, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 505-513
Date: 13 Jun 2007

Groundwater quality of porous aquifers in Greece: a synoptic review

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Greece is dependent on groundwater resources for its water supply. The main aquifers are within carbonate rocks (karstic aquifers) and coarse grained Neogene and Quaternary deposits (porous aquifers). The use of groundwater resources has become particularly intensive in coastal areas during the last decades with the intense urbanization, tourist development and irrigated land expansion. Sources of groundwater pollution are the seawater intrusion due to over-exploitation of coastal aquifers, the fertilizers from agricultural activities and the disposal of untreated wastewater in torrents or in old pumping wells. In the last decades the total abstractions from coastal aquifers exceed the natural recharge; so the aquifer systems are not used safely. Over-exploitation causes a negative water balance, triggering seawater intrusion. Seawater intrusion phenomena are recorded in coastal aquifer systems. Nitrate pollution is the second major source of groundwater degradation in many areas in Greece. The high levels of nitrate are probably the result of over-fertilization and the lack of sewage systems in some urban areas.