Water quality monitoring is important to assess changes in inland and coastal water quality. The focus of this study was to improve understanding of the spatial component of spatial-temporal water quality dynamics, particularly the spatial variability in water quality and the association between this spatial variability and catchment characteristics. A dataset of nine water quality constituents collected from 32 monitoring sites over a 11-year period (2006–2016), across the Great Barrier Reef catchments (Queensland, Australia), were evaluated by multivariate techniques. Two clusters were identified, which were strongly associated with catchment characteristics. A two-step Principal Component Analysis/Factor Analysis revealed four groupings of constituents with similar spatial pattern and allowed the key catchment characteristics affecting water quality to be determined. These findings provide a more nuanced view of spatial variations in water quality compared with previous understanding and an improved basis for water quality management to protect nearshore marine ecosystem.
- Catchment characteristics
- Great Barrier Reef catchments
- Land use
- Multivariate analysis
- Water quality