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Population density controls on microbial pollution across the Ganga catchment.

Milledge, D.G. and Gurjar, S.K. and Bunce, J.T. and Tare, V. and Sinha, R. and Carbonneau, P.E. (2018) 'Population density controls on microbial pollution across the Ganga catchment.', Water research., 128 . pp. 82-91.

Abstract

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 Exploiting previously unpublished archival data for the Ganga (Ganges) catchment, we find a strong non-linear relationship between upstream population density and microbial pollution, and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.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2017.10.033
Publisher statement:© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Date accepted:17 October 2017
Date deposited:31 October 2017
Date of first online publication:27 October 2017
Date first made open access:No date available

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