Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (9): 1765-1777.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201809012

• Climate Change and Ecological Environment • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Identifying risk areas and risk paths of non-point source pollution in Wuhua River Basin

CHEN Yuchan1(),ZHANG Zhengdong1(),WAN Luwen2,ZHANG Jie1,YANG Chuanxun3,YE Chen1,LI Qingpu1   

  1. 1. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    2. Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA
    3. Guangzhou Institute of Geography,Guangzhou 510070,China
  • Received:2017-07-10 Online:2018-09-25 Published:2018-09-19
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41471147


Non-point source pollution is one of the most severe problems impacting water environments. Identifying potential risk areas and risk paths contributing to non-point source pollution is the soution to this problem. This study introduces the minimum cumulative resistance model of landscape ecology, which is based on land use and soil mapping at a scale of 1∶100000 and DEM data with a resolution of 30 m. The model takes high pollution-loaded cultivated land and construction land as the main sources and uses the Topographic Wetness Index and Runoff Curve Numbers, which can describe the underlying resistance surface runoff yield characteristics, to visually identify and analyze the risk areas and risk paths of the Wuhua River Basin. The results show that underlying surface runoff production results in low-yield flow areas that are mainly concentrated in the southwest of the basin, while high-yield flow areas herringbone throughout the study area. The minimum cumulative resistance model can effectively identify the risk areas and risk paths in this basin. The high-risk areas of non-point source pollution are mainly distributed in Jionglong, Tianxin, Longmu, Tiechang, Dengyun, Tongqu, Heshi, Zishi, Qiling, Huacheng, Zhuanshui, Tanxia and Shuizai, which are located along both sides of the river. The spatial distributions of the risk paths of cultivated land and construction land are significantly different. The effects of cultivated land on water quality of the river are greater than those of construction land on it, and the nutrients and sediments from cultivated land are more likely to run into the receiving water via surface runoff. Vegetation buffer zones should be set up on both sides of the river adjacent to cultivated land when we deal with non-point source pollution that originates from cultivated land, and the harnessment of non-point source pollution originating from construction land should be monitored around major source areas. This study provides a novel method for the identification of source areas and risk paths of non-point source pollution and a theoretical basis to formulate future management strategies.

Key words: non-point source pollution, risk areas identification, risk paths identification, minimum cumulative resistance model, Wuhua River Basin