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Book Chapter

Climatological trends and anticipated karst spring quantity and quality: case study of the Slovene Istria

By
Nataša Ravbar
Nataša Ravbar
1
Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Titov trg 2, SI-6230 Postojna, Slovenia
2
UNESCO Chair on Karst Education, University of Nova Gorica, Glavni trg 8, SI-5271 Vipava, Slovenia
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Gregor Kovačič
Gregor Kovačič
3
Faculty of Humanities, University of Primorska, Titov trg 5, SI-6000 Koper, Slovenia
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Metka Petrič
Metka Petrič
1
Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Titov trg 2, SI-6230 Postojna, Slovenia
2
UNESCO Chair on Karst Education, University of Nova Gorica, Glavni trg 8, SI-5271 Vipava, Slovenia
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Janja Kogovšek
Janja Kogovšek
1
Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Titov trg 2, SI-6230 Postojna, Slovenia
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Clarissa Brun
Clarissa Brun
4
National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food, Verdijeva 11, SI-6000 Koper, Slovenia
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Alenka Koželj
Alenka Koželj
4
National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food, Verdijeva 11, SI-6000 Koper, Slovenia
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

The behaviour of aquifers with karst porosity is dependent on hydrological conditions. This is due to the peculiar characteristics of the groundwater flow and dynamics of hydrological processes in karst. As a result, karst aquifers are especially vulnerable to the effects of environmental change. We assessed the long-term climatological and hydrological trends and the short-term effects of increasingly frequent extreme hydrological events (droughts) for the Mediterranean karst spring Rižana in SW Slovenia. The findings predict higher mean annual air temperatures of 0.34°C decade−1, lower annual precipitation of c. 60 mm decade−1 and higher annual actual evapotranspiration (especially during spring and summer) of 32–49 mm decade−1. As a consequence, we can expect a decrease in the mean annual discharge of the spring of c. 480 l s−1 decade−1 with prolonged dry summer periods. Detailed monitoring of the physical, chemical and microbiological parameters showed that the flood pulses caused by precipitation events after a long dry period cause a significant deterioration in water quality. In such situations, contaminants stored in the unsaturated zone are flushed out and counts of coliform bacteria can reach >1400 cfu (100 ml)−1, with total Al and Fe concentrations up to 206 and 474 μg l−1, respectively. These results suggest that there should be urgent adherence to water quality standards to protect karst water sources in view of the anticipated climatological stresses. Management strategies should promote monitoring and the rational use of karst water supplies.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Advances in Karst Research: Theory, Fieldwork and Applications
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS

M. Parise
M. Parise
University Aldo Moro, Italy
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F. Gabrovsek
F. Gabrovsek
Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Slovenia
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G. Kaufmann
G. Kaufmann
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
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N. Ravbar
N. Ravbar
Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Slovenia
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Geological Society of London
Volume
466
ISBN electronic:
9781786203786
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

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