Water quality variation during a strong El Niño event in 2016: a case study in Kampar River, Malaysia
El Niño and Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a natural forcing that affects global climate patterns, thereon influencing freshwater quality and security. In the advent of a strong El Niño warming event in 2016 which induced an extreme dry weather in Malaysia, water quality variation was investigated in Kampar River which supplies potable water to a population of 92,850. Sampling points were stratified into four ecohydrological units and 144 water samples were examined from October 2015 to March 2017. The Malaysian Water Quality Index (WQI) and some supplementary parameters were analysed in the context of reduced precipitation. Data shows that prolonged dry weather, episodic and sporadic pollution incidents have caused some anomalies in dissolved oxygen (DO), total suspended solids (TSS), turbidity and ammoniacal nitrogen (AN) values recorded and the possible factors are discussed. The month of March and August 2016 recorded the lowest precipitation, but the overall resultant WQI remained acceptable. Since the occurrence of a strong El Niño event is infrequent and far between in decadal time scale, this paper gives some rare insights that may be central to monitoring and managing freshwater resource that has a crucial impact to the mass population in the region of Southeast Asia.
KeywordsDrought El Niño Pollution Water quality
We are grateful to Samberan bin Bah Pasu of Ulu Kampar village who assisted in the study. We are also thankful to anonymous reviewers who have provided valuable comments. This manuscript would not be possible without their contributions.
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