Natural and anthropogenic factors influence the entry of pollutants into surface waters and their accumulation in aquatic ecosystems. This study aimed to investigate precipitation and sediment concentration on the outflow of different forms of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) in three primary land-use types along the Pasikhan River, the biggest river entering the Anzali Wetland in the Southern Caspian sea. Water sampling was performed on a monthly basis during the time bracket of 2017–2018. Different forms of P including total, soluble, particulate, total reactive, and dissolved reactive, and total Kjeldahl N, soluble N, particulate N, and were determined in the water samples. Total phosphorus and total Kjeldahl nitrogen contents lay within the range of 2.2–4.7 and from 0.14 to 0.33 mg l−1, respectively, downstream of the river. The highest monthly outflow of P from the watershed at the Agriculture station was recorded in October. Substantial conformity was found between the monthly trends of and and the trend of precipitation. The results indicated that sediment load intensified after an increase in the rainfall rate, leading to elevated N and P concentrations in the river water, mainly as particulate phosphorus and soluble nitrogen. It can also be inferred from the result that the concentration of N and P is directly related to the sediment concentration increase due to the rainfall. Increasing levels of nutrients such as N and P in the Pasikhan River can cause eutrophication in the Anzali Wetland, which needs conservative measures for reducing these elements' dynamic in the watershed.

  • The nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in river water increase with precipitation.

  • The presence of agricultural lands is a detrimental key factor in contamination of Anzali Wetland.

  • The contamination of Anzali Wetland and river water is a time-dependent process, which reaches its highest level in the month of October.

  • Anzali Wetland is in an unfavorable condition.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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