For the evaluation of pollutants loading to Lake Biwa, comprehensive river surveys on river mouths and forest sites were conducted 9 times from 1996 to 1999, on 25–40 main rivers in the Lake Biwa watershed. The main results obtained are as follows. (1) River water quality reflects regional characteristics of their catchment areas, and the concentration difference among rivers ranged between 2–3 fold. (2) Concentration variation shows different patterns with time and location depending on water quality indices used. (3) Indices related to organic matter and nutrients have lower correlation between forests and river mouths, but those related to ionic species showed strong correlation. (4) Flux comparison of forest and river mouth sites suggests that pollutants from catchment areas are conveyed to the lake not only through rivers but also underground. (5) In dry weather conditions, forests contribute 30% to the whole pollutants (TN, TP, and TCODMn) loading, and the remainder is derived mainly from paddy fields and residential/commercial zones. (6) Unit loading factors from forests are estimated as 640, 57 and 1200 kg/km2/y, respectively for TN, TP and TCODMn, while those from other areas are estimated as 2,500, 208 and 4,200 kg/km2/y.

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