Globally the maintenance of a “healthy” river has emerged as an urgent priority. Historically, people tended to settle next to rivers as it provided them with a ready source of water, food and transportation. Today in Trinidad and Tobago the quality of many rivers have been deteriorating, (Water Resources Agency, WASA, 2001) this has led to the implementation of the IWRM Forum and the Adopt-A-River Program. The main threats to river health include uncontrolled point and non-point source discharges and the high sediment loads from erosion in the upper catchment.(Water Resources Agency, WASA, 2001). As a result of this, the ability of the river to support environmental, economic and social requirements are compromised.
The Ortoire River is an example of a river system that has been impacted by the effects of anthropogenic activity. It is the main water course within the Ortoire watershed which is located in south-eastern Trinidad. The need to preserve this river stems forits use as a supply of water for agriculture, fishing, and recreation, as well as, to support terrestrial and aquatic life. Additionally, the existence of a fringe and basin type mangrove on this river serves as a valuable nursery for the cascadura fish, oyster, conch and crabs. (Water Resources Agency, WASA, 2001).
This paper investigates the water quality status within the Ortoire Riverto determine the impending effects on its health, in an effortto inform decisions and plans for itssustainability. This was achieved by the analysis of water quality data for several parameters, and interpreting the results based on the DENR Clean Water Act, 2004 for ambient water quality.