Project Title

The Spatial Relationship between Water Quality and Roads/Traffic in Northern Georgia, USA

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Geography & Anthropology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Jun Tu

No human subjects were involved in this project.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Non-point urban runoff is the major cause of stream impairment in northern Georgia. Pollution from anthropogenic activities is expected to increase due to rapid population growth and urban sprawl in the area. However, the impact of roads and traffic on water quality has not received much attention from state and local watershed management plans and has not been studied well elsewhere either. A better understanding of the spatial relationship between water quality indicators and roads/traffic variables is necessary to make effective plans to control their impact. This study analyzed the spatial relationship between water quality and roads/traffic, as well as land use and population density, in 40 watersheds of northern Georgia using GIS and statistical analyses. GIS analyses were used to delineate watersheds for water quality sampling sites and to derive roads/traffic indicators such as Road Density and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). Statistical analyses were used to compare the relationships between Specific Conductance (SC, a water quality parameter) at sampling sites and the roads/traffic, land use, and population indicators of the watersheds. The results show that SC has a significant positive relationship with road density as well as percentage of urban land, while there exists a significant negative relationship with percentage of forested land. Road density is a point source of pollution closely linked to urban land use and has a similar impact on water quality. Thus, the contribution of urbanization and related activities to water pollution as they vary across space should be taken into consideration in state policies.

Project Type

Poster

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The Spatial Relationship between Water Quality and Roads/Traffic in Northern Georgia, USA

Non-point urban runoff is the major cause of stream impairment in northern Georgia. Pollution from anthropogenic activities is expected to increase due to rapid population growth and urban sprawl in the area. However, the impact of roads and traffic on water quality has not received much attention from state and local watershed management plans and has not been studied well elsewhere either. A better understanding of the spatial relationship between water quality indicators and roads/traffic variables is necessary to make effective plans to control their impact. This study analyzed the spatial relationship between water quality and roads/traffic, as well as land use and population density, in 40 watersheds of northern Georgia using GIS and statistical analyses. GIS analyses were used to delineate watersheds for water quality sampling sites and to derive roads/traffic indicators such as Road Density and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). Statistical analyses were used to compare the relationships between Specific Conductance (SC, a water quality parameter) at sampling sites and the roads/traffic, land use, and population indicators of the watersheds. The results show that SC has a significant positive relationship with road density as well as percentage of urban land, while there exists a significant negative relationship with percentage of forested land. Road density is a point source of pollution closely linked to urban land use and has a similar impact on water quality. Thus, the contribution of urbanization and related activities to water pollution as they vary across space should be taken into consideration in state policies.