Contamination of pesticides, which are applied to rice paddy fields, in river water has been a major problem in Japan for decades. A prolonged water holding period after pesticide application in paddy fields is expected to reduce the concentration of rice pesticides in river water. Therefore, a long monitoring campaign was conducted from 2004 to 2010 to measure the concentrations of pesticides in water samples collected from several points along the Chikugo River (Japan) including tributaries and the main stream to see if there was any reduction in the level of pesticide contamination after the extension of the water holding period (from 3-4 days to 7 days) was introduced in 2007 by the new water management regulation. No significant difference (p> 0.05) was found in pesticide concentrations between the periods before and after 2007 in all monitoring points, except in one tributary where the pesticide concentrations after 2007 were even higher than that of the previous period. A detailed study in one of the tributaries also revealed that the renovated infrastructure did not reduce the pesticide concentrations in the drainage canals. Neither the introduction of the new regulation nor the improved infrastructure had any significant effect on reducing the contamination of pesticides in water of the Chikugo River. It is probably because most farmers did not properly implement the new requirement of holding paddy water within the field for 7 days after the application of pesticides. Only tightening the regulation would not be sufficient and more actions should be taken to enforce/provide extension support for the new water management regulation in order to reduce the level of residual pesticides in river water in Japan.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Water Science and Technology
- Soil Science
- Earth-Surface Processes