Skip to main content

page search

Library Water quality in rice-growing watersheds in a Mediterranean climate

Water quality in rice-growing watersheds in a Mediterranean climate

Water quality in rice-growing watersheds in a Mediterranean climate

Resource information

Date of publication
December 2011
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID

Rice (Oryza sativa L.) agriculture is estimated to cover 161millionha of land on Earth, with 10% grown in temperate regions. Currently there are strong concerns about surface water nutrient pollution, and the purpose of this study was to determine the impacts of temperate rice cultivation on nutrient dynamics at the small watershed scale. Over the course of the 2008 growing season (May through September), bi-weekly grab samples were collected from outlets of 11 agricultural subwatersheds in California. Samples were analyzed for NO₃-N, NH₄-N, PO₄-P, K, and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) concentrations, and the average values across all subwatersheds and sampling dates were 0.22, 0.031, 0.047, 1.36, and 0.32mgL⁻¹, respectively. Linear mixed effects analysis was used to evaluate the magnitude of relationships between nutrient concentration and flux and subwatershed characteristics (i.e. percent soil clay and organic matter, percent rice area, irrigation water reuse, subwatershed discharge, irrigated area, and time, measured as the day in the growing season). For all nutrients, flux decreased over time and increased with discharge. Concentrations of K and DON were highest at the start and end of the growing season. Concentrations of NH₄-N were near non-detect levels, with the exception of a peak in mid-July, which corresponds to when many growers top-dress rice fields with N fertilizer. Nitrate-N concentration and flux decreased with percent rice area, whereas PO₄-P concentrations increased with percent rice area, indicating that rice area should be considered in future watershed-scale studies of nutrient discharge. In all subwatersheds, the discharge loads of K were smaller than surface water input loads, while NO₃-N, NH₄-N, PO₄-P, and DON discharge loads exceeded input loads when total growing season discharge was greater than 3500–6600m³ha⁻¹. This implies that the management of subwatershed discharge can be used to control nutrient export from rice-growing areas.

Share on RLBI navigator

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s)

Krupa, Monika
Tate, Kenneth W.
van Kessel, Chris
Sarwar, Naeem
Linquist, Bruce A.

Data Provider