Delimiting sub-areas in water bodies using multivariate data analysis on the example of Lake Balaton (W Hungary)

József Kovács, Mária Nagy, Brigitta Czauner, Ilona Székely Kovács, Andrea K. Borsodi, István Gábor Hatvani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


The main aim of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000) is to commit European Union Member states to the achievement of good qualitative and quantitative status for all water bodies by 2015. To achieve this, a reference state has to be determined and appropriate monitoring has to be carried out. Based on the fact that the WFD classifies Lake Balaton, the largest shallow freshwater lake in Central Europe, as one water body, and due to the lack of funds, the number of sampling locations on the lake was decreased. The aim of this study was to determine how many sub-areas with different WFD-related attributes (in this case, parameters) can be delimited in the so-called one water body of Lake Balaton, so that a number of representative sampling locations might be retained. To determine Lake Balaton's different water quality areas (i.e. sub-areas of water body) 23 parameters (inorganic compounds) were examined from 10 sampling locations for the time interval 1985-2004 using cluster- and discriminant analysis, and Wilks' lambda distribution. With cluster analysis we were able to determine two time intervals (1985-1997 and 1998-2004) with three patterns of sub-areas, two from the first and one from the latter interval. These patterns pointed to the fact that for the whole investigated time interval (1985-2004) a total of five sub-areas were present, changing in number and alignment. Then the results were verified using discriminant analysis, and the parameters which influenced the sub-areas the most were determined using Wilks' lambda distribution. The conclusion was that to be able to follow the changes in alignment of the sub-areas and to get a comprehensive picture of Lake Balaton, a minimum of five sampling locations should be retained, one in each sub-area. Based on this study the Water Authorities chose to keep five out of ten sampling locations so that the sub-areas could be described. We consider this a great success and the methodology as an example for setting up sub-areas in a water body.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2012


  • Cluster analysis
  • Discriminant analysis
  • EU Water Framework Directive
  • Lake Balaton
  • Monitoring
  • Water body sub-areas
  • Wilks' lambda distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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