Understanding the influence of land use/land cover (LULC) on water quality is pertinent to sustainable water management. This study aimed at assessing the spatio-seasonal variation of water quality in relation to land use types in Lake Muhazi, Rwanda. The National Sanitation Foundation Water Quality Index (NSF-WQI) was used to evaluate the anthropogenically-induced water quality changes. In addition to Principal Components Analysis (PCA), a Cluster Analysis (CA) was applied on 12-clustered sampling sites and the obtained NSF-WQI. Lastly, the Partial Least Squares Path Modelling (PLS-PM) was used to estimate the nexus between LULC, water quality parameters, and the obtained NSF-WQI. The results revealed a poor water quality status at the Mugorore and Butimba sites in the rainy season, then at Mugorore and Bwimiyange sites in the dry season. Furthermore, PCA displayed a sample dispersion based on seasonality while NSF-WQI's CA hierarchy grouped the samples corresponding to LULC types. Finally, the PLS-PM returned a strong positive correlation (+ 0.831) between LULCs and water quality parameters in the rainy season but a negative correlation coefficient (- 0.542) in the dry season, with great influences of cropland on the water quality parameters. Overall, this study concludes that the lake is seasonally influenced by anthropogenic activities, suggesting sustainable land-use management decisions, such as the establishment and safeguarding protection belts in the lake vicinity.
© 2021. The Author(s).