Surface water quality and socio-environmental pressures in the upper microbasin of the Poás river

Keywords: Water quality, surface water, quality index, socio environmental characteristics, watershed, Poás


The objective of this research was to determine the quality of surface water in the upper part of the Poás river micro basin and the main socio-environmental pressures that may be related to current quality indices. An exploratory study with a quantitative approach was carried out in which the main socio-environmental pressures experienced by the water resource in the area were identified, while the quality of the surface water was determined based on physical, chemical, and microbiological indicators, as well as the application of two quality indices. Six socio-environmental pressures with a negative impact on the resource were found and related to specific actions carried out in homes and other socio-economic activities. Despite the fact that the evidence showed overall compliance between the analyzed parameters and quality criteria used nationally and internationally, the indices revealed incipient contamination levels, as well as good and medium quality. Statistically, it was found that water quality of the micro-basin does not vary spatially; however, it does vary temporarily due to the incidence of rainfall patterns in the area. This finding, along with the determination of significant correlations between the monitored parameters, contributed to the recognition that the sites monitored in the rainy season have a stronger relationship with parameters associated with organic pollution linked to runoff and wastewater discharge processes. Therefore, it is necessary to coordinate efforts that guarantee sustainability of the micro basin that improve the local sanitary infrastructure, strengthen water management processes, and are focused on the establishment of a monitoring network within a reference framework oriented towards basins.


Aho, K. (2014). Asbio: A collection of statistical tools for biologists. R Package version, 1-1.
Adegbite, S. A., Adeleke, A. E., Sangoremi, A., & Oladele, E. O. (2018). Seasonal variations of physicochemical characteristics of brewery industry effluent and receiving water of Ikpoba-Oha Rivers, Benin City, Nigeria. Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management, 22(6), 857.
Alvarado-García, V., Pérez-Gómez, G., & Gastezzi-Arias, P. (2020). Calidad del ecosistema urbano del río Torres, San José, Costa Rica: factores bióticos y abióticos. Cuadernos de Investigación UNED, 12(2), 527–542.
Anderson, E. P., Jackson, S., Tharme, R. E., Douglas, M., Flotemersch, J. E., Zwarteveen, M., Lokgariwar, C., Montoya, M., Wali, A., Tipa, G. T., Jardine, T. D., Olden, J. D., Cheng, L., Conallin, J., Cosens, B., Dickens, C., Garrick, D., Groenfeldt, D., Kabogo, J., & Arthington, A. H. (2019). Understanding rivers and their social relations: A critical step to advance environmental water management. WIREs Water, 6(6), 1–21.
Angulo, F. (2020). Patrones e impactos del uso de la energía y el agua en Costa Rica: investigación de base. PEN.
APHA, AWWA, & WEF. (2012). Standard Methods for the Examination of Water & Wastewater; Rice, E., Baird, R., Eaton, A., Clesceri, L. (Eds.); Port City Press, pp 2–13, 2–64, 2–69, 4–5, 4–92, 4–115, 4–143, 4-152.
Asmat, A., Hazali, N. A., Nor, A. N. M., & Zuhan, F. K. (2018). Seasonal-spatial of Putrajaya Lake Water Quality Parameter (WQP) concentration using Geographic Information System (GIS). International Journal of Engineering and Technology (UAE), 7(3), 176–181.
Ayandiran, T. A., Fawole, O. O., & Dahunsi, S. O. (2018). Water quality assessment of bitumen polluted Oluwa River, South-Western Nigeria. Water Resources and Industry, 19, 13–24.
Bartram, J., & Ballance, R. (1996). Water quality monitoring: a practical guide to the design and implementation of freshwater quality studies and monitoring programmes. E & FN Spon.
Blair, R. C., Higgins, J. J., Karniski, W., & Kromrey, J. D. (1994). Multivariate behavioral a study of multivariate permutation tests which may replace Hotelling’ s T2 test in prescribed circumstances. Multivar Behav Res, 29(2), 141–163.
Bouwman, A. F., Beusen, A. H. W., & Billen, G. (2009). Human Alteration of the Global Nitrogen and Phosphorus Soil Balances for the Period 1970-2050. Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 23(4), 1–16.
Calvo-Brenes, G., & Mora-Molina, J. (2012). Análisis de la calidad de varios cuerpos de agua superficiales en el GAM y la Península de Osa utilizando el índice holandés. Revista Tecnología En Marcha, 25(5), 37.
