Land Use and River Water Quality Relationships in the Muda River Basin, Malaysia

  • Shah Christirani Azhar Centre of Foundation Studies for Agricultural Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Seri Kembangan, Selangor, Malaysia
Keywords: Geographic information system, Muda River basin, land use, water quality, , multiple linear regression


The river water quality worldwide has declined progressively as an implication of improper land-use practices. In this study, the Geographic Information System and Multiple Linear Regression analysis were used to determine the river water quality that is associated with various effects of land use, particularly in the north-western part of Peninsular Malaysia. The study employed secondary water quality data consisted of 22 water quality variables at four different buffer zones: 500, 1000, 1500 and 2000 m. The land use data were sorted into four land use categories: agricultural, forestry, urban areas, and others.  Out of 88 regression models examined, only eight significant models were obtained. The analysis indicates a weak association between the water quality and land use for nitrates (0.08< R2 < 0.14, p< 0.05) and calcium (0.10 < R 2< 0.17, p< 0.05) within all the investigated zones. Interestingly, although the catchment area is covered by 55 % of agricultural land and 35 % of the forest, the findings revealed that the river water quality is not significantly affected by the land use activity. Hence, the results provide new perspectives on the associations of river water quality and land use in the areas dominated by agricultural activities.


Download data is not yet available.


Li, S., Gu, S., Liu, W., Han, H. and Zhang, Q. (2008). Water quality in relation to land use and land cover in the upper Han River Basin, China. CATENA, 75, 216-222.

Bu, H., Meng, W., Zhang, Y. and Wan, J. (2014). Relationships between land use patterns and water quality in the Taizi River basin, China. Ecological Indicators, 41, 187-197.

Gazzaz, N.M., Yusoff, M.K., Ramli, M.F., Juahir, H. and Aris, A.Z. (2015). Artificial neural network modeling of the water quality index using land use areas as predictors Water Environment Research, 87(2), 99–112.

Rasul, M.G., Islam, M.S., Alam, L. and Mokthar, M. (2015). Effects of anthropogenic impact on water quality in Bertam catchment, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental,41, 75-86.

Wan, A.Y., Mokhtar, J., Mohd, K.A. and Mohd, E.T. (2015). Land exploration study and water quality changes in Tanah Tinggi Lojing, Kelantan, Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Analytical Sciences, 19, 951-959.

Mamun, A.A., Salleh, M.N., Nuruzzaman, M., Dom, N.M., Amin, M.Z., Eusuf, M.A. and Chowdhury, A.J. (2016). Impact of improper landuse changes on flash flood and river system—a case of Sg Pusu. ARPN Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 11, 5372–5379

Tu, J. (2011). Spatial and temporal relationships between water quality and land use in northern Georgia, USA. Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences, 8, 51–170.

Davids, J.C., Rutten, M., M., Shah, R., D. T., Shah, D. N., Devkota, N., Izeboud, P., Pandey, A. and Giesen, N. V. D. (2018). Quantifying the connections—linkages between land-use and water in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 190, 1-17.

Chen, D., Elhadj, A., Xu, H., Xu, X. and Qiao, Z. (2020). A study on the relationship between land use change and water quality of the Mitidja watershed in Algeria based on GIS and RS. Sustainability, 12, 1-20.

El-Khoury, A., Seidou, O., Lapen, D.R.L., Que, Z., Mohammadian, M., Sunohara, M. and Bahram, D. (2015). Combined impacts of future climate and land use changes on discharge, nitrogen and phosphorus loads for a Canadian river basin. Journal of Environmental Management, 151, 76–86.

Mehdi, B., Ludwig, R. and and Lehner, B. (2015). Evaluating the impacts of climate change and crop land use change on streamflow, nitrates and phosphorus: A modeling study in Bavaria. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 4, 60–90.

Tasdighi, A., Arabi, M. and Osmond, D.L. (2017).The relationship between land use and vulnerability to nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in an urban watershed. Journal of Environmental Quality, 46, 113-122.

Banerjee, S. (2019). Agricultural intensification reduces microbial network complexity and the abundance of keystone taxa in roots. The ISME Journal, 13, 722–1736.

Griffith, C.A., Shang, P., Lu, Y. and Theuerkauf, E.J. (2019).Agricultural Land Use Impacts Microbial Community Structure of Streambed Sediments Aquatic Microbial. Ecology, 83,225-236.

