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188 Land Use and Water Quality

Part 16. Land Use and Water Management

  1. Andy Baker

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa195

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Baker, A. 2006. Land Use and Water Quality. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 16:188.

Author Information

  1. The University of Birmingham, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Birmingham, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


The literature investigating the relationship between land use and water quality is synthesized. It is demonstrated that although some general correlations between land use and water quality can be observed, in general the relationship is complex with correlations in individual watersheds likely to be site or regionally specific. Land cover measurements discussed include land use, land cover, ecotone, buffer strip, and indices of landscape metrics, whereas water quality issues include spatial and temporal sampling strategies and the use of nonconservative tracers. Examples of land use–water quality relationships are given for both the impacts of urbanization and the intensification of agriculture. A paucity of studies in developing countries and the need to advance models of land use–water quality relationships are highlighted.


  • land use;
  • water quality;
  • land cover;
  • buffer zones;
  • landscape pattern metrics