Special Issue "Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrology and Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Elias Dimitriou
Website
Guest Editor
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, Athens, Greece
Interests: hydrodynamic numerical modeling; water resources management; groundwater vulnerability and risk assessment; wetland hydrology; remote sensing for environmental applications
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Ms. Angeliki Mentzafou
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, Athens, Greece
Interests: Hydrological modeling; groundwater pollution assessment; pollution risk assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Surface and Ground- water vulnerability assessment is a useful approach for identifying pollution pressures effectively and applying protection and restoration measures in water bodies. There are many different methods for assessing and mapping water vulnerability and pollution risk, for example, using Geographical Information Systems (GIS), numerical models, statistical indices, in-situ measurements, etc. Today, water vulnerability assessment is used worldwide for various purposes including policy making, land use planning, granting water-related infrastructure permits and developing water management plans. However, shortcomings and limitations obstructing the adoption of widely acceptable approaches are observed nowadays due to the large dataset requirements, high output uncertainty, coarse spatial resolution of the input data, lack of physical representation in the simulated processes.

The aim of this Special Issue is to present the current status on surface and ground-water vulnerability and pollution risk estimation methods, perform a comparative assessment amongst them, suggest improvements and new approaches. Special focus will be put on understudied environments such as semi-arid areas with intermittent surface water bodies and aquifers of limited but valuable productivity. The impacts on the water vulnerability and pollution risk by global changes in climate, soil and land management will be presented and practical suggestions to eliminate them will be proposed.

The papers of the Special Issue will, therefore, tackle a) methodological and conceptual issues about the assessment of water vulnerability and pollution risk, b) relevant estimations in semi-arid and arid water bodies and c) recommendations to tackle vulnerability and pollution risk under climate and land use changes in important water bodies.

Prof. Elias Dimitriou
Dr. Angeliki Mentzafou
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Water vulnerability
  • pollution risk
  • water resources management
  • pollution pressures
  • water quality
  • climate and land use change
  • water bodies restoration

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Karst Groundwater Quality and Hydrogeochemical Characteristics of a Prominent Dolomite Aquifer in Guizhou, China
Water 2020, 12(9), 2584; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092584 - 16 Sep 2020
Abstract
Karst groundwater is one of the primary water resources in most provinces of Southwestern China where karst topography is strongly featured. In Guizhou Province, a prominent geologic sedimentary formation is the dolomite stratum which exists as the restricted platform facies and potentially provides [...] Read more.
Karst groundwater is one of the primary water resources in most provinces of Southwestern China where karst topography is strongly featured. In Guizhou Province, a prominent geologic sedimentary formation is the dolomite stratum which exists as the restricted platform facies and potentially provides a large reservoir for drinking water. A proper understanding and evaluation of its hydrogeochemical characteristics and water quality is the key to ensuring the drinking water safety. In the present study, groundwater samples were collected from 25 locations of the dolomite aquifer across Guizhou to determine their major chemical compounds, including the cations (K+, Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+) and the anions (HCO3, F, Cl, NO3, SO42), as well as the pH, total hardness, and total dissolved solids. HCO3 and Ca2+ were found to be the dominant anion and cation, respectively, which is characteristic of typical karst groundwater and supports the overall observation of a slightly weak acid to weak alkaline environment in the studied groundwater, as the pH measurements ranged from 6.80 to 8.37. Fuzzy comprehensive evaluation method is used to evaluate the groundwater quality based on typical drinking water safety standard. The results show that the groundwater in most of the studied aquifers is of reasonably good quality. However, in some aquifers, concentrations of NO3 and/or SO42 were found to be excessively high. Overall, the studied dolomite aquifer in its natural environment as investigated in the present study can be considered as a potential geological stratum for water resources exploitation in Guizhou. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Differences in Risk Perception of Water Quality and Its Influencing Factors between Lay People and Factory Workers for Water Management in River Sosiani, Eldoret Municipality Kenya
Water 2020, 12(8), 2248; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12082248 - 10 Aug 2020
Abstract
This study evaluates the differences between risk predictors and risk perception regarding water pollution. Specifically, it focuses on the differences in risk perception between factory workers and lay people situated in textile industries near the River Sosiani in Eldoret, Kenya. The lay people [...] Read more.
