority in the Kharaa basin and similar river basins in Mongolia and Central Asia. Because of its positive effects on water quality, forest protection should be closely coupled with river basin management.


Basenet (Baikal-Selenga Network) Model selection Mongolia Pollution RDA Watershed management 



This research was financially supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF grant no. 033L003A) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) (Scholarship No. A/12/97034 for GB). We express special gratitude to staff members of the Department of the Aquatic Ecosystem Analysis and Management (UFZ) for all support during the study and to the water analysis and chemometrics team of the River Ecology Department, UFZ, for sample analysis and preparation, especially PD Dr. Wolf von Tümpling for advice and guidance. Special thanks for Prof. Dr. Galbadrakh R., Dr. Saulyegul A., Dr. Enkhdol T., Batchuluun Ts., Irmuunzaya Kh., Oyundelger Kh. and Bolortuya B. for their valuable help and support for the field work. We are grateful to UFZ science photographer André Künzelmann for provision of professional photos from our Mongolian study site.

Supplementary material

13280_2018_1123_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (652 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 652 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gunsmaa Batbayar
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
    Email author
  • Martin Pfeiffer
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Martin Kappas
    • 2
  • Daniel Karthe
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Department Aquatic Ecosystem Analysis and Management (ASAM)Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZMagdeburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Geography, Georg-August UniversityGöttingenGermany
  3. 3.School of Arts and SciencesNational University of MongoliaUlaanbaatarMongolia
  4. 4.Department of BiogeographyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  5. 5.Faculty of Mathematics, Computer and Natural SciencesGerman-Mongolian Institute of TechnologyNalaikhMongolia
  6. 6.Environmental Engineering SectionGerman-Mongolian Institute of TechnologyNalaikhMongolia

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