This research examines the quality of Mat River water to control and reduce the level of environmental pollution in accordance with national rules and regulations. The focus of this study was the assessment of river water quality by using bacteria and benthic macroinvertebrates, as biological markers of stream water quality. The research was conducted from June 2018 to June 2019 at five sampling sites along the Mat River, with monthly sampling for chemical–physical and microbiological parameters and seasonal sampling for benthic macroinvertebrates. The investigated data for the studied parameters were statistically analysed using MINITAB 19 software. The variation in spatial and temporal trends of the investigated parameters showed differences in water quality among different sampling sites. As expected, the bacterial load was found to be higher near urban areas, and the pollution increased with the course of the river. The same tendency in water quality showed up even in the benthic macroinvertebrates population. Pearson correlation coefficients (p > 0.05) between the water quality data revealed the similarity and the associations between parameters. Cluster analysis of the investigated parameters revealed the classification of Mat River water quality and the possibility of using microbiological parameters and/or benthic macroinvertebrates for the assessment of water quality.

  • Assessment of the water quality of Mat River in Albania, using bacteria and benthic invertebrates as biological quality indicators.

  • The results of our study highlight a deterioration of the water quality of Mat River from the upper reaches to the lower reaches, mainly due to anthropogenic pressure.

  • The number of benthic macroinvertebrates reflects water quality and organic pollution.

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