Chapman, D. (1996). Water Quality Assessments: A Guide to the Use of Biota, Sediments and Water in Environmental Monitoring (pp 1–609). F & FN Spon.
Converse, R. R., Piehler, M. F., & Noble, R. T. (2011). Contrasts in Concentrations and Loads of Conventional and Alternative Indicators of Fecal Contamination in Coastal Stormwater. Water Res. 45(16), 5229–5240.
Decreto N.° 33903-MINAE-S de 2007 [Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, Ministerio de Salud]. Reglamento para la Evaluación y Clasificación de la Calidad de Cuerpo de Agua Superficiales. 17 de setiembre de 2007.
Dirección de Agua. (2020). Estrategia nacional para la recuperación de cuencas urbanas 2020-2030.
Fernandes, M. R., Aguiar, F. C., Martins, M. J., Rivaes, R. & Ferreira, M. T. (May, 2020). Long-Term Human-Generated Alterations of Tagus River: Effects of Hydrological Regulation and Land-Use Changes in Distinct River Zones. Catena (1)
Flanagan, P. (2001). Parameters of Water Quality: Interpretation and Standards. Environmental Protection Agency.
Global Water Partnership (GWP). (2017). Situación de los recursos hídricos en Centroamérica: Hacia una gestión integrada. Global Water Partnership Central America, 100.
Good, P. (2009). Permutation Test: a practical guide to resampling meth- ods for testing hypotheses. In Bickel P, Diggle P, Fienberg S, Krickeberg K, Olkin I, Wermuth N, Zeger S (Eds.) (2nd ed.). Springer.
Gu, Q., Hu, H., Ma, L., Sheng, L., Yang, S., Zhang, X., Zhang, M., Zheng, K., & Chen, L. (2019). Characterizing the spatial variations of the relationship between land use and surface water quality using self-organizing map approach. Ecological Indicators, 102(December 2018), 633–643.
Helsel, D. R. (2012). Statistics for Censored Environmental Data Using Minitab an R. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All.
Hernando Echeverría, L., Patterson, O., Ruiz, A., Ramos, R., & Garro, L. (2004). Manejo y ordenamiento territorial de cuencas de Costa Rica: El caso de la microcuenca del río Poás. In Revista geográfica de América Central, 40, 101–112.
Herrera-Murillo, J. (2017). Uso y estado de los recursos: Recurso hídrico. Informe Estado de la Nación en Desarrollo Sostenible 2017 (pp. 3–31). Programa Estado de la Nación.
Hu, M., Wang, Y. Du, P., Shui, Y., Cai, A., Lv, C., Bao, Y., Li, Y., Li, S., & Zhang, P. (2019). Tracing the Sources of Nitrate in the Rivers and Lakes of the Southern Areas of the Tibetan Plateau Using Dual Nitrate Isotopes. Sci. Total Environ. 658, 132–140.
Hui, L., Daphne, X., Utomo, H. D., Zhi, L., & Kenneth, H. (2011). Correlation between Turbidity and Total Suspended Solids in, 1(3), 313–322.
Hur, J., & Jung, M. C. (2009). The Effects of Soil Properties on the Turbidity of Catchment Soils from the Yongdam Dam Basin in Korea. Environ. Geochem. Health, 31(3), 365–377.
Hussain, B., Sultana, T., Sultana, S., Al-Mulhim, N., & Mahboob, S. (2018). Pollutant fate and spatio-temporal variation and degree of sedimentation of industrial- and municipal wastes in Chakbandi drain and River Chenab. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 25(7), 1326–1331.
Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo. (2011). Censo Nacional 2011.
Irvine, K. N., Somogye, E. L., & Pettibone, G. W.(2002). Turbidity, Suspended Solids, and Bacteria Relationships in the Buffalo River Watershed. Middle States Geogr, 35, 42–51.
Jovanelly, T. J., Rodríguez-Montero, L., Sánchez-Gutiérrez, R., Mena-Rivera, L., & Thomas, D. (2020). Evaluating watershed health in Costa Rican national parks and protected areas. Sustainable Water Resources Management, 6(5), 1–14.
Kändler, M., Blechinger, K., Seidler, C., Pavlů, V., Šanda, M., Dostál, T., Krása, J., Vitvar, T., & Štich, M. (2017). Impact of land use on water quality in the upper Nisa catchment in the Czech Republic and in Germany. Science of the Total Environment, 586, 1316–1325.
