Spatial-temporal analysis of the surface water quality of the Pará River Basin through statistical techniques

Abstract Water quality issues are a growing concern due to the the recent intensification of urbanization and industrialization. This paper evaluates and compares the surface water quality of the ten sub-basins of the Pará River, located in the São Francisco River Basin, Minas Gerais, and evaluates the impact of seasonality and the compliance with the current limits of state legislation. The surface water quality monitoring database of the Institute of Water Management of Minas Gerais (Igam) was used, and 18 parameters were analyzed from a historical series from 2008 to 2016, totaling 16,651 observations. First, the descriptive statistics of the parameters were calculated, considering each sub-basin separately. Then, for the temporal and spatial analysis, the Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric statistical tests were applied, followed by the multiple comparison test, with an alpha level of 5%, due to the asymmetric behavior of the data. Thus, it was possible to compare water quality of the sub-basins in rainy and dry seasons and to identify which parameters were responsible for the greater degradation. In the compliance analysis to the current limits of state legislation, it was identified that all of the sub-basins were out of the specified range for at least one of the evaluated parameters. Finally, the seasonality analysis exposed significant differences in the parameters of dissolved oxygen, turbidity, total suspended solids, total solids and water temperature, where it was shown that there was a worsening of water quality in the rainy season for most sub-basins.