A significant rise of groundwater pollution has been registered worldwide, where nitrate has been recognized as the most widespread pollutant. In this context, the groundwater vulnerability assessment and more specifically the delineation of “Nitrate Vulnerable Zones” represents a reliable cost-effective tool for groundwater management. In this study, the Agricultural Nitrate Hazard Index (ANHI) method was applied to two case histories in southern Italy: the Lete River catchment and the eastern sector of the Campania Plain. The first area is characterized by agricultural activities and a low anthropic influence while the eastern part of the Campania Plain, around Caserta city, is strongly urbanized and developed on an extensive alluvial plain filled with volcaniclastic deposits. The parametric method applied suggests moderate hazard for the more natural setting highlighting how the intensive crop farming and livestock activities that characterized the area negatively influenced the results. For the eastern part of the Campania Plain, where a strong urbanization and widespread industrial crops are dominant, a low to very low hazard has been identified. The groundwater quality value, in contrast with the methodology results underlines the importance of further risk evaluations based on accurate aquifer characterization. A multiple year assessment based on land use change and climate variation could further highlights the difference between the study areas.
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