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Open AccessArticle

Delineating Groundwater Vulnerability and Protection Zone Mapping in Fractured Rock Masses: Focus on the DISCO Index

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Laboratory of Cartography and Applied Geology (Labcarga), Department of Geotechnical Engineering, School of Engineering (ISEP), Polytechnic of Porto, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal
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Centre GeoBioTec|UA—Georesources, Geotechnics and Geomaterials group, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
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Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, University of Porto (FLUP), 4099-002 Porto, Portugal
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Institute of Earth Sciences (ICT|UP), Department of Geosciences, Environmental and Land Planning, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto (FCUP), 4099-002 Porto, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Polya
Water 2016, 8(10), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8100462
Received: 14 May 2016 / Revised: 24 September 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 18 October 2016
Hard-rock catchments are considered to be source of valuable water resources for water supply to inhabitants and ecosystems. The present work aims to develop a groundwater vulnerability approach in the Caldas da Cavaca hydromineral system (Aguiar da Beira, Central Portugal) in order to improve the hydrogeological conceptual site model. Different types of information were overlaid, generating several thematic maps to achieve an integrated framework of key sectors in the study site. Thus, a multi-technical approach was used, encompassing field and laboratory techniques, whereby different types of data were collected from fields such as geology, hydrogeology, applied geomorphology and geophysics and hydrogeomechanics, with the fundamental aim of applying the so-called DISCO index method. All of these techniques were successfully performed and an intrinsic groundwater vulnerability to contamination assessment, based on the multicriteria methodology of GOD-S, DRASTIC-Fm, SINTACS, SI and DISCO indexes, was delineated. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provided the basis on which to organize and integrate the databases and to produce all the thematic maps. This multi-technical approach highlights the importance of groundwater vulnerability to contamination mapping as a tool to support hydrogeological conceptualization, contributing to improving the decision-making process regarding water resources management and sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: hard-rock hydrogeology; fractured media; GIS mapping; vulnerability assessment; DISCO index; hydrogeological conceptual model hard-rock hydrogeology; fractured media; GIS mapping; vulnerability assessment; DISCO index; hydrogeological conceptual model
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Meerkhan, H.; Teixeira, J.; Espinha Marques, J.; Afonso, M.J.; Chaminé, H.I. Delineating Groundwater Vulnerability and Protection Zone Mapping in Fractured Rock Masses: Focus on the DISCO Index. Water 2016, 8, 462.

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