Estimating nutrient concentrations from catchment characteristics across the UK
Within a Geographical Information System (GIS) framework, the distributions of nitrate and orthophosphate concentrations at monitoring sites across the UK were examined and empirical relationships with catchment characteristics were established. The mean orthophosphate concentrations were linked strongly with the urban component, and less significantly with effective rainfall and agricultural coverage. This is of strategic importance in relation to phosphorus and the Water Framework Directive. Correspondingly, mean nitrate concentrations were linked to land-use types, base flow index and effective rainfall. Within-catchment residence times and effective-rainfall (runoff) were important in relation to nitrate. The issue of nitrate and the Water Framework Directive is more complex than that for orthophosphate and involves a strong agricultural as well as an urban component.