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A multi-approach and multi-scale study on water quantity and quality changes in the Tapajós River basin, Amazon

Nobrega, R. L. B., Lamparter, G., Hughes, H., Guzha, A. C., Amorim, R. S. S. and Gerold, G. (2018) A multi-approach and multi-scale study on water quantity and quality changes in the Tapajós River basin, Amazon. Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, 377. pp. 3-7. ISSN 2199-8981

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5194/piahs-377-3-2018


We analyzed changes in water quantity and quality at different spatial scales within the Tapajós River basin (Amazon) based on experimental fieldwork, hydrological modelling, and statistical time-trend analysis. At a small scale, we compared the river discharge (Q) and suspended-sediment concentrations (SSC) of two adjacent micro-catchments ( < 1 km2) with similar characteristics but contrasting land uses (forest vs. pasture) using empirical data from field measurements. At an intermediary scale, we simulated the hydrological responses of a sub-basin of the Tapajós (Jamanxim River basin, 37 400 km2), using a hydrological model (SWAT) and land-use change scenario in order to quantify the changes in the water balance components due to deforestation. At the Tapajós’ River basin scale, we investigated trends in Q, sediments, hydrochemistry, and geochemistry in the river using available data from the HYBAM Observation Service. The results in the micro-catchments showed a higher runoff coefficient in the pasture (0.67) than in the forest catchment (0.28). At this scale, the SSC were also significantly greater during stormflows in the pasture than in the forest catchment. At the Jamanxim watershed scale, the hydrological modelling results showed a 2 % increase in Q and a 5 % reduction of baseflow contribution to total Q after a conversion of 22 % of forest to pasture. In the Tapajós River, however, trend analysis did not show any significant trend in discharge and sediment concentration. However, we found upward trends in dissolved organic carbon and NO− 3 over the last 20 years. Although the magnitude of anthropogenic impact has shown be scale-dependent, we were able to find changes in the Tapajós River basin in streamflow, sediment concentration, and water quality across all studied scales.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:76009
Publisher:Copernicus GmbH (Copernicus Publications)


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