Analysis of Water Quality Trends Using the Mann-Kendall Test and Sen’s Estimator of Slope in a Tropical River Basin

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Geography & Environment, Faculty of Human Sciences, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, 35900 Tanjong Malim, Perak, Malaysia

2 Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Science, Universitas Negeri Semarang, Gunungpati, Kota Semarang, 50229 Indonesia

3 Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences & Mathematics, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, 35900 Tanjong Malim, Perak, Malaysia


Trends in water quality, either increasing or decreasing over the long term, are becoming an essential guide to understanding water quality. This study aims to analyse the trends in water quality in the upstream part of the Bernam River Basin, Malaysia from 1998 to 2018. This study involved the collection of data on water quality from the Department of Environment, Malaysia. Six main parameters of the water quality index (WQI) were chosen, including the dissolved oxygen (DO), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), ammoniacal nitrogen (NH3-N), total suspended solids (TSS) and pH. The analysis methods applied are the Mann-Kendall test and Sen’s estimator of slope. The results of the WQI value trend analysis revealed that most stations have decreasing trends. A trend analysis of the parameters found that most stations had increasing trends for the DO, BOD, NH3-N and pH parameters, while decreasing trends for the COD and TSS parameters were observed. An increasing trend indicated that the water quality parameters were getting better, and a decreasing trend indicated the opposite. This study will benefit the parties responsible for planning and monitoring developments to reduce water pollution around the upstream Bernam River Basin. In the upstream of Bernam River Basin, land use changes have occurred rapidly, especially forest areas have been explored for human settlements, agricultural and industrial activities. Thus, the sustainability of the river basin can be maintained and valued by the various parties in the future. The river basin is also important as a domestic water supply for the residents of Selangor and Perak.


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