To help in clarifying the relationship between the time lag and attenuation of nitrogen (N) loads generated in agricultural catchments, long-term trends in activities that generate N loads and in environmental N loads were estimated in catchments in Japan and Korea dominated by non-point-source emissions. Our approach used statistical data and geographical information system software to analyze pollutant loads. The method was successful in both countries because of the availability of well-developed statistics, geographical information, and weather and water quality monitoring systems, and the accumulation of research data concerning the generation of N loads and the fate of N in soils. Comparison of environmental loads with the loads observed in river water at the outlet of each catchment revealed that: (1) the effect of changes in the environmental load in a catchment appeared almost immediately in the river water quality in Korea, but did not appear clearly even 10 years later in Japan; and (2) the strength of the attenuation appeared to be much lower in Korea than in Japan. These findings suggest that regional characteristics play important roles in the sensitivity of water quality to load-generating activities.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.