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Meneses B.M.,General Directorate for Territorial Development | Meneses B.M.,University of Lisbon | Reis R.,General Directorate for Territorial Development | Vale M.J.,General Directorate for Territorial Development | Saraiva R.,General Directorate for Territorial Development
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015

To understand the relations between land use allocation and water quality preservation within a watershed is essential to assure sustainable development. The land use and land cover (LUC) within Zêzere River watershed registered relevant changes in the last decades. These land use and land cover changes (LUCCs) have impacts in water quality, mainly in surface water degradation caused by surface runoff from artificial and agricultural areas, forest fires and burnt areas, and caused by sewage discharges from agroindustry and urban sprawl. In this context, the impact of LUCCs in the quality of surface water of the Zêzere watershed is evaluated, considering the changes for different types of LUC and establishing their possible correlations to the most relevant water quality changes. The results indicate that the loss of coniferous forest and the increase of transitional woodland-shrub are related to increased water's pH; while the growth in artificial surfaces and pastures leads mainly to the increase of soluble salts and fecal coliform concentration. These particular findings within the Zêzere watershed, show the relevance of addressing water quality impact driven from land use and should therefore be taken into account within the planning process in order to prevent water stress, namely within watersheds integrating drinking water catchments. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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