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A. Shrivastava, T. Hori and H. Takahashi.

The Activities of Natural Purification of Lake Water
and Types of Shores Surrounding Lake Biwa, Japan. - In: Sengupta, M. and Dalwani, R.
(Editors). 2008; Proceedings of Taal 2007: The 12th World Lake Conference, p. 1408-1413;
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Sengupta, M. and Dalwani, R. (Editors). 2008; Proceedings of Taal 2007: The 12th
World Lake Conference: 1408-1413;

The Activities of Natural Purification of Lake Water and Types of Shores Surrounding
Lake Biwa, Japan;

Asheesh Shrivastava*, Toshitaka Hori and Hiroki Takahashi;

Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Yoshida-
nihonmatsu-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, JAPAN;

*Corresponding author: Email:;

ABSTRACT: Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan and located in Shiga prefecture in
west-central Honshu. Lake water is used for drinking purpose by 14 million people
who live in the Shiga, Kyoto and Osaka prefecture. The water quality of the lake
varies with the geographical features of the lakeside and other characteristics such
as reed field, sandy, planty and rocky shores. These shores serve as an important
natural purification system to protect the lake from water pollution and
eutrophication that is becoming a serious the concern. In water of this time we
estimate cations (Ca, Mg, Na and K), anions also (HCO3, SO4, Cl).

Keywords: Biwa Lake, Natural purification, Shore


Lake Biwa is one of the ancient lake in the world. Lake Biwa is located in the center
of Honshu Island in Japan. The lake is divided into two parts the northern basin it
has surface area of 616 Km2 and an average depth of 44m, the southern basin
surface area is 58 Km2 and average depth 3.5 m. The water in the northern basin
flow into the southern basin and flow out through the seta river. The residence time
of the water is estimated to be 5.5 year for the northern basin and 0.04 year for the
southern basin.

Many physical, biological and biotic processes (dilution, sorption by suspended
particles, evaporation, hydrolysis etc.) are important for water quality and self
purification process in aquatic ecosystem. As a subject of nutrients analysis of
shores, Lake Biwa provides a unique opportunity because of presence of different
type of shores around Lake Biwa. Limnological data of Lake Pichola were selected
for comparative analysis with Lake Biwa shore data. Lake Pichola is situated in
Udaipur in south Rajasthan, the Lake Pichola water chemistry strongly reflects the
dominance of chemical weathering aided by anthropogenic activities and erosion of
loosely bound terrigenous material through wave action and varying lithology are
the major contributors into Pichola Lake basin.


Lake Biwa which developed about 5 million year ago is one of the oldest lakes in the
world. Many kind of biota, including more than 1000 species, live in the lake;
indigenous species are abundant. The lake is geometrically divided into two parts,
the northern and southern basins. The northern basin is the main basin and has a
surface area of 616 km2, average and maximum depths of 44m and 104m, the
southern basin has a surface area 58 km2 and a capacity of 0.2 km3, with average
and maximum depths of 3.5m and 8m.More than 118 rivers flow into lake biwa but
only one, Seta river, flow from the lake into basin. According to the characteristics
of slopes the shores of Lake Biwa are classified into rocky shore, sandy shore, the
shore covered with emergent plants.(Fig1 &2)

Figure 1. Lake Biwa sampling stations le 1 & NB5.

Maxx a /J


Figure 2. Sampling Stations of southern part of Lake Biwa Abbreviations: 10-
artificaialrockshore. 15- Rockshore: 20 – sandShore, 30 Outlate of lake biwa 35 R-
Okami River 40 – Plant Shore, 45 R – Kusatsu River 50 – Rick Shore, 60 Reed field,
70 Reed fuekd, 71 rood field 75 E- Mano river 80-sand shore 90 – mixed shore 100a-
sabd sgirem 100b-okabt shore, 101- Fujjnoki river le1 – Northern basin point of lake
biwa. Nb5- southern basin point.

