Multi-scale assessment of groundwater vulnerability to pollution: study cases from Campania region (Southern Italy)
Keywords:Aquifer vulnerability to pollution, groundwater resources, Geographical Information Systems, southern Italy
In the Campania region (southern Italy), assessment of groundwater vulnerability is an important factor to be tackled for a proper management of risk to aquifer pollution, which is fostered by both high dependence of aqueduct systems on groundwater resources and the widespread agricultural and urbanized land uses of the territory. The different physiographic, geological and hydrogeological conditions of the region, coupled with high anthropic pressure, make such assessment complex to be dealt with, but at the same time mandatory to be accomplished. The proposed study has been developed into the framework of the “Campania Trasparente” project, which has been funded by the regional government to assess environmental factors controlling the quality of agricultural and livestock food productions. Specifically, it belongs to the research topic regarding the assessment of groundwater quality, with a special focus on the assessment of groundwater vulnerability. In this research a multi-scale approach for the assessment of groundwater vulnerability is carried out in order to propose suitable methods depending on extension of territory to be studied and related types and spatial density of available data. Scales considered were a) regional, including the whole Campania region; b) intermediate, identified with that of a single representative aquifer; c) site-specific, or local, related to a portion of aquifer for which a high spatial density of data is available.The applied methods were chosen among the many known in literature and adapted to the specific study cases. At the regional scale, the parametric SINTACS method (CIVITA & DE MAIO, 2000) has been applied to the whole region and adapted to types and spatial density of available data. At the intermediate scale, or aquifer scale, the Mt. Terminio karst aquifer was chosen as representative for the application of different parametric methods, also specifically designed for karst aquifers. At the site-specific scale, a representative sector of a shallow alluvial aquifer, located in the adjoining Casalnuovo di Napoli-Volla municipalities, in the Campania plain, at the eastern border of the city of Naples, has been studied by numerical modeling for the estimation of travel time of nitrate pollutant through the vadose zone. The obtained results can be conceived as useful for supporting a proper territorial planning aimed at the management of risk to pollution of groundwater resources.
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