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Drought impacts on water quality and potential implications for agricultural production in the Maipo River Basin, Central Chile

Año: 2020
Categoría: Agricultura, Cuenca del Maipo, Sequía

Autores: M.D. Peña-Guerrero, A. Nauditt, C. Muñoz-Robles, L. Ribbe, F. Meza

Revista: Hydrological Sciences Journal, DOI: 10.1080/02626667.2020.1711911

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Abstract

Droughts can have serious negative impacts on the water quality needed for irrigated agriculture. The Metropolitan region of Chile is a relevant producer of high-value crops and is prone to droughts. Standardized Drought Indices were used to characterize meteorological and hydrological droughts for the period from 1985 to 2015.

To understand the relationship between droughts and water quality, we evaluated the correlations between daily discharge and surface water quality observations. The threshold level method was used to compare physicochemical parameters during hydrological drought periods with the Chilean water quality thresholds for agricultural uses. A significant (p < 0.05) negative relationship between discharge and electrical conductivity and major ions was found in most of the basin. Hydrological stations located in irrigation districts exceeded the official thresholds for these parameters during hydrological drought periods seriously threatening irrigated agriculture of the region.

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