Mass balances of major solutes, nutrients and particulate matter as water moves through the floodplains of the Pantanal (Paraguay River, Brazil)

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de Oliveira, Marcia Divina
Calheiros, Debora Fernandes
Hamilton, Stephen Kimber
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In the upper Paraguay River basin, which includes the Pantanal, one of the largest wetlands in the world, rivers connection the surrounding upland plateaus with lowland floodplains. Agriculture, erosion, urban effluent, and hydropower in the uplands can alter the transport of materials by rivers to the Pantanal. Information about material transport, particularly nutrients, is still insufficient to evaluate changes. In this study we estimated rates of dissolved and suspended material transport from the upland watersheds into the Pantanal, and through the Paraguay River, and calculated mass balances of these flows to reveal net losses and gains inside the Pantanal. We sampled fifteen tributaries and the Paraguay River for seven years. The annual water balance in the basin was almost complete, with a deficit of only 11%. Predicted:Observed ratios close to one indicated a near balance between inputs and outputs for dissolved solutes and nutrients, however sedimentation losses of suspended solids and particulate carbon were significant. In spite of a high degree of river-floodplain contact, no significant changes on solutes concentrations were observed between inputs and outputs, enough to alter the transport of solutes though the Pantanal, indicating equilibrium in biogeochemical process on floodplain.

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RBRH-Revista Brasileira de Recursos Hidricos

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© The Author(s) 2019. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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de Oliveira, MD; Calheiros, DF; Hamilton, SK, Mass balances of major solutes, nutrients and particulate matter as water moves through the floodplains of the Pantanal (Paraguay River, Brazil), RBRH-Revista Brasileira de Recursos Hidricos, 2019, 24