Neidhard, H., Achten, F., Kern, S., Schwientek, M. and Oelmann, Y. (2019). Phosphorus pool composition in soils and sediments of transitional ecotones under the influence of agriculture. Journal of Environmental Quality, 48, 1-11.

Fulton, C.A., Hartz, K.E. H., Fell, R.D., Brewster, C.C., Reeve, J.D. and Lydy, J.M. (2019).An assessment of pesticide exposures and land use of honey bees in. Virginia. Chemosphere, 222, 489-93.

Uhl, P. and Brühl, C.A. (2019). The impact of pesticides on flower-visiting insects: A review with regard to European Risk Assessment. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 38, 2355-2370.

McGrane, S.J. (2016). Impacts of urbanisation on hydrological and water quality dynamics, and urban water management: a review, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 61, 2295-2311.

Baral, D., Speicher, A., Dvorak, B., Admiraal, D. and Li, X. (2018). Quantifying the Relative Contributions of Environmental Sources to the Microbial Community in an Urban Stream under Dry and Wet Weather Conditions Applied and Environmental Microbiology,84, 1-13.

Fanga, W., Penga, Y., Muirb, D., Lind, J. and Zhanga, X. (2019). A critical review of synthetic chemicals in surface waters of theUS, the EU and China. Environment International, 131, 1-11.

Camara, M., Jamil, N.R. and Abdullah, A.F. (2019). Impact of land uses on water quality in Malaysia: a review. Ecological Processes,8,1-11.

Ekhuemelo, D.O., Amonum, J.I. and Usman, I. A. (2016). Important of forest and trees in sustaining water supply and rainfall. Journal of Education, Health and Technology Research, 8, 273-280.

Lawniczak, A.E., Zbierska, J., Nowak,B., Achtenberg,K., Grześkowiak, A. and Kanas, K. (2016). Impact of agriculture and land use on nitrate contamination in groundwater and running waters in central-west Poland. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 188, 1-17.

Algeet-Abarquero,N., Marchamalo, M., Bonatti, J., Fernández-Moya, J. and Moussa, R. (2015). Implications of land use change on runoff generation at the plot scale in the humid tropics of Costa Rica. Catena, 135, 263-270.

Pires, N.L. , Muniz, D.H.D.F., Kisaka, T.B., Simplicio, N.D.C.S., Bortoluzzi, L. and Lima, J.E.F.W (2015). Impacts of the urbanization process on water quality of Brazilian Savanna Rivers: The Case of Preto River in Formosa, Goiás State, Brazil. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12,10671-10686.

Gao, J., Gao, F.L.H., Zhoua, C. and Zhang, X. (2017).The impact of land-use change on water-related ecosystem services: a study of the Guishui River Basin, Beijing, China. Journal of Cleaner Production, 163, 148-155.

Luo, Z., Shao, Q., Zuo, Q. and Cui, Y. (2020).Impact of land use and urbanization on river water quality and ecology in a dam dominated basin. Journal of Hydrology, 584, 1-14.

Ullah, A., Jiang, J. and Wang, P. (2018). Land use impacts on surface water quality by statistical approaches Global. Journal of Environmental Science and Management, 4,1-20.

Huang, W., Mao, J., Zhu, D., and Lin, C. (2020).Impacts of land use and land cover on water quality at multiple buffer-zone scales in a Lakeside City. Water, 12, 1-12.

Zhang, J., Li, S., Dong, R., Jiang, S.S. and Ni, M. (2019). Influences of land use metrics at multi-spatial scales on seasonal water quality: A case study of river systems in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, China. Journal of Cleaner Production, 206, 76-85.

Singh, S., Bhardwaja, A. and Verma, V.K. (2016). Hydrological characterization of Dholbaha Watershed in Shivalik Foothills using RS and GIS. Journal of Agricultural Engineering, 53, 1-11.

Helecki, W., Stachura, T., Fudała, W. and Rusnak, M. (2018). Evaluating the applicability of MESS (matrix exponential spatial specification) model to assess water quality using GIS technique in agricultural mountain catchment (Western Carpathian). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 191, 1-22.

Singh, A. (2019). Remote sensing and GIS applications for municipal waste. Journal of Environmental Management, 243, 22-29.

Khoi, D. and Suetsugi, T. (2014). Impact of climate and land-use changes on hydrological processes and sediment yield: A case study of the Be River catchment, Vietnam. Hydrological Science Journal, 59, 1095–1108.

