Assessing land-cover effects on stream water quality in metropolitan areas using the water quality index

Taeho Kim, Youngwoo Kim, Jihoon Shin, Byeonggeon Go, Yoonkyung Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the influence of different land-cover types on the overall water quality of streams in urban areas. To ensure national applicability of the results, this study encompassed ten major metropolitan areas in South Korea. Using cluster analysis, watersheds were classified into three land-cover types: Urban-dominated (URB), agriculture-dominated (AGR), and forest-dominated (FOR). For each land-cover type, factor analysis (FA) was used to ensure simple and feasible parameter selection for developing the minimum water quality index (WQImin ). The chemical oxygen demand, fecal coliform (total coliform for FOR), and total nitrogen (nitrate-nitrogen for URB) were selected as key parameters for all land-cover types. Our results suggest that WQImin can minimize bias in water quality assessment by reducing redundancy among correlated parameters, resulting in better differentiation of pollution levels. Furthermore, the dominant land-cover type of watersheds, not only affects the level and causes of pollution, but also influences temporal patterns, including the long-term trends and seasonality, of stream water quality in urban areas in South Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3294
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Factor analysis
  • Land-cover type
  • Metropolitan area
  • Minimum water quality index
  • Pollution
  • Urban stream


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing land-cover effects on stream water quality in metropolitan areas using the water quality index'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this