Impacts of Anthropogenic and Tourism Activities on River Water Quality: A Case Study of Betwa River Stretch, Madhya Pradesh, India

Impacts of Anthropogenic and Tourism Activities on River Water Quality: A Case Study of Betwa River Stretch, Madhya Pradesh, India

Ravi Sharma (Symbiosis International University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8494-0.ch001


A study of the water quality assessment of the Betwa River stretch was conducted in order to explore the detrimental effects of assorted anthropogenic and visitors' activities on the river. The religious tourism activities are the main type of tourism activities explored under the study in context to India. Samples were collected during May 2014 (pre-monsoon) to December 2015 (post-monsoon) period. Twelve different physicochemical parameters were collected through primary data and field investigations, while the bacteriological parameters like total coliform and fecal coliform levels were analyzed through secondary data, except biochemical oxygen demand. The results suggest that the seasonal and spatial variations are significantly different. The results also conclude that the chloride, nitrite, phosphate, COD, nitrate, and BOD as evaluated using PCA extraction method shows a higher degree of positive correlation in a component which indicates anthropogenic and industrial impacts on water quality.
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The contamination of the river water is a highly growing prodigy resulting into depurating of aquatic systems (Zhou, Zhang, Fu, Shi, & Jiang, 2008). The problem related to lack of deterioration of water quality is a debated issue for the recent decade and under the sustainable development goals of world nations. There is much water intensive and dependent activities which are anthropogenic in nature considered to important criteria for the development of the country. Irrigation for agriculture (Bates, Kundzewicz, Wu, & Palutikof, 2008) and industrial consumption is one such high water- consumption activities. The decline in water resources due to pollution including groundwater, degradation of surrounding environment, reduction in precipitation, climate change consequences are among the few phenomenon which are responsible for day- by- day growth in water demand (Ipcc, 2007; Parry et al., 2009). The lakes, rivers and wetlands are important attributes for tourism attraction and recreational activities along with other landscapes visited by tourists (Stefan Gössling et al., 2012). Apart from it there are many other forms of tourism existing in different forms on the bases of nature and typology of activities like agri- tourism, water sports, theme parks, rural tourism, coastal tourism etc. In a nutshell, both anthropogenic and industrial dependency on water including tourism and agricultural activities have increased pressure on water resources as well as made the quality of surface water more prone towards degradation and contamination (Rashid & Romshoo, 2013; Simeonov et al., 2003).

The main cause of contamination of water bodies due to tourism and other anthropogenic activities from different origin in vicinity to the destination site having aquatic ecosystem is nutrient loading through enrichment (Garcia-Esteves, Ludwig, Kerhervé, Probst, & Lespinas, 2007; Harrison et al., 2004) and chemicals discharge into the reservoirs(Jin and Hu, 2003 (M. Singh, Ansari, Müller, & Singh, 1997). The contamination through alteration of landscape for infrastructure development required for tourism and urban development is another main cause reported by different researchers (Benedict & McMahon, 2000; S. Gössling, 2002). The externalities associated with them are other factors for contribution to the strain on water resources. Human settlements and industries have long been concentrated along rivers, estuaries, and other water resources due to predominance water trade. These alterations results into the direct physical disturbance to sediments and vegetations (Hadwen, Arthington, & Mosisch, 2003; Liddle & Scorgie, 1980) causing the entrants of pollutants and heavy metals through leaching- precipitation, run- offs and storm water into the water bodies. The direct visitor’s activities like bathing, swimming, washing and cleaning in the water are other responsible causes of nutrient enrichment and contamination. In country like India, where the rivers are considered to be sacred and a symbol of divinity bears the loads of mass religious tourism activities. The religious tourism activities in India include many rituals and ceremonies resulting into the pollution load into the water bodies. The immersion of idols by different communities, mass bathing, performing of rituals are some of the examples quite common in India. The situation of rivers becomes grimmer in case the rivers are used as a dumping sources of garbage, sewage and industrial effluents without any treatment.

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