This study evaluates the differences between risk predictors and risk perception regarding water pollution. Specifically, it focuses on the differences in risk perception between factory workers and lay people situated in textile industries near the River Sosiani in Eldoret, Kenya. The lay people are divided into two groups. The respondents living downstream are situated mostly in town centers and at the mid/lower parts of the river, and the respondents living upstream are mainly found at the upper parts of the River Sosiani. Data were obtained from 246 participants using questionnaires. Several factors influencing risk perception were selected to evaluate the degree of perceived risk amongst the groups. Descriptive statistics, mean score and correlation analyses, and multiple linear regression models were used to analyse the data. The one-way ANOVA results showed statistically different levels of risk perceptions amongst the groups. The partial and bivariate correlation analyses revealed the differences in scientific knowledge between respondents upstream and downstream. The multiple linear regression analysis showed that each group used different variables to determine risks in the region. In the factory group, 56.1% of the variance in risk perception is significantly predicted by sensorial factors, trust in the government’s capacity to manage water pollution and the impact of water pollution on human health. About 65.9% of the variance in risk perception of the downstream inhabitants is significantly predicted by sensorial factors, the possibility of industries generating water pollution, and previous experience with water pollution. For the respondents located upstream, age, sensorial factors, trust in the government and the possibility of being impacted by water pollution factors significantly predicted 37.05% of the variance in risk perception. These findings indicate that enhanced public participation in water governance amongst the residents of Eldoret town is needed, along with an understanding of the different characteristics of the respondents in the region during risk communication. This will boost awareness in the region and promote the adoption of better practices to minimise the adverse effects of water pollution faced by the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Nitrogen and Phosphorus Loads in Greek Rivers: Implications for Management in Compliance with the Water Framework Directive
Water 2020, 12(6), 1531; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061531 - 27 May 2020
Abstract
Reduction of nutrient loadings is often prioritized among other management measures for improving the water quality of freshwaters within the catchment. However, urban point sources and agriculture still thrive as the main drivers of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in European rivers. With this [...] Read more.
Reduction of nutrient loadings is often prioritized among other management measures for improving the water quality of freshwaters within the catchment. However, urban point sources and agriculture still thrive as the main drivers of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in European rivers. With this article we present a nationwide assessment of nitrogen and phosphorus loads that 18 large rivers in Greece receive with the purpose to assess variability among seasons, catchments, and river types and distinguish relationships between loads and land uses of the catchment. We employed an extensive dataset of 636 field measurements of nutrient concentrations and river discharges to calculate nitrogen and phosphorus loads. Descriptive statistics and a cluster analysis were conducted to identify commonalties and differences among catchments and seasons. In addition a network analysis was conducted and its modularity feature was used to detect commonalities among rivers and sampling sites with regard to their nutrient loads. A correlation analysis was used to identify major possible connections between types of land uses and nutrient loads. The results indicated that the rivers Alfeios, Strymonas, and Aliakmonas receive the highest inorganic nitrogen loads while the highest inorganic phosphorus loads were calculated for the rivers Strymonas, Aliakmonas, and Axios. Concerning the temporal variation of loads, inorganic nitrogen presented a peak on March and gradually declined until October when the dry period typically ends for most regions of Greece. Inorganic phosphorus loads had the highest average value in August and the lowest in October. Thus, our findings confirmed the presence of a typical seasonal variation in nitrogen loads that follows the seasonality in hydrology where high surface runoff during the wet months contribute to higher river discharges and higher nitrogen loads from the catchment. On the contrary, high phosphorus loads persisted during dry months that could be attributed to a dilution effect. Furthermore, the results imply a clear connection between agriculture and both nitrogen and phosphorus. Overall, this work presents extensive information on the nitrogen and phosphorus loads that major rivers in Greece receive that can largely aid water managers to adapt and revise basin management plans in accordance with agricultural management (e.g., which months farmers should reduce the use of fertilizers) with the purpose of meeting the environmental targets defined by the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Flood Risk Assessment of the Wadi Nu’man Basin, Mecca, Saudi Arabia (During the Period, 1988–2019) Based on the Integration of Geomatics and Hydraulic Modeling: A Case Study
Water 2019, 11(9), 1887; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091887 - 11 Sep 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
This study aims to assess the impact of flash floods in the Wadi Nu’man basin on urban areas, east of Mecca, which are subjected to frequent floods, during the period from 1988–2019. By producing and analyzing the maps of the regions, an integrated [...] Read more.
