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Nutrient sources and loads in the River Derwent catchment, Tasmania


Proemse, BC and Koolhof, I and White, R and Barmuta, LA and Coughanowr, C, Nutrient sources and loads in the River Derwent catchment, Tasmania, Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 29, (2) pp. 159-176. ISSN 1448-6563 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2022 Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand Inc.

DOI: doi:10.1080/14486563.2022.2077847


The greater River Derwent catchment is one of the largest river basins in Tasmania, Australia, and is the main supply of drinking water to the stateís capital, Hobart. Recently, summer-time occurrence of blue-green and filamentous algal blooms, combined with taste and odour problems at the drinking water intake, have raised concerns regarding the riverís water quality. In order to develop nutrient management strategies, it is crucial to understand nutrient sources and loads. This article therefore determines nutrient production loads using point source effluent data combined with estimates for diffuse sources using land-use data. Overall, we found that aquaculture is the main point source of total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) compared to sewage treatment plants, while agriculture is the main diffuse source of TP and forestry the main diffuse source of TN in the catchment overall. These estimates are compared to river mass loads derived from a two-year monitoring program, revealing some discrepancies between estimated and measured loads for some of the sub-catchments. Our findings identify priority areas for improved nutrient management and highlight the need for more frequent and continuous water quality monitoring to help reduce uncertainties for estimating nutrient loads in the River Derwent catchment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:nitrogen, phosphorus, land use, sources, loads, nutrient loading, water quality
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Crop and pasture production
Research Field:Crop and pasture waste water use
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Fresh, ground and surface water biodiversity
UTAS Author:Proemse, BC (Dr Bernadette Proemse)
UTAS Author:Koolhof, I (Mr Iain Koolhof)
UTAS Author:White, R (Mr Richard White)
UTAS Author:Barmuta, LA (Associate Professor Leon Barmuta)
ID Code:150370
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Office of the School of Natural Sciences
Deposited On:2022-06-09
Last Modified:2022-09-08

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