Land use change scenarios and associated groundwater impacts in a protected peri-urban area
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Land use changes in peri-urban areas are usually associated with significant impacts on groundwater resources due to alteration of the recharge regime as well as through the establishment of pollution sources. Quantifying the aforementioned impacts and assessing the vulnerability of the groundwater resources is an important step for the better management and protection of the aquifers. In the present study, a physically based, distributed hydrologic model has been used to identify the impacts from specific land use change scenarios in the protected area of Loutraki catchment. A vulnerability assessment method has been also implemented to provide a decision support tool to the land planning authorities and also hydrologic mitigation measures for the sustainable development of the area have been proposed. The hydrologic impacts of the land use scenarios include a 5% reduction in the annual recharge of the study aquifer for scenario 1 (doubling of the current urban areas) and 7% decrease for scenario 2 (tripling of the current urban areas). Nevertheless, these impacts can be minimised if small-scale artificial recharge infrastructure is developed and the land planning measures suggested through the vulnerability and recharge maps will be followed.
KeywordsVulnerability Groundwater Protected aquifer Land use change Recharge Water pollution
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