This study aims to assess the impact of flash floods in the Wadi Nu’man basin on urban areas, east of Mecca, which are subjected to frequent floods, during the period from 1988–2019. By producing and analyzing the maps of the regions, an integrated approach to geomatics and hydraulic modelling is employed. The following maps are used: Flood-prone urbanity from 1988–2019, a flood risk map of Wadi Nu’man based on a risk matrix map, and a map of the proposed protection measures and alternatives in the study area. In order to achieve these goals, changes in the land use in the Wadi Nu’man basin were monitored by analyzing successive satellite images, taken by the US satellite, Landsat, in 1988, 1998, 2013, and 2019. Using a supervised classification, with the maximum likelihood method of ERDAS IMAGINE 2016, GIS was used in the production and analysis of soil maps, and geological and hydrological groups of drainage basins, as well as the hydrological model (HEC-HMS), were applied in calculating the hydrograph curve of the Wadi Nu’man basin. The flood water volumes and flow rates were estimated based on the SCS unit hydrograph, and the rain depth was analyzed and estimated for different periods. The hydraulic modeling program (HEC-RAS) was employed, when developing a two-dimensional model to calculate the speed, depth, and spread of the flood, in order to apply the risk matrix method. The recommendations based on this study give priority to the implementation of a flood prevention plan and the protection of infrastructure by maintaining the existing flood drainage facilities and establishing new drainage facilities to protect lives, property, and infrastructure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Water Quality and Hydromorphological Variability in Greek Rivers: A Nationwide Assessment with Implications for Management
Water 2019, 11(8), 1680; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081680 - 13 Aug 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
European rivers are under ecological threat by a variety of stressors. Nutrient pollution, soil erosion, and alteration in hydrology are considered the most common problems that riverine ecosystems are facing today. Not surprisingly, river monitoring activities in Europe have been intensified during the [...] Read more.
European rivers are under ecological threat by a variety of stressors. Nutrient pollution, soil erosion, and alteration in hydrology are considered the most common problems that riverine ecosystems are facing today. Not surprisingly, river monitoring activities in Europe have been intensified during the last few years to fulfil the Water Framework Directive (WFD) requirements. With this article, we present a nationwide assessment of the water quality and hydromorphological variability in Greek Rivers based on the results of the national monitoring program under the WFD. Water quality and hydromorphological data from 352 sites belonging to 221 rivers were explored with principal component analysis (PCA) to identify main environmental gradients and the variables that contribute the most to the total variance. Nitrate, phosphate, ammonium and electrical conductivity were identified as the most important water chemistry parameters, and typical vector-based spatial data analysis was applied to map their spatial distribution at sub-basin scale. In addition, we conducted simple linear models between the aforementioned parameters and the share of land uses within the basin of each sampling site in order to identify significant relationships. Agriculture was the most important land use affecting the nitrate and electrical conductivity, while artificial surfaces were the best predictor for phosphate and ammonium. Concerning the hydromorphological variability, fine types of substrate and discharge were the variables with the highest contribution to the total variance. Overall, the results of this article can be used for the preliminary assessment of susceptible areas/rivers to high levels of nutrient pollution that can aid water managers to formulate recommendations for improvement of further monitoring activities. Furthermore, our findings implicate the need for enhancement of agri-environmental measures and reduction of point-source pollution in disturbed areas to avert the risk of further environmental degradation under the anticipated global change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
First Steps into an Integrated Karst Aquifer Vulnerability Approach (IKAV). Intrinsic Groundwater Vulnerability Analysis of the Yucatan Karst, Mexico
Water 2019, 11(8), 1610; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081610 - 02 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Karst groundwater vulnerability maps are important tools for the development of groundwater management and protection strategies. However, current methodologies do not always match regional characteristics and parameter adaptations are necessary. In addition, other important processes such as dilution and aquifer residence time are [...] Read more.
Karst groundwater vulnerability maps are important tools for the development of groundwater management and protection strategies. However, current methodologies do not always match regional characteristics and parameter adaptations are necessary. In addition, other important processes such as dilution and aquifer residence time are not included in vulnerability analysis for the complications of evaluating two or more criteria simultaneously. The integrated karst aquifer vulnerability approach (IKAV) project aims to develop an integrated approach to include these parameters and estimate global change implications in current and future scenarios. As a first step, intrinsic vulnerability methodologies are studied in order to highlight important parameters and the congruence with regional characteristics of the Yucatan karst. Results demonstrate agreement between methods for the evaluation of high and very high vulnerabilities and their relation with fissures and dolines. Moderate vulnerabilities are assigned to more than 50% of the area. However, moderate vulnerabilities, assigned to the coastal area and the Southern hill, are highly questionable. Intrinsic features affecting moderate classes vary according to the method. Parameter sensitivity analysis and overlap analysis demonstrate the influence of depth to the unsaturated zone, soils, precipitation, and slope on moderate values. Therefore, such parameters must be re-evaluated and discretized according to the characteristics of the study area to match Yucatan regional characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Vulnerability of a Northeast Mediterranean Island to Soil Loss. Can Grazing Management Mitigate Erosion?
