Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 113, Issue 1, pp 337-356

First online:

Review of Groundwater Pollution and Protection in Karst Areas

  • Fikret KačaroğluAffiliated withDepartment of Geological Eng., Cumhuriyet University

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Karst groundwater (the water in a karst aquifer) is a major water resource in many regions of some countries. Water requirements for most of the settlements in the karstic regions are supplied from karst aquifers. Karst environments are also used for the disposal of liquid and solid domestic agricultural, and industrial wastes, which result in karst groundwater pollution. Karst aquifers have specific hydraulic and hydrogeologic characteristics that render them highly vulnerable to pollution from human activities. Karst groundwater becomes polluted more easily and in shorter time periods than water in non-karstic aquifers. Thus, protection measures are required to preserve the quality and quantity of karst groundwater that specifically consider the vulnerability of the karst environment. In order to preserve karst groundwater, the geological, hydrological and hydrogeological characteristics of the karst area must be investigated and information on polluting activities and sources must be collected. Then, a comprehensive protection and control system must be developed consisting of the following six components: (1) develop and implement a groundwater monitoring system, (2) establish critical protection zones, (3) develop proper land use strategies, (4) determine the reasonable development capacity of the karst aquifer, (5) control and eliminate when necessary sources of pollution, (6) increase public awareness of the value and vulnerability of karst aquifers.

groundwater pollution groundwater protection karst karst groundwater