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Water quality assessment of a recently refilled reservoir: The case of Bütgenbach Reservoir, Belgium

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Bütgenbach Reservoir is situated in the High Ardennes plateau in eastern Belgium (50°25′N; 6°13′E). It is used principally for flood control and for production of hydroelectric energy. It has been subjected to a previous series of studies because of its eutrophication problems and their impacts on the local economy. Bütgenbach Reservoir was emptied during spring 2004 for dam restoration, being refilled in mid-September of the same year. Selected physicochemical and biological parameters (temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, inorganic and organic nutrients, chlorophyll-a) were measured fortnightly during the lake's productive season (mid-April to mid-October 2005) at three sampling sites throughout the water column. The water quality conditions after refilling of the lake were compared to previous studies accomplished at the same sampling sites (prior to emptying the lake). The actual trophic status was mesotrophic to eutrophic, based on the combination of total phosphorous and chlorophyll-a concentrations, as well as water transparency. Bütgenbach Reservoir generally exhibits good water quality, based on the French water quality system SEQ-eau. A longitudinal decrease in water quality was observed from upstream to downstream, because mainly of the differences in lake bottom morphology and water residence time, and their impacts on nutrient distribution in the lake.
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