Effect of urbanization on surface water chemistry in south-central Texas Academic Article uri icon


  • The use of state factors can adequately describe the biogeochemistry and geochemistry of relatively undisturbed surface waters. Watersheds with increasing proportions of urban and suburban land use, particularly in sub-tropical, semi-arid and arid urban areas, that utilize irrigation for turfgrass and landscaping may have a low flow urban signature that relates to the source water used by municipal water suppliers. We examined thirteen watersheds; four with waste water treatment plants (24-67% urbanization), four rural (< 30% urbanization) and five urban (> 30% urbanization) in a humid sub-tropical oak savannah in south-central Texas. Three of our urban and one of our rural watersheds displayed the signature of municipal tap water. Three out of four watersheds with waste water treatment plants displayed the signature of treated sewage effluent. We suggest as a result of this study that the chemistry of municipal tap water particularly that with high sodium and bicarbonate, used in urban watersheds for irrigating turfgrass and landscapes may have detrimental effects on base flow stream water quality after it has interacted with watershed soils. 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Aitkenhead-Peterson, J. A., Nahar, N., Harclerode, C. L., & Stanley, N. C.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Aitkenhead-Peterson, Jacqueline A||Nahar, Nurun||Harclerode, Cara L||Stanley, Nina C

publication date

  • June 2011