Pichola Lake is about 3.62 Km in length from north to south and 2.41 Km in width
from east to west with the mean depth 5.6 m. It is estimated that lake contains 418
million cubic feet of water and covers an area of 9.71 sq km. It is fed mainly from
rainwater and Sisarma tributary. Runoff from the surroundings hills (Aravalli range),
agriculture filed leads to soil erosion and increase the supply of silt to the lake
basin. In Pichola lake rainfall is very uncertain; being a desert area, lake is
surrounded by more than 30,000 inhabitants. The eastern bank is surrounded by
the city palace while to the southeast Eklinggarh a hill flanks the lake (Fig3).

Figure 3: Map showing Lake Pichola sampling points

Although many studies have been carried out in northern basin water quality for
past several decades, there are almost no reports that studied about natural
purification activities and nutrients concentration in southern part of Lake Biwa
shores. The purpose of this study is to examine nutrients concentration in different
shores around southern part of Lake Biwa and its activities in natural purification
process. River water also analyzed for study nutrients discharge by river into Lake
Biwa. For examine the capacity of natural purification compare Lake Biwa shores
with Pichola Lake physicochemical data, because Pichola Lake also an ancient lake
and ideal natural laboratory to study physicochemical characteristics of lake water.
Piper diagram were used to explain dominant ions in Lake Biwa and Pichola.


Water samples were collected in one liter polyethylene bottles in a month of
February 2007 around Lake Biwa shores and inflow rivers water such as Okami,
Kusatsu, Mano and Fujinoki. Electrical conductivity and pH were determined at the
site using a portable kit. Once the samples were bought to the laboratory, the water
samples were filtered with 0.45 μm membrane filter paper for nutrients analysis.
Na, K, Ca, Mg were determined using atomic absorption spectrophotometer and
alkalinity was determined by acid titration. Chloride and sulphate were analyzed by
High performance liquid chromatography. Sampling station no.2 (surface water)
data of Lake Pichola was selected for comparative analysis with Lake Biwa water


PA- Core



Table1: Chemical Characteristics of Biwa and Pichola Lake

Sampling Station


Cl (μs/cm)

K (ppm)

Ca (ppm)

Mg (ppm)


(ppm) SO4

10 7.3 140.6 38.30 13.69 1.50 10.50 1.70 11.96 7.18 15 7.2 142.1 42.17 13.46 1.55
24.20 1.70 12.01 6.61 20 7.3 184.3 40.73 16.21 1.45 14.25 1.60 12.25 7.74 30 7.2
179.0 39.30 16.27 1.75 13.50 1.75 14.65 8.23 40 7.0 141.6 38.34 15.33 2.10 12.25
1.85 14.49 10.83 50 7.3 135.9 40.25 12.99 1.55 10.25 1.90 11.06 4.43 60 7.2 189.8
42.40 17.54 2.40 13.25 3.25 18.06 10.83 70 7.2 145.2 38.82 15.30 1.60 10.75 2.30
12.63 6.81 71 7.2 148.2 42.17 15.57 1.70 11.00 2.35 14.00 7.82 80 7.3 133.6 38.34
12.99 1.35 10.00 1.60 10.03 5.51 90 7.5 131.6 38.82 13.22 1.30 9.75 1.75 10.30
5.64 100a 8.9 136.1 40.25 13.69 1.55 10.25 1.75 11.15 4.33 100b 8.5 146.9 44.09
15.97 1.80 11.50 2.25 12.82 6.83 101 7.2 148.4 44.09 12.46 1.50 8.75 1.70 7.86
7.90 35r 7.0 327.0 49.84 14.83 4.60 15.75 3.80 25.25 30.90 45r 7.1 214.0 47.92
18.18 3.15 12.75 3.25 16.34 22.73 75r 7.3 141.3 47.92 9.66 1.40 10.50 2.55 6.86
8.86 Ie1 7.2 128.0 34.50 5.26 1.50 9.70 1.96 7.05 4.10 NB5 7.2 134.0 36.60 5.30
1.56 10.00 1.98 7.45 5.50 Pichola 9.07 629.0 207.40 78.8 3.91 21.62 21.42 73.84


