• dissolved matter sources;
  • groundwater;
  • inorganic components;
  • organic components;
  • surface water


It was shown that the balance between organic and inorganic compounds is mostly conditioned by watershed size and relief, rather than chemistry. The rise and fall of dissolved organic carbon concentration are irreversely proportional to those of acid neutralizing capacity and follow the changes in water flowpaths. This relationship was used to distinguish between dissolved matter sources, and to characterize quantitatively and qualitatively their contribution to surface water chemistry. The proposed approach has restricted applicability to the watersheds composed of sedimentary materials and to the watersheds with high percentage of wetlands. The applicability of the approach is also limited to a variety of environmental conditions. Big watersheds should be divided into lower order subcatchments to reduce uncertainty in interpretation of results. In small and medium watersheds, the proposed approach can be used for predicting water chemistry under different environmental conditions and for tracing contaminants.