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S. must evolve over time, probably iteratively, as our understanding and data bases increase. Second, the processes controlling water quality take place over a wide range of time scales. For example, ground water flow rates are very small, and a "snapshot in time," or even several closely spaced snapshots, would provide relatively little information about change. Similarly, the impacts of global climate change on water quality are likely to occur on time scales of decades. On the other hand, mixing processes in moun About this PDF file: This new digital representation of the original work has been recomposed from XML files created from the original paper book, not from the original typesetting files.

Irrigation return flow from the extensive croplands undoubtedly contributes to the relatively high specific conductance found downstream in the Kansas River; the sulfate ion is a major offender. Similarly, the use of nitrogen fertilizers may contribute to the upward trend in nitrite and nitrate levels in the Big Blue River; a major pathway could be base flow to the river. Ground water and surface water interaction is also important in some portions of the Central Oklahoma aquifer study unit; this was known prior to the inception of the pilot project.

A flexible long-term assessment would make that responsiveness possible. A national water quality assessment necessarily warrants a large-scale undertaking. Because of the complexity and spatial diversity of water quality issues, a national-level aggregation and integration would be invaluable in maximizing information gained from local experience. Such integration would enhance the ability to generalize from local experience and to adapt knowledge learned from one location to another. Because of complexity and diversity, multiple lines of evidence are often required to develop necessary understanding.

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