The major ions of Lake Biwa, Pichola and inflow rivers of Lake Biwa are shown in
Table 1. The measured temperature of Lake Biwa was approximately 40C to 100C
and pH was almost neutral. In Lake Pichola temperature was approximately 250C
and pH was alkaline in nature (pH 8.56-9.79), the higher pH value in Lake Pichola
reflects a period of greater photosynthetic activity, which utilizes CO2

Alkalinit y (ppm)

Na (ppm)

concentration of Ca in rocky shore in Ca/Cl milimolar ratio because of its lithology.
In reed field area (sampling stations 60, 70 and 71) where the water was stagnant
and enriched with organic matter, the molar concentration of nutrients is high. The
lowest molar concentration of nutrients was found in Fujinoki River, which is not
affected by paddy field and anthropogenic activities (Fig4). The plot of (Ca+Mg) vs.
HCO3 shows that Lake Biwa sampling points found near equiline but in Pichola lake
its found towards the bicarbonate side, this situation requires part of carbonate
alkalinity to be balanced by alkali. The (Ca+Mg)/Total cations plot shows that the
point of Lake Pichola lie far below the equiline. The relatively high concentration of
(Na+K) to the total cations in lake Pichola compare to lake biwa indicate that
contribution from alkaline soil and silicate weathering are the important source of
major ions to lake Pichola water(Fig5). Ternary diagram of anions and cations have
also been used the relative importance of different weathering regimes, plot of
anions and cations indicate that the major element chemistry of Lake Pichola is
Bicarbonate and (Na+K) type, low contribution of these elements indicate low
chemical weathering in Lake Biwa area. Higher concentrations of nutrients in Okami
and Kusatsu river water indicate that these rivers apparently have made a
significant contribution of these elements in Lake Biwa. The high Chloride
concentration in Lake Pichola is due to alkaline/saline soil and anthropogenic
activity. (Fig6)


, there by shift the equilibrium towards the alkaline side. The Electrical Conductivity
was found in Lake Biwa Between 131μs/cm to 327μs/cm and in Lake Pichola it was
found 629.0μs/cm, high Electrical Conductivity in Lake Pichola compare to Lake
Biwa indicate contribution from intense chemical weathering around the Lake
Pichola. Alkalinity was recorded in Lake Biwa between 34.5 49.84 mg/l and in Lake
Pichola it was 207.4 mg/l, high alkalinity in Lake Pichola compare to Lake Biwa
shows, uptake of CO2 molecules from water during photosynthesis elevates pH and
water become alkaline, this might increase the concentration of bicarbonate in Lake
Pichola. (Table1). Relationship between chloride and different cations in Lake Biwa
Shore water are shown in Fig4. In Na/Cl millimolar ratio sodium concentration is
high because of silicate dissolution can be a probable source of sodium. The low
level of potassium ion compare to Sodium in lake water is a consequence of its
tendency to be fixed by clay mineral. High


Figure 4: Relationship between chloride and different cations in Lake Biwa Shore

Figure 5a.b. Show the plot of (Ca+Mg)/ HCO3 and (Ca+Mg)/ Total cations of Lake
Biwa and Pichola

Figure 6. Piper diagram for lake Biwa and Pichola water samples.



0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.00 0.35 0.40 0-00 0-05 0-10 0-15 0-20 020 030
0.35 0.40







Concentration DISCUSSION

in the Lake Biwa. High Chloride concentration in Pichola Lake due to alkaline soil In
Lake Biwa water is clean enough for sunlight to

and sewage discharge directly into the lake from city. penetrate sufficiently deep,
water contain sufficient

Aquatic plants form the foundation of healthy oxygen even at the greatest depths,
enough clay

and flourishing lake ecosystems - both within lakes components produced by the
rain weathering of
and rivers and on the shores around them. They not rocks supplied by rivers or
gush out from the bottom.

only protect water quality, but they also produce life- Huge volume of water and
geographical position

giving oxygen. Aquatic plants are a lake's own permit natural process in Lake Biwa.

filtering system, helping to clarify the water by The removal of pollutant by the
adsorption or

absorbing nutrients that could stimulate algal blooms. coprecipitation onto clay
component has been going

