A water quality monitoring network design methodology for the selection of critical sampling points: Part I

R. O. Strobl, P. D. Robillard, R. D. Shannon, R. L. Day, A. J. McDonnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The principal instrument to temporally and spatially manage water resources is a water quality monitoring network. However, to date in most cases, there is a clear absence of a concise strategy or methodology for designing monitoring networks, especially when deciding upon the placement of sampling stations. Since water quality monitoring networks can be quite costly, it is very important to properly design the monitoring network so that maximum information extraction can be accomplished, which in turn is vital when informing decision-makers. This paper presents the development of a methodology for identifying the critical sampling locations within a watershed. Hence, it embodies the spatial component in the design of a water quality monitoring network by designating the critical stream locations that should ideally be sampled. For illustration purposes, the methodology focuses on a single contaminant, namely total phosphorus, and is applicable to small, upland, predominantly agricultural-forested watersheds. It takes a number of hydrologic, topographic, soils, vegetative, and land use factors into account. In addition, it includes an economic as well as logistical component in order to approximate the number of sampling points required for a given budget and to only consider the logistically accessible stream reaches in the analysis, respectively. The methodology utilizes a geographic information system (GIS), hydrologic simulation model, and fuzzy logic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-158
Number of pages22
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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