Land use Impact on the Spatial and Seasonal Variation of Contaminant Loads to Abou Ali River and Its Coastal Zone in North Lebanon

M. A Massoud, M. El-Fadel, M. D Scrimshaw, J. N Lester


Assessment of contaminant loads to surface water bodies is important for the proper use and
management of these water resources. Many pollution assessment studies have focused on heavily
polluted rivers of industrialized countries as well as major rivers in other less developed countries.
Studies concerning relatively small rivers in developing countries are rather limited although water
quality in such rivers may be impacted by human activity and land use patterns resulting in
considerable ecological changes. This study assesses the land use impact on water quality in the
Abou Ali River Basin and its coastal zone in North Lebanon, based on multiple indicators,
primarily concentrations of nutrients, metals and pesticides. The assessment was conducted during
the dry season in 2002 and wet season in 2003. The water quality of the Abou Ali River is not
significantly degraded (as generally perceived) and exhibits slight seasonal differences in the
interaction between land use and water quality. The worst water quality is apparent in the Tripoli
area where the total pollution of the upstream flow accumulates exacerbated by local wastewater
discharge. The steep profile of the Abou Ali River flushes contaminants towards the estuary and
the sea. Future work requires the development of the approach that assists in evaluating current
and future environmental conditions at a river/estuary/sea interface within a rigorous framework.

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