Environmental Management

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 1175–1190 | Cite as

Analyzing Hydrological Sustainability Through Water Balance

  • Anna MencióEmail author
  • Albert Folch
  • Josep Mas-Pla


The objective of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) is to assist in the development of management plans that will lead to the sustainable use of water resources in all EU member states. However, defining the degree of sustainability aimed at is not a straightforward task. It requires detailed knowledge of the hydrogeological characteristics of the basin in question, its environmental needs, the amount of human water demand, and the opportunity to construct a proper water balance that describes the behavior of the hydrological system and estimates available water resources. An analysis of the water balance in the Selva basin (Girona, NE Spain) points to the importance of regional groundwater fluxes in satisfying current exploitation rates, and shows that regional scale approaches are often necessary to evaluate water availability. In addition, we discuss the pressures on water resources, and analyze potential actions, based on the water balance results, directed towards achieving sustainable water management in the basin.


Water balance Water management Sustainability Selva basin 



This study started as part of the research project CICYT CGL-2005-08019-C04-02 and continued under project CGL-2008-06373-C03-03/BTE, both of them funded by the Spanish Government. We would like to thank the Catalan Water Agency (ACA), the Catalan Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Action (DAR), and local water supply companies for their help in providing information and data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departament de Ciències Ambientals, Centre de Geologia Aplicada i Ambiental (GAiA) and Àrea de GeodinàmicaUniversitat de GironaGironaSpain
  2. 2.Unitat de Geodinàmica Externa i HidrogeologiaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain

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