Kamble, S. M. (2014). Water Pollution and Public Health Issues in Kolhapur City in Maharashtra. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 4(1), 1–6.
Lê, S., Josse, J., & Husson, F. (2008). “FactoMineR: A Package for Multivariate Analysis.” Journal of Statistical Software, 25(1), 1–18.
Lee, L. (2017). NADA: Nondetects and Data Analysis for Environmental Data. R Package version, 1.6-1.1.
Liu, C. W., Lin, K. H., & Kuo, Y. M. (2003). Application of Factor Analysis in the Assessment of Groundwater Quality in a Blackfoot Disease Area in Taiwan. Sci. Total Environ, 313 (1–3), 77–89.
Malaj, E., Von Der Ohe, P. C., Grote, M., Kühne, R., Mondy, C. P., Usseglio-Polatera, P., Brack, W., & Schäfer, R. B. (2014). Organic chemicals jeopardize the health of freshwater ecosystems on the continental scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(26), 9549–9554.
Masís, F., Valdés, J., Coto, T., & León, S. (2015). Residuos de agroquímicos en sedimentos de ríos, Poás, Costa Rica. Agron. Costaricense, 32(1), 113–123.
Mena-Rivera, L., Vásquez-Bolaños, O., Gómez- Castro, C., Fonseca-Sánchez, A., Rodríguez- Rodríguez, A., & Sánchez-Gutiérrez, R. (2018). Ecosystemic Assessment of Surface Water Quality in the Virilla River: towards Sanitation Processes in Costa Rica. Water, 10(7), 1-16. doi:
Mena-Rivera, L., Salgado-Silva, V., Benavides-Benavides, C., Coto-Campos, J. M., & Swinscoe, T. H. A. (2017). Spatial and seasonal surface water quality assessment in a tropical urban catchment: Burío River, Costa Rica. Water (Switzerland), 9(8).
Mendoza, A., Soto-Cortes, G., Priego-Hernandez, G., & Rivera-Trejo, F. (2019). Historical Description of the Morphology and Hydraulic Behavior of a Bifurcation in the Lowlands of the Grijalva River Basin, Mexico. Catena, 176, 343–351.
Merck, E. (2005). Microbiology Manual, Fluorocult® LMX Broth Modified. Merck.
Meybeck, M. (2003). Global analysis of river systems: From Earth system controls to Anthropocene syndromes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 358(1440), 1935–1955.
Mukaka, M. M. (2012). Statistics Corner: A Guide to Appropriate Use of Correlation Coefficient in Medical Research. Malawi Med. J. 24, 69–71.
Njuguna, S. M., Onyango, J. A., Githaiga, K. B., Gituru, R. W., & Yan, X. (2020). Application of multivariate statistical analysis and water quality index in health risk assessment by domestic use of river water. Case study of Tana River in Kenya. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 133(November 2019), 149–158.
Pérez-Gómez, G., Alvarado-García, V., Rodríguez-Rodríguez, A., Herrera, F., & Sánchez-Gutiérrez, R. (2021). Calidad fisicoquímica y microbiológica del agua superficial del río Grande de Tárcoles, Costa Rica: Un enfoque ecológico. UNED Research Journal, 13(1).
Peto, R., & Peto, J. (1972). Asymptotically Efficient Rank Invariant Test Procedures. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 135(2), 185–207.
Phiri, O., Mumba, P., Moyo, B. H. Z. & Kadewa, W. (2005). Assessment of the impact of industrial effluents on water quality of receiving rivers in urban areas of Malawi. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 2(3), 237–244.
Pouladi, P., Afshar, A., Afshar, M. H., Molajou, A., & Farahmand, H. (2019). Agent-based socio-hydrological modeling for restoration of Urmia Lake: Application of theory of planned behavior. Journal of Hydrology, 576(February), 736–748.
Prentice, R. L. (1978). Linear rank tests with right censored data. Biometrika, 65(1), 167–169.
Prentice, R. L. & Marek, P. (1979). A Qualitative Discrepancy between Censored Data Rank Tests. Biometrics, 35(4), 861.
Programa Estado de la Nación. (2021). Sexto Estado de la Región 2021.
Qadir, A., Malik, R. N. & Husain, S. Z. (2008). Spatio-Temporal Variations in Water Quality of Nullah Aik-Tributary of the River Chenab, Pakistan. Environ. Monit. Assess. 140 (1–3), 43–59.
