Technical Note: Assessing a 24/7 solution for monitoring water quality loads in small river catchments

P. Jordan, Rachel Cassidy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Quantifying nutrient and sediment loads in catchments is dif?cult owing to diffuse controls related to storm hydrology. Coarse sampling and interpolation methods are prone to very high uncertainties due to under-representation of high discharge, short duration events. Additionally, important low-?ow processes such as diurnal signals linked to point source impacts are missed. Here we demonstrate a solution based on a time-integrated approach to sampling with a standard 24 bottle autosampler con?gured to take a sample every 7 h over a week according to a Plynlimon design. This is evaluated with a number of other sampling strategies using a two-year dataset of sub-hourly discharge and phosphorus concentration data. The 24/7 solution is shown to be among the least uncertain in estimating load (inter-quartile range: 96% to 110% of actual load in year 1 and 97% to 104% in year 2) due to the increased frequency raising the probability of sampling storm events and point source signals. The 24/7 solution would appear to be most parsimonious in terms of data coverage and certainty, process signal representation, potential laboratory commitment, technology requirements and the ability to be widely deployed in complex catchments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3093-3100
    Number of pages8
    JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Water Science and Technology

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