A view of water quality from the Plynlimon watershed
Abstract. A summary of hydrochemical research in the Plynlimon catchments from 1983 to the present is related to identifying water flow pathways within catchments and the modelling of soil and stream water acidification. The study reveals a highly heterogeneous system that barely conforms with current understanding of hydrology and acidification theory. The role of hydrochemical mixing processes and groundwater flow routing is emphasised as is the need for maintaining long term monitoring studies and enhancing process based studies of water and chemical fluxes through catchments. The applicability of current environmental impact models for predictive and environmental management purposes is questioned and it is proposed that new hydrochemical modelling structures are needed to examine the highly heterogeneous systems being modelled.