Quirós Arias, L. & Alfaro Chavarría, C. (2011). Dinámica territorial asociada a la actividad agropecuaria en el cantón de Poás, Alajuela. Revista Geográfica de América Central, 1(46), 155–184.
R Core Team (2020). The R Project for statistical computing.
Sánchez-Gutiérrez, R., & Gómez-Castro, C. (2021). Approaching to water quality modeling processes in a subwatershed. The Virilla River case in Costa Rica. Uniciencia, 35(1), 71–89.
Seiyaboh, E., Gijo, A., & Alagha, W. (2016). Spatial and Seasonal Variation in Physico-chemical Quality of Ikoli Creek, Niger Delta, Nigeria. Greener Journal of Environmental Management and Public Safety, 5(5), 104–109.
Sinharoy, S. S., Pittluck, R., & Clasen, T. (2019). Review of drivers and barriers of water and sanitation policies for urban informal settlements in low-income and middle-income countries. Utilities Policy, 60(August), 100957.
Sistema de Información Ambiental Territorial de la Amazonia Colombiana. (2020). Presiones socioambientales - metodología (accesado, 23 de febrero 2021).
Udeigwe, T. K., Wang, J. J., & Zhang, H. (2007). Predicting Runoff of Suspended Solids and Particulate Phosphorus for Selected Louisiana Soils Using Simple Soil Tests. J. Environ. Qual, 36 (5), 1310–1317.
Van Drecht, G., Bouwman, A. F., Harrison, J., & Knoop, J. M. (2009). Global Nitrogen and Phosphate in Urban Wastewater for the Period 1970 to 2050. Global Biogeochem. Cycles. 23 (3), 1–19.
Wantzen, K. M., Ballouche, A., Longuet, I., Bao, I., Bocoum, H., Cissé, L., Chauhan, M., Girard, P., Gopal, B., Kane, A., Marchese, M. R., Nautiyal, P., Teixeira, P., & Zalewski, M. (2016). River Culture: An eco-social approach to mitigate the biological and cultural diversity crisis in riverscapes. Ecohydrology and Hydrobiology, 16(1), 7–18.
Waziri, M., & Akinniyi, J. (2012). Assessment of the physicochemical characteristics of rain and runoff water in University of Maiduguri–Nigeria staff quarters. American Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research, 3(2), 99–102.
Wickham, H. (2016). Ggplot2: Elegant Graphics for Data Analysis. Springer-Verlag New York. ISBN 978-3-319-24277-4.
Woomer, P. L. (1994). Most probable number counts. Methods of Soil Analysis: Part 2. Microbiological and Biochemical Properties, 5, 59-79.
World Economic Forum. (2019). Global Risks Report 2019. Geneva Switzerland, p. 114.
Wu, Z., Wang, X., Chen, Y., Cai, Y., & Deng, J. (2018). Assessing River Water Quality Using Water Quality Index in Lake Taihu Basin, China. Sci. Total Environ. 612, 914–922.
Xu, G., Li, P., Lu, K., Tantai, Z., Zhang, J., Ren, Z., Wang, X., Yu, K., Shi, P., & Cheng, Y. (2019). Seasonal Changes in Water Quality and Its Main Influencing Factors in the Dan River Basin. Catena, 173, 131–140.
Yu, S., Xu, Z., Wu, W., & Zuo, D. (2016). Effect of Land Use Types on Stream Water Quality under Seasonal Variation and Topographic Characteristics in the Wei River Basin, China. Ecol. Indic, 60, 202–212.
Ziegler, A. D., Benner, S. G., Tantasirin, C., Wood, S. H., Sutherland, R. A., Sidle, R. C., Jachowski, N., Nullet, M. A., Xi, L. X., Snidvongs, A., Giambelluca, T. W., & Fox, J. M. (2014). Turbidity-based sediment monitoring in northern Thailand: Hysteresis, variability, and uncertainty. Journal of Hydrology, 519(PB), 2020–2039.
How to Cite
Arce-Villalobos, K., Sánchez-Gutiérrez, R., Centeno-Morales, J., Marín-León, R., & Rodríguez-Rodríguez, J. A. (2022). Surface water quality and socio-environmental pressures in the upper microbasin of the Poás river. Uniciencia, 36(1), 1-23.
Original scientific papers (evaluated by academic peers)

Comentarios (ver términos de uso)

Most read articles by the same author(s)