Effects of Land Use Changes and Human Activities on the Temporal and Spatial Variations of Water Quality in the Aras Border River

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Watershed Management Sciences and Engineering, Faculty of Natural Resources and Earth Sciences, University of Kashan, Iran

2 Full professor, Department of Watershed Management Sciences and Engineering, Faculty of Natural Resources and Earth Sciences, University of Kashan, Iran



The increase in human population, expansion of residential areas, and change in land use are putting pressure on water resources. Human activities such as industrial and urban development, farming, combustion of fossil fuels, and alterations to stream-channels impact both quality and quantity of water. The main goal of this study was to examine the impact of land use changes on the temporal and spatial variation of water quality in the Aras River. To achieve this, changes in land use within the Aras River watershed were analyzed for the years 1995, 2001, 2010 and 2016, using MSS, ETM and OLI images of Landsat satellites. The non-parametric Mann-Kendall test was utilized to assess trend in changes over the study period. Results showed that, the amount of rangeland decreased by 15.21% from 1995 to 2016, while agricultural land and urban areas increased by 14.33% and 0.87% respectively. Various water quality parameters, such as BOD, TDS, EC, nitrate, phosphate and sulfate exhibited an increasing trend, with a more pronounced increase observed from 2010 to 2016. All qualitative parameters showed a positive upward trend. The changes in land use had significant impact on the quality of the Aras water. It is crucial to implement measures to prevent pollution of the Aras River in order to avoid future issues.


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