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Journal Articles Ecological Indicators Year : 2014

A multi-scale method to assess pesticide contamination risks in agricultural watersheds

Une méthode multiscalaire pour évaluer les risques de contamination par les pesticides dans les bassins versants agricoles


The protection of water is now a major priority for environmental managers, especially around drinkingpumping stations. In view of the new challenges facing water agencies, we developed a method designedto support their public policy decision-making, at a variety of different spatial scales. In this paper, wepresent this new spatial method, using remote sensing and a GIS, designed to determine the contami-nation risk due to agricultural inputs, such as pesticides. The originality of this method lies in the useof a very detailed spatial object, the RSO (Reference Spatial Object), which can be aggregated to manyworking and managing scales. This has been achieved thanks to the pixel size of the remote sensing, witha grid resolution of 30 m × 30 m in our application.The method – called PHYTOPIXAL – is based on a combination of indicators relating to the environmen-tal vulnerability of the surface water environment (slope, soil type and distance to the stream) and theagricultural pressure (land use and practices of the farmers). The combination of these indicators for eachpixel provides the contamination risk. The scoring of variables was implemented according knowledgein literature and of experts.This method is used to target specific agricultural input transfer risks. The risk values are first calculatedfor each pixel. After this initial calculation, the data are then aggregated for decision makers, accordingto the most suitable levels of organisation. These data are based on an average value for the watershedareas.In this paper we detail an application of the method to an area in the hills of Southwest France. Weshow the pesticide contamination risk by in areas with different sized watersheds, ranging from 2 km2to 7000 km2, in which stream water is collected for consumption by humans and animals. The resultswere recently used by the regional water agency to determine the protection zoning for a large pumpingstation. Measures were then proposed to farmers with a view to improving their practices.The method can be extrapolated to different other areas to preserve or restore the surface water.
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hal-02598940 , version 1 (11-01-2022)



Francis Macary, Soizic Morin, J.L Probst, F. Saudubray. A multi-scale method to assess pesticide contamination risks in agricultural watersheds. Ecological Indicators, 2014, 36, pp.624-639. ⟨10.1016/j.ecolind.2013.09.001⟩. ⟨hal-02598940⟩
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