Squaring the cycle: the integration of Groundwater processes in nutrient budgets for a basin-oriented remediation Strategy

Arianna Musacchio (a), Viviana Re (a), Carlo Andrea Delconte (b), Erica Racchetti (c), Elisa Soana (c,d), Raffaella Balestrini (b), Marco Bartoli (c,e), Pierluigi Viaroli (c) & Elisa Sacchi (a)
(a) Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Pavia, Via Ferrata 1-27100 Pavia, Italy. (b) Water Research Institute, National Research Council (IRSA-CNR), Via del Mulino 19, 20861 Brugherio, MB, Italy. (c) Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, University of Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 11/A - 43124 Parma, Italy. (d) Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara, Via L. Borsari 46 - 44121 Ferrara, Italy. (e) Coastal Research and Planning Institute, Marine Science and Technology, Center of Klaipeda University, H. Manto g. 84 - LT-92294, Klaipeda, Lithuania. Corresponding author e-mail: arianna.musacchio01@universitadipavia.it

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3301/ROL.2019.14         Pages: 73-78


Long term projection of N and P concentrations in surface and ground waters cannot be entirely achieved unless groundwater features and processes affecting nutrients at the watershed scale are considered. This work presents the general approach of the INTEGRON project whose aim is to "square the cycle" in nutrient budgets, evaluating the role of groundwater as a temporary/permanent sink or as a release term at the catchment scale, in the Adda and the Ticino basins (northern Italy). An integrated approach is currently tested, which considers surface and groundwater, N and P species combining hydrogeology, biogeochemistry and socio-hydrogeology. The availability of nutrient excess, the nutrient increase in rivers during the irrigation period, and nitrate trends in different groundwater bodies confirm that groundwater in the area acts as both sink and source term of nutrients. Given the complexity of the studied system, the proposed multidisciplinary approach can permit to effectively implement science-based management strategies for water protection that consider both the social and environmental domains.


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