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Evaluation of the Impacts of Land Use in Water Quality and the Role of Nature-Based Solutions: A Citizen Science-Based Study

Author

Listed:
  • Julia Calderón Cendejas

    (Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible, Mexico City 01070, Mexico)

  • Lucía Madrid Ramírez

    (Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible, Mexico City 01070, Mexico)

  • Jorge Ramírez Zierold

    (Posgrado en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, UNAM, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City 04510, Mexico)

  • Julio Díaz Valenzuela

    (Posgrado en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, UNAM, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City 04510, Mexico)

  • Martín Merino Ibarra

    (Unidad Académica de Ecología y Biodiversidad Marina, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City 04510, Mexico)

  • Santiago Morató Sánchez de Tagle

    (Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible, Mexico City 01070, Mexico)

  • Alejandro Chino Téllez

    (Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible, Mexico City 01070, Mexico)

Abstract

The present study explores the impact of different land uses on water quality in a Mexican basin and addresses key mitigation measures, with key measurements made by citizen scientists. The Amanalco-Valle de Bravo Basin reservoir is the major freshwater supply for Mexico City. By measuring physical-chemical and bacteriological parameters in creeks over 21 months and correlating them to land use areas, it was possible to understand the impacts of different land uses (urban, forest, riparian forests, and different agricultural systems) in water quality. The results show that the concentration of E. coli , nitrates, nitrites, total phosphorus, total nitrogen, and total suspended solids were higher than the recommended reference levels, and that average oxygen saturation and alkalinity were lower than the recommended reference levels in most sites. The analysis of the Pearson correlation coefficient showed a strong relationship between water pollution and urban and agricultural land uses, specifically a higher impact of potato cultivation, due to its intensive use of agrochemicals and downhill tilling. There was a clear positive relationship between total forest area and riparian vegetation cover with improved water quality, validating their potential as nature-based solutions for the regulation of water quality. The results of the present study indicate the opportunities that better land management practices generate to ensure communities’ and water ecosystems’ health. This study also highlights the benefits of citizen science as a tool for raising awareness with regard to water quality and nature-based solutions, and as an appropriate tool for participative watershed management.

Suggested Citation

  • Julia Calderón Cendejas & Lucía Madrid Ramírez & Jorge Ramírez Zierold & Julio Díaz Valenzuela & Martín Merino Ibarra & Santiago Morató Sánchez de Tagle & Alejandro Chino Téllez, 2021. "Evaluation of the Impacts of Land Use in Water Quality and the Role of Nature-Based Solutions: A Citizen Science-Based Study," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(19), pages 1-17, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:13:y:2021:i:19:p:10519-:d:640719
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Angela Gorgoglione & Javier Gregorio & Agustín Ríos & Jimena Alonso & Christian Chreties & Mónica Fossati, 2020. "Influence of Land Use/Land Cover on Surface-Water Quality of Santa Lucía River, Uruguay," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(11), pages 1-19, June.
    2. Angela Gorgoglione & Andrea Gioia & Vito Iacobellis, 2019. "A Framework for Assessing Modeling Performance and Effects of Rainfall-Catchment-Drainage Characteristics on Nutrient Urban Runoff in Poorly Gauged Watersheds," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(18), pages 1-16, September.
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