Land use plays a significant role in determining the spatial patterns of water quality in the Johor River Basin (JRB), Malaysia. In the recent years, there have been several occurrences of pollution in these rivers, which has generated concerns over the long-term sustainability of the water resources in the JRB. Specifically, this water resource is a shared commodity between two states, namely, Johor state of Malaysia and Singapore, a neighbouring country adjacent to Malaysia. Prior to this study, few research on the influence of land use configuration on water quality have been conducted in Johor. In addition, it is also unclear how water quality varies under different seasonality in the presence of point sources. In this study, we investigated the influence of land use and point sources from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) on the water quality in the JRB. Two statistical techniques - Multivariate Linear Regression (MLR) and Redundancy Analysis (RA) were undertaken to analyse the relationships between river water quality and land use configuration, as well as point sources from WWTPs under different seasonality. Water samples were collected from 49 sites within the JRB from March to December in 2019. Results showed that influence from WWTPs on water quality was greater during the dry season and less significant during the wet season. In particular, point source was highly positively correlated with ammoniacal‑nitrogen (NH3-N). On the other hand, land use influence was greater than point source influence during the wet season. Residential and urban land use were important predictors for nutrients and organic matter (chemical oxygen demand); and forest land use were important sinks for heavy metals but a significant source of manganese.
A catchment-scale investigation of the prevalence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in the Kuang River Basin was carried out during the dry and rainy seasons. Water samples were collected from the Kuang River and its tributaries as well as a major irrigation canal at the study site. We also investigated the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasitic infection among dairy and beef cattle hosts. Cryptosporidium and/or Giardia were detected in all the rivers considered for this study, reflecting their ubiquity within the Kuang River Basin. The high prevalence of Cryptosporidium/Giardia in the upper Kuang River and Lai River is of a particular concern as both drain into the Mae Kuang Reservoir, a vital source of drinking-water to many local towns and villages at the research area. We did not, however, detected neither Cryptosporidium nor Giardia were in the irrigation canal. The frequency of Cryptosporidium/Giardia detection nearly doubled during the rainy season compared to the dry season, highlighting the importance of water as an agent of transport. In addition to the overland transport of these protozoa from their land sources (e.g. cattle manure, cess pits), Cryptosporidium/Giardia may also be re-suspended from the streambeds (a potentially important repository) into the water column of rivers during storm events. Faecal samples from dairy and beef cattle showed high infection rates from various intestinal parasites - 97% and 94%, respectively. However, Cryptosporidium and Giardia were only detected in beef cattle. The difference in management style between beef (freeranging) and dairy cattle (confined) may account for this disparity. Finally, phylogenetic analyses revealed that the Cryptosporidium/Giardia-positive samples contained C. ryanae (non-zoonotic) as well as Giardia intestinalis assemblages B (zoonotic) and E (non-zoonotic). With only basic water treatment facilities afforded to them, the communities of the rural area relying on these water supplies are highly at risk to Cryptosporidium/Giardia infections.