Discovering Water Quality Changes and Patterns of the Endangered Thi Vai Estuary in Southern Vietnam through Trend and Multivariate Analysis
Temporal and spatial water quality data are essential to evaluate human health risks. Understanding the interlinking variations between water quality and socio-economic development is the key for integrated pollution management. In this study, we applied several multivariate approaches, including trend analysis, cluster analysis, and principal component analysis, to a 15-year dataset of water quality monitoring (1999 to 2013) in the Thi Vai estuary, Southern Vietnam. We discovered a rapid improvement for most of the considered water quality parameters (e.g., DO, NH4, and BOD) by step trend analysis, after the pollution abatement in 2008. Nevertheless, the nitrate concentration increased significantly at the upper and middle parts and decreased at the lower part of the estuary. Principal component (PC) analysis indicates that nowadays the water quality of the Thi Vai is influenced by point and diffuse pollution. The first PC represents soil erosion and stormwater loads in the catchment (TSS, PO4, and Fetotal); the second PC (DO, NO2, and NO3) determines the influence of DO on nitrification and denitrification; and the third PC (pH and NH4) determines point source pollution and dilution by seawater. Therefore, this study demonstrated the need for stricter pollution abatement strategies to restore and to manage the water quality of the Thi Vai Estuary.