Assessment of Water Quality using Multivariate Statistical Techniques: A Case Study of the Nakdong River Basin, Korea

Park, Seongmook;Kazama, Futaba;Lee, Shunhwa

  • Received : 2014.01.27
  • Accepted : 2014.07.23
  • Published : 2014.09.30


This study estimated spatial and seasonal variation of water quality to understand characteristics of Nakdong river basin, Korea. All together 11 parameters (discharge, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, 5-day biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, pH, suspended solids, electrical conductivity, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and total organic carbon) at 22 different sites for the period of 2003-2011 were analyzed using multivariate statistical techniques (cluster analysis, principal component analysis and factor analysis). Hierarchical cluster analysis grouped whole river basin into three zones, i.e., relatively less polluted (LP), medium polluted (MP) and highly polluted (HP) based on similarity of water quality characteristics. The results of factor analysis/principal component analysis explained up to 83.0%, 81.7% and 82.7% of total variance in water quality data of LP, MP, and HP zones, respectively. The rotated components of PCA obtained from factor analysis indicate that the parameters responsible for water quality variations were mainly related to discharge and total pollution loads (non-point pollution source) in LP, MP and HP areas; organic and nutrient pollution in LP and HP zones; and temperature, DO and TN in LP zone. This study demonstrates the usefulness of multivariate statistical techniques for analysis and interpretation of multi-parameter, multi-location and multi-year data sets.


Cluster analysis;Nakdong river basin;Principal component analysis;Water quality


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