The use of microbial source tracking to assess and predict water quality in river catchments.

  • D.E. Nnane

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Water is a basic human need (Millennium Development Goal-Target 10) and a central element in all civilisations, yet microbial contamination of surface waters used for drinking, contact recreation, and shellfishery provides an effective vehicle for the spread of microbial waterborne diseases and outbreaks that can cause illness or death in humans. Microbial pathogens remain the most direct, real and pervasive risk to human health, especially in Less Economically Developed Countries. However, water quality managers are restricted in providing effective monitoring and management designs and strategies by the inability to identify routinely the source of microbial contamination. Microbial water quality of many surface waters is likely to deteriorate further as a result of climate change. This research used the River Ouse catchment (SE England) as a test-bed to investigate the application of simple and low-cost monitoring and approaches that can be applied in other river catchments, to monitor and manage microbial water quality during various meteorological conditions and seasons. This novel approach is the first time such methods have been combined in order to study a river catchment. As such, it represents a significant advancement in our understanding of complex environmental processes and ability to manage and mitigate adverse environmental impacts.
Date of AwardJan 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton

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