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The sources of phosphorus in the waters of Great Britain

White, P. J. and Hammond, J. P. (2009) The sources of phosphorus in the waters of Great Britain. Journal of Environmental Quality, 38 (1). pp. 13-26. ISSN 1537-2537

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To link to this item DOI: 10.2134/jeq2007.0658

Abstract/Summary

Total phosphorus (TP) and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) loads to watercourses of the River Basin Districts (RBDs) of Great Britain (GB) were estimated using inventories of industrial P loads and estimates of P loads from sewage treatment works and diffuse P loads calculated using region-specific export coefficients for particular land cover classes combined with census data for agricultural stocking densities and human populations. The TP load to GB waters was estimated to be 60 kt yr(-1), of which households contributed 73, agriculture contributed 20, industry contributed 3, and 4 came from background sources. The SRP load to GB waters was estimated to be 47 kt yr(-1), of which households contributed 78, agriculture contributed 13, industry contributed 4, and 6 came from background Sources. The 'average' area-normalized TP and SRP loads to GB waters approximated 2.4 kg ha(-1) yr(-1) and 1.8 kg ha(-1) yr(-1), respectively. A consideration of uncertainties in the data contributing to these estimates suggested that the TP load to GB waters might lie between 33 and 68 kt yr(-1), with agriculture contributing between 10 and 28 of the TP load. These estimates are consistent with recent appraisals of annual TP and SRP loads to GB coastal waters and area-normalized TP loads from their catchments. Estimates of the contributions of RBDs to these P loads were consistent with the geographical distribution of P concentrations in GB rivers and recent assessments of surface waters at risk from P Pollution.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Food Security
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Crops Research Group
ID Code:33883
Uncontrolled Keywords:phosphorus water point source diffuse pollution eutrophication sewage agriculture
Publisher:American Society of Agronomy; Crop Science Society of America; Soil Science Society of America

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