Rodrigues, V., Estrany, J., Ranzini, M., de Cicco, V., Martín-Benito, J.M. and Hedo, J. (2018). Effects of land use and seasonality on stream water quality in a small tropical catchment: the headwater of Córrego Água Limpa, São Paulo (Brazil). Science of the Total Environment, 622–623, 1553-1561.

Kozaki, D., Rahim, M.H., Ishak, W.M., Yusoff, M.M., Mori, M., Nakatani, N and Tanaka, K. (2016). Assessment of the river water pollution levels in Kuantan, Malaysia, using ion-exclusion chromatographic data, water quality indices, and land usage patterns. Air Soil Water Research, 9, 1-11.

Juahir, H., Zain, S.M., Aris, A.Z., Yusof, M.K., Samah, M.A. and Mokhtar, M. (2010). Hydrological trend analysis due to land use changes at Langat River Basin. Environment Asia, 3, 20–31.

Narany, T.S., Aris, A, Z, Sefie, A and Keesstra, S. (2017). Detecting and predicting the impact of land use changes on groundwater quality, a case study in Northern Kelantan, Malaysia. Science of the Total Environment, 599–600, 844–853.

Guo, Q., Ma, K., Yang, L. and He, K. (2010). Testing a dynamic complex hypothesis in the analysis of land use impact on lake water quality. Water Resources Management, 24, 1313-1332.

Azhar, S.C. (2017). Water Quality Pattern Recognition of the Muda River Basin, Malaysia. PhD Thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia

Tan, M.L. (2019). Assessment of TRMM product for precipitation extreme measurement over the Muda River Basin, Malaysia. HydroResearch, 2, 69-75.

Department of Environment (DOE). (2014). Malaysia Environmental Quality Report 2013.Department of Environment, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Ouma, Y.O., Okuku, C. O. and Njau1 E.N. (2020). Use of Artificial Neural Networks and Multiple Linear Regression model for the prediction of dissolved oxygen in rivers: Case study of Hydrographic Basin of River Nyando, Kenya. Hindawi, 2020, 1-23.

lten, N. and Selici, T. (2008). Investigation the impacts of some meteorological parameters on air pollution in Balikesir, Turkey. Environment Monitoring Assessment,140, 259-266.

Ghestem, M. Sidle, R.C. and Stokes, A. (2011). The influence of plant root systems on subsurface flow: Implications for slope stability. BioScience, 61, 869-879.

Garcia, L.G., Salemi, L.F., Lima, W.D.P. and Ferraz, S.F.D.B. (2018). Hydrological effects of forest plantation clear-cut on water availability: Consequences for downstream water users. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 19, 17-24.

Hamid, A., Bhat, S.U. and Jehangir, A. (2020). Local determinants influencing stream water quality. Applied Water Science, 10, 1-17.

Wang, G., Yinglang, A., Xu, Z. and Zhang, S. (2013). The influence of land use patterns on water quality at multiple spatial scales in a river system. Hydrological Process, 28, 5259–5272.

Ouyang, Y. Leininger, T.D. and Morana, M. (2015). Estimating effects of reforestation on nitrogen and phosphorus load reductions in the Lower Yazoo River Watershed, Mississippi. Ecological Engineering, 75, 449-456.

Anbumozhi, V., Radhakrishnan, J. and Yamaji, E. (2005). Impact of riparian buffer zones on water quality and associated management considerations. Ecological Engineering, 24, 517-523.

Evans, D.M., Zipper, C.E., Burger, J.A., Strahm, B.D. and Villamagna, A.M. (2013). Reforestation practice for enhancement of ecosystem services on a compacted surface mine: path toward ecosystem recovery. Ecological Engineering, 51, 16–23.

McBroom, M.W., Beasley, R.S. and Chang, M. (2008). Water quality effects of clearcut harvesting and forest fertilization with best management practices. Journal of Environmental Quality, 37,114–124.

Ouyang, Y. Leininger, T.D. and Morana, M. (2013). Impacts of reforestation upon sediment load and water outflow in the Lower Yazoo River Watershed, Mississippi. Ecological Engineering, 61, 394–406.

Duha, J.D., Shandas, V. Chang, H.J. and George, L.A (2008). Rates of urbanisation and the resiliency of air and water quality. Science of the Total Environment, 400, 238-256.

Department of Environment (DOE). (2008). Malaysia Environmental Quality Report 2007.Department of Environment, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

How to Cite
Azhar, S. C. (2021). Land Use and River Water Quality Relationships in the Muda River Basin, Malaysia. EDUCATUM Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology, 8(1), 36-48.