First Approach to Water Quality Assessment of Lake Atotonilco, Mexico

Author(s): Marycarmen Verduzco
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Institution or organization of origin: Instituto Tecnológico Y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey
Country: Mexico


Lake Atotonilco is an intermittent shallow lake located in a closed watershed near the City of Guadalajara in western Mexico. The lake is protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The protected area covers about 2,850 hectares. The lake area has the habitats for a diversity of endemic and migratory waterfowl. In recent years, however, due to the increase in agricultural activities and the development of urban areas in the watershed, original habitats of the lake and its surroundings have been gradually disappearing. Important areas of pine and oak forests that existed in this watershed were fragmented, so that only some isolated patches of forest remain. Likewise, the intensive use of surface waters and the overexploitation of groundwater for agriculture and public uses have put the existence of the lake ecosystem and all the biodiversity within it at risk. In addition, the issue of wastewater contamination is significant, given that most of the communities in the watershed do not have sewage sanitation services. Large volumes of raw sewage reach the lake by runoff through channels and streams. Since the Lake Atotonilco watershed is mainly agricultural, significant amounts of fertilizers and agrochemical compounds are also likely contributing to the pollution of the Lake. Given the importance of this Lake to sustain the local and migratory biodiversity, it is relevant to understand how far anthropogenic activities are impacting the physicochemical and biological features of the Lake, including contaminants such heavy metals, pesticides, and antibiotics.

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