In Lake Biwa plant shore (Submerged macrophyte on the lake in a large scale for
eons. Four main

zones) plays an important role in water purification element.i.e. sunlight, water, soil
and air are

through physical, chemical and biological process. eliminated, the environment
rapidly become

Macrophyte decreases the organic pollution, total imbalance.

suspended solid, conductivity and increase Dissolved salts in Lake Biwa water can

transparency. Submerged macrophyte may maintain a originate from a variety of
physical, chemical and

clear water state: competition with phytoplankton for biological process in the
basin. In the absence of any
nutrients, the release of allelopathic substance significant contribution from
pollutant source the

(Humabata chemistry of the lake is influenced mostly by the

In sand shore water flow through sand and this lithology of the basin. The removal
of pollutants by

hyporheic habitat is a site of nutrient take up. A the adsorption or co precipitation
onto clay

common feature of sand shore is the huge surface components is the main part of
the spontaneous self

area exposed to water that passes through them. The cleaning process.

surface of each sand grain is mostly in contact with The amount of alkalinity depend
upon the

water and each grain provides a large area for degree of reduction of metabolized

adsorption of dissolved and particulate matter (Storey substract.The major source
of HCO-


is from flow through sand does not allow carbonate and silicate
weathering which together

the passes of water as readily as do mineral particles account for >95% of global
river water composition
of larger size. Frequently, lake water flow through (Berner and Berner 1987). The
soil zone beneath the

sand nutrients take-up. lake water body contain elevated CO



In Pichola Lake Runoff from the surrounding which is produced as a result of decay
of organic

hills (Aravalli range), agriculture fields, deforestation matter and root respiration,
which in turn combines

and mineral activities leads to soil erosion and with rainwater to form bicarbonate
by the following

increase the supply of silts to the lake basin. The reaction:

atmospheric contribution to the lake of this region could also be a significant factor
as the lake are CO H






=H+ 2





situated in an arid climate zone where frequent dust storms occur owing to strong
wind condition, and dumping of waste in the lake area. The relatively high
contribution of Na and K to the total cations indicates that silicate weathering and

CONCLUSIONS contribution from alkaline soil are significant. The high ratio of
nutrients is due to evaporation and Ca

The Conclusions of this study are summarized as precipitation which may increase
the sodium and

follows: potassium concentration.

Ternary diagram of anion and cations have been

1. Plant shore, Rock and Sand shore play an used to study the relative importance
of different

effective role in natural purification process weathering regimes. Most of the point

in Lake Biwa because we found low towards the alkalinity apex with secondary

nutrients concentration in Lake Biwa towards chloride, indicate that catchments

compare to Pichola Lake. contains a significant amount of HCO-


and lesser
2. The major cations of Lake Biwa and Pichola extent of Chloride and sulphate. The
dominance of

are in the decreasing order as bicarbonate and sodium among the anion and

Na+K>Ca>Mg and HCO



4 in lake water suggest that it is sodium bicarbonate type. The high concentration
of bicarbonate in Lake Pichola compare to Lake Biwa indicates the intense chemical
weathering process taking place in Lake Pichola basin. River inflow is one of the
major sources to induce the increase of chloride

for anions. Higher Sodium concentration in Lake Pichola indicates that weathering is
the prime important in controlling water chemistry. 3. High nutrients discharge into
Lake Biwa by rivers is due to land use and agriculture field



rise to high loads of nutrients. 4. The much higher concentration were found in reed
fields (sampling stations-60,70,71 ) because of stagnant water and extremely
eutrophic part of Lake Biwa. 5. High Calcium concentration in sampling station
15(Rock shore) is due to lithology of surrounding lake area. 6. At sampling station
we found low nutrients concentration because it is not affected by paddy field and
inflow river water. 7. In Lake Pichola, decreasing the level of anthropogenic
activities should allow the natural purification of lake water due to lithology of
surrounding lake area.


This work has been carried out under the graduate school of human and
environmental studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. We thankful to Ministry of
Education, Culture and sciences, Japan for financial support. We also owe thankful
to faculty members for their helpful and useful comments on our research and early

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