Effect of watershed land use on water quality: a case study in Córrego da Olaria Basin, São Paulo State, Brazil

Abstract The water quality is related to the hydrologic and limnologic properties of ground and surface water, and significant efforts have been made to monitor water sources to understand the effects of land use changes in agricultural areas, with significant socioeconomic activities. The objective of this study was to evaluate the qualitative aspects of surface water in subbasins related to land use. Samples were analyzed in terms of physical and chemical parameters on monthly discrete water quality sampling in four representative sites at first order subbasin streams, located at the Polo Regional Centro Norte, Pindorama County, State of São Paulo, Brazil. The land use classification was made by visual detection technique in a multispectral satellite data obtained from LandSat8- spectral bands of the OLI sensor. The watershed was classified into major land cover/use classes and overlay maps generated in ArcGIS 10 indicated a significant shift from natural vegetation to agriculture activities. Water quality monitoring was according to the brazilian protocol and the results were submitted to analysis of variance (ANOVA). The values obtained differ significantly at each sampling point - subbasins, reflecting the effects of land use on water quality. Soil conservation management is important to optimize soil use in order to contribute to the control of water pollution and the formulation of a public policy is necessary for the conservation of water and soil resources.