Lookup NU author(s): Dr David Milledge,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
© 2017 The Authors For millions of people worldwide, sewage-polluted surface waters threaten water security, food security and human health. Yet the extent of the problem and its causes are poorly understood. Given rapid widespread global urbanisation, the impact of urban versus rural populations is particularly important but unknown. Exploiting previously unpublished archival data for the Ganga (Ganges) catchment, we find a strong non-linear relationship between upstream population density and microbial pollution, and predict that these river systems would fail faecal coliform standards for irrigation waters available to 79% of the catchment's 500 million inhabitants. Overall, this work shows that microbial pollution is conditioned by the continental-scale network structure of rivers, compounded by the location of cities whose growing populations contribute c. 100 times more microbial pollutants per capita than their rural counterparts.
Author(s): Milledge DG, Gurjar SK, Bunce JT, Tare V, Sinha R, Carbonneau PE
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Water Research
Print publication date: 01/01/2018
Online publication date: 27/10/2017
Acceptance date: 17/10/2017
ISSN (print): 0043-1354
ISSN (electronic): 1879-2448
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
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