The project

It is expected that  in the next decades Europe will suffer a dramatic reduction of availability  and easy access to water resources. Artificial recharge  is an appropriate and effective tool to protect both surface and groundwater. The need for artificial recharge is underlined in SFWSD documents, in the national and international literature and in national and European research and technological development projects funded by EU programmes. Artificial recharge techniques have already been applied to coastal salty aquifers to decrease salt intrusion, but  recharge is not regulated at EU level;  Italian water directives too limit its application to salty aquifers. Despite that pilot projects on AR are currently  defined and  waiting for a final regulation of the issue. To guarantee a correct application of recharge techniques, relevant decrees and directives should define: site and methodologies to  find  surface water resources;  chemical and physical characteristics of recharge water with respect to the chemical interactions  and  structure of the aquifer; recharge methods; environmental impact; set-up and implementation  of  monitoring network. If not regulated, the large-scale use of artificial recharge would entail risks for both the quality (i.e., pollution, accidental mixing of freshwater coming from different water bodies, etc.) and  quantity of freshwater (changes in porosity due to the precipitation of salts and/or to the deposition of clay particles, changes in the dynamic behaviour of the aquifer, etc.). Project will take advantages by  the results obtained during  the previous  CAMI LIFE and e Trust  LIFE Projects.  They  will represent the fundaments for setting up strategies for efficient actions aimed to  contrast  the present trend of decrease of level and drying up of wetlands which has been is affecting  wetlands and spring on both sides of Tagliamento river since the last two decades.

Tests will be implemented on sites with artificial recharge problems hosting  endangered ecosystems of  interest where urgent measures are needed to combat water scarcity involving  regional authorities, public and private stakeholders operating in the field of water management to guarantee the future application of the  method and the achievement of  objective. Experimental protocols to define the administrative procedure and  procedures  to manage recharge activities will be developed and will consider : Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Minimum Vital Flow (MVF). Protocols concerning direct and indirect investigations  will be finalized and applied in two main macro-areas: a) The Friuli plain, to identify  the short- and long-term effects of recharge of highly permeable aquifers to mitigate the lowering of piezometric levels and the degradation of the forested areas impacted by a gradual shift of the springs towards lower altitudes and to estimate the water savings that could be achieved through the reclamation and use of grey water in SARC test site. b) The southern plain in the Copparo area (Ferrara) to evaluate issues connected with recharge activities in salinized aquifer inland characterised by medium-low permeability and to estimate the effectiveness of phyto-purification systems and the improvement of biodiversity.