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IDENTIFYING DIFFUSE POLLUTION SOURCES USING MULTICRITERIA ANALYSIS

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

Citation:  Paper number  022210,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.9849) @2002
Authors:   W. L. Magette
Keywords:   environment, diffuse pollution, nonpoint pollution, phosphorus

Diffuse water pollution results from rainfall interacting with pollutants in the landscape and transporting them to a water resource. The process is a complex interaction of temporally and spatially varying factors that is best predicted by equally complex mathematical models. Unfortunately, data on which to base descriptive deterministic models is not always available. The objective of this research was to test a rational, non-modeling procedure for identifying catchment areas likely to lose and transport P to surface waters. The technique was developed to be a screening tool for application in those areas without detailed data typically required for deterministic modeling. Multicriteria analysis (MCA) was the basis for a simple system with which to rank catchment areas on the basis of factors known to facilitate the transport of P by surface overland flow. Ranks from the MCA system were compared to measured water quality and mass P export. The ranking system correctly segregated high risk from low risk catchments, based on measured P losses.

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