Strategies to optimize monitoring schemes of recreational waters from Salta, Argentina: a multivariate approach
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Several recreational surface waters in Salta, Argentina, were selected to assess their quality. Seventy percent of the measurements exceeded at least one of the limits established by international legislation becoming unsuitable for their use. To interpret results of complex data, multivariate techniques were applied. Arenales River, due to the variability observed in the data, was divided in two: upstream and downstream representing low and high pollution sites, respectively, and cluster analysis supported that differentiation. Arenales River downstream and Campo Alegre Reservoir were the most different environments, and Vaqueros and La Caldera rivers were the most similar. Canonical correlation analysis allowed exploration of correlations between physicochemical and microbiological variables except in both parts of Arenales River, and principal component analysis allowed finding relationships among the nine measured variables in all aquatic environments. Variable’s loadings showed that Arenales River downstream was impacted by industrial and domestic activities, Arenales River upstream was affected by agricultural activities, Campo Alegre Reservoir was disturbed by anthropogenic and ecological effects, and La Caldera and Vaqueros rivers were influenced by recreational activities. Discriminant analysis allowed identification of subgroup of variables responsible for seasonal and spatial variations. Enterococcus, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, E. coli, pH, and fecal coliforms are sufficient to spatially describe the quality of the aquatic environments. Regarding seasonal variations, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, fecal coliforms, and pH can be used to describe water quality during dry season, while dissolved oxygen, conductivity, total coliforms, E. coli, and Enterococcus during wet season. Thus, the use of multivariate techniques allowed optimizing monitoring tasks and minimizing costs involved.
KeywordsBacterial indicators Recreational uses Seasonal behavior Statistical analysis Surface water
This research was supported by NIH Grant # D43 TW005718 funded by the Fogarty International Center from the University of California at Davis and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Dolores Gutiérrez-Cacciabue, Ingrid Teich, Hugo Ramiro Poma, and Mercedes Cecilia Cruz are or were recipients of graduate fellowships from the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET). The authors would like to thank Dr. Jerold Last for his kind help with the English corrections and Neli Romano Armada for helping with graphic design.
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