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Gleaning Information from Multiple Data Sources to Determine Watershed Water Quality Conditions

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  21st Century Watershed Technology: Improving Water Quality and Environment Conference Proceedings, 21-24 February 2010, Universidad EARTH, Costa Rica  701P0210cd.(doi:10.13031/2013.29446)
Authors:   Donald D Snethen, Tom Stiles, Daniel L Devlin, William L Hargrove
Keywords:   Watershed Management, Water Quality, Data Mining, Kansas

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is the principal environmental agency for the State of Kansas. KDHE is responsible for administering safe drinking water and water pollution control rules and regulations and assuring that Kansas water resources meet water quality standards. Since the early 70s Kansas has collected water samples from lakes, rivers and streams. Samples are collected at fixed locations, at fixed frequencies and analyzed for a variety of bacteriological, chemical and physical properties. Program administrators selected sample collection sites that were important in determining the effectiveness of water pollution control programs. Initially about 100 water sample collection sites were located where important rivers entered and exited the state and below large waste water discharges. Since inception of the network, additional sampling sites have been added to address special needs. Typically, these special need sites remained in the network. At the present time, the total number of sample collection sites exceeds 300. Other organizations such as United States Geological Survey, Kansas Biological Survey, and Kansas State University conduct studies of a few years in duration. These studies typically focus on smaller watersheds, with more frequent base flow and event sampling. This paper illustrates analytical procedures used in Kansas to glean information from datasets derived from different water quality sampling protocols and purposes to evaluate water quality conditions of river basins and watersheds. Simple techniques are applied to water quality datasets derived from various sources to determine total maximum daily loads and progress in abating pollutant loads; determine geographic, seasonal and longitudinal water quality characteristics to discern program outcomes and guide future program initiatives, and communicate with watershed stakeholders.

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