Water 2019, 11(7), 1491; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071491 - 18 Jul 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Grazing management practices can be erosion abatement actions for lowering soil loss and the subsequent sediment pollution of surface water bodies. Process-based Geographic Information Systems models provide the opportunity to identify critical areas and hence better target such actions across the landscape. This [...] Read more.
Grazing management practices can be erosion abatement actions for lowering soil loss and the subsequent sediment pollution of surface water bodies. Process-based Geographic Information Systems models provide the opportunity to identify critical areas and hence better target such actions across the landscape. This study implemented the SWAT (Soil Water Assessment Tool) hydrologic and catchment management model to estimate the soil loss vulnerability of the nearly pristine but highly erodible Greek island of Samothraki in the North Aegean Sea, with a typical Mediterranean climate and steep topography. Model parameterization and evaluation were carried out by taking advantage of previous modeling experience on areas with data limitations. Inter-annual and intra-annual soil loss variability and the most critical areas (subbasins) of soil loss to waters were adequately identified and grazing management scenarios, including livestock reductions by 50% and 100%, grazing period reduction, and a combination of them, were formulated and applied to investigate the degree to which soil loss could be reduced. The annual reduction results varied between scenarios in the range of 10% to 25% for the entire island, and in wider ranges for its individual subbasins, showing a high potential for reducing the vulnerability of the most pressured ones. However, due to the high importance of the natural factors of rainfall and land slopes, the erosion vulnerability of the island overall could be significantly altered only if grazing management was integrated within a vegetation regeneration plan that included reforestation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Pollutant Residence Time and NO3 Concentrations in the Yucatan Karst Aquifer; Considerations for an Integrated Karst Aquifer Vulnerability Methodology
Water 2019, 11(7), 1431; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071431 - 12 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Karst aquifers are a major source of drinking water with intrinsic features that increase the pollution risk from anthropogenic and natural impacts. In Yucatan, Mexico, groundwater is the sole source of drinking water, also acting as receptor of untreated wastewater due to the [...] Read more.
Karst aquifers are a major source of drinking water with intrinsic features that increase the pollution risk from anthropogenic and natural impacts. In Yucatan, Mexico, groundwater is the sole source of drinking water, also acting as receptor of untreated wastewater due to the low regional coverage of sewer systems. To protect karst groundwater, vulnerability methodologies are widely used. Worldwide, multiple karst vulnerability schemes have been developed and tested; however, none of these consider pollutant residence time or pollutant concentration as core parameters to estimate vulnerability. This work aims to define important considerations regarding the behavior of nitrates (NO3) in a real scenario, to be included in a new integrated vulnerability method. This work has two main objectives: to set up a groundwater model to depict as close as possible the groundwater behavior of the Yucatan karst system, and to introduce a transport model to estimate the behavior of a pollution plume. Model outcomes suggest that pollutants have a short residence time, reaching the coast in the north after 3 years. Well fields are also affected by pollution at variable NO3 concentrations. Results can be further discretized to establish a base and to include these parameters as part of a new integrated groundwater vulnerability approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
Designing the National Network for Automatic Monitoring of Water Quality Parameters in Greece
Water 2019, 11(6), 1310; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061310 - 25 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk)
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Open AccessArticle
A Multi-Index Analysis Approach to Heavy Metal Pollution Assessment in River Sediments in the Ponce Enríquez Area, Ecuador
Water 2019, 11(3), 590; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030590 - 21 Mar 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
The area of Ponce Enríquez, Southern Ecuador, is one of the most important artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM) areas in the country, where informal mining operations can be found using amalgamation technique, even though it has been prohibited since 2010. Considering [...] Read more.
The area of Ponce Enríquez, Southern Ecuador, is one of the most important artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM) areas in the country, where informal mining operations can be found using amalgamation technique, even though it has been prohibited since 2010. Considering the potential impact of these mining operations, the present research focused on heavy metal pollutants in subsurface sediments at 214 sampling locations from several detailed sampling campaigns in the rivers Fermín, Fermín Norte, Guanache, Villa, and Siete. Four parameters were calculated to evaluate the geochemical composition of the river sediment and heavy metal concentrations: The enrichment factor (EF), the geo-accumulation index (Igeo), the contamination factor (Cf) and the pollution load index (PLI). The analyzed elements were Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, As, Cd, Sb, Sr, and Hg. Due to the lack of standards for pollution levels in sediments in Ecuador, Canadian guidelines were used as interim sediment quality guidelines (ISQG) in this research for comparison with the obtained results in subsurface sediments. The multi-index geochemical analysis indicated elevated heavy metal concentrations in all subsurface sediments in the studied river ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing Surface and Ground- Water Vulnerability and Pollution Risk)
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