Malaysia is a tropical country that is highly dependent on surface water for its raw water supply. Unfortunately, surface water is vulnerable to pollution, especially in developed and dense urban catchments. Therefore, in this study, a methodology was developed for an extensive temporal water quality index (WQI) and classification analysis, simulations of various pollutant discharge scenarios using QUAL2K software, and maps with NH3-N as the core pollutant using an integrated QUAL2K-GIS. It was found that most of the water quality stations are categorized as Class III (slightly polluted to polluted). These stations are surrounded by residential areas, industries, workshops, restaurants and wet markets that contribute to the poor water quality levels. Additionally, low WQI values were reported in 2010 owing to development and agricultural activities. However, the WQI values improved during the wet season. High concentrations of NH3-N were found in the basin, especially during dry weather conditions. Three scenarios were simulated, i.e. 10%, 50% and 70% of pollution discharge into Skudai river using a calibrated and validated QUAL2K model. Model performance was evaluated using the relative percentage difference. An inclusive graph showing the current conditions and pollution reduction scenarios with respect to the distance of Skudai river and its tributaries is developed to determine the WQI classification. Comprehensive water quality maps based on NH3-N as the core pollutant are developed using integrated QUAL2K-GIS to illustrate the overall condition of the Skudai river. High NH3-N in the Skudai River affects water treatment plant operations. Pollution control of more than 90% is required to improve the water quality classification to Class II. The methodology and analysis developed in this study can assist various stakeholders and authorities in identifying problematic areas and determining the required percentage of pollution reduction to improve the Skudai River water quality.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.