Developing simple indicators to assess the role of soils in determining risks to water quality
This project set out to explore the possibility of producing a set of four risk maps that could be used to determine the risk of diffuse pollution occurring within Scottish agricultural catchments. The key soil-based factors likely to affect water quality were deemed to be:
• Sediment and pollutants being transported to water bodies by erosion events
• Compaction, which reduces infiltration and may exacerbate run-off
• Surface run-off
• Leaching of potential pollutants
Two test catchments were chosen (the Coyle and the East Pow, both sub-catchments of SEPA’s designated priority catchments) as a related project on soil nutrient management was already using these catchments as trial areas.