Temporal and spatial variations in the quality of water in El Gergal Reservior, Seville, Spain

Cruz-Pizarro, Luis and Basanta-Alves, Ana and Escot, Carmelo and Moreno-Ostos, Enrique (2004) Temporal and spatial variations in the quality of water in El Gergal Reservior, Seville, Spain. Freshwater Forum, 23, pp. 62-77.

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It is often difficult to define ‘water quality’ with any degree of precision. One approach is that suggested by Battarbee (1997) and is based on the extent to which individual lakes have changed compared with their natural ‘baseline’ status. Defining the base-line status of artificial lakes and reservoirs however, is, very difficult. In ecological terms, the definition of quality must include some consideration of their functional characteristics and the extent to which these characteristics are self-sustaining. The challenge of managing lakes in a sustainable way is particularly acute in semi-arid, Mediterranean countries. Here the quality of the water is strongly influenced by the unpredictability of the rainfall as well as year-to-year variations in the seasonal averages. Wise management requires profound knowledge of how these systems function. Thus a holistic approach must be adopted and the factors influencing the seasonal dynamics of the lakes quantified over a range of spatial and temporal scales. In this article, the authors describe some of the ways in which both long-term and short-term changes in the weather have influenced the seasonal and spatial dynamics of phytoplankton in El Gergal, a water supply reservoir situated in the south of Spain. The quality of the water stored in this reservoir is typically very good but surface blooms of algae commonly appear during warm, calm periods when the water level is low. El Gergal reservoir is managed by the Empresa Municipal de Abastecimiento y Saneamiento (EMASESA) and supplies water for domestic, commercial and industrial use to an area which includes the city of Seville and twelve of its surrounding towns (ca. 1.3 million inhabitants). El Gergal is the last of two reservoirs in a chain of four situated in the Rivera de Huelva basin, a tributary of the Guadalquivir river. It was commissioned by EMASESA in 1979 and since then the company has monitored its main limnological parameters on, at least, a monthly basis and used this information to improve the management of the reservoir. As a consequence of these intensive studies the physical, chemical and biological information acquired during this period makes the El Gergal database one of the most complete in Spain. In this article the authors focus on three ‘weather-related’ effects that have had a significant impact on the composition and distribution of phytoplankton in El Gergal: (i) the changes associated with severe droughts; (ii) the spatial variations produced by short-term changes in the weather; (iii) the impact of water transfers on the seasonal dynamics of the dinoflagellate Ceratium.

Item Type: Article
Title: Temporal and spatial variations in the quality of water in El Gergal Reservior, Seville, Spain
Personal Creator/Author:
Cruz-Pizarro, Luis
Basanta-Alves, Ana
Escot, Carmelo
Moreno-Ostos, Enrique
Journal or Publication Title: Freshwater Forum
Volume: 23
Page Range: pp. 62-77
Date: 2004
ISSN: 0961-4664
Issuing Agency: Freshwater Biological Association
Uncontrolled Keywords: Water reservoirs; Water quality; Water management; Environmental monitoring; Phytoplankton; Spain; El Gergal Reservoir
Subjects: Ecology
Item ID: 4696
Depositing User: Hardy B Schwamm
Date Deposited: 27 Dec 2010 18:35
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 16:04
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/4696

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