Water quality indices that describe the status of water are commonly used in freshwater vulnerability assessment. The design of river water quality monitoring programs has always been a complex process and despite the numerous methodologies employed by experts, there is still no generally accepted, holistic and practical approach to support all the phases and elements related. Here, a Geographical Information System (GIS)-based multicriteria decision analysis approach was adopted so as to contribute to the design of the national network for monitoring of water quality parameters in Greece that will additionally fulfill the urgent needs for an operational, real-time monitoring of the water resources. During this cost-effective and easily applied procedure the high priority areas were defined by taking into consideration the most important conditioning factors that impose pressures on rivers and the special conditions that increase the need for monitoring locally. The areas of increased need for automatic monitoring of water quality parameters are highlighted and the output map is validated. The sites in high priority areas are proposed for the installation of automatic monitoring stations and the installation and maintenance budget is presented. Finally, the proposed network is contrasted with the current automatic monitoring network in Greece.
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