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Hydrogeological and isotope mapping of the karstic River Savica in NW Slovenia

  • Mihael Brenčič
  • Polona Vreča
Original Article

Abstract

Hydrogeological mapping comprises a group of methods with which the area of interest is carefully inspected for the appearance of groundwater related phenomena. During the mapping of groundwater and surface water, samples can be collected for further analysis. On the karstic River Savica (NW Slovenia) the methodology of detailed hydrogeological mapping was tested by which, every 100 m along the river course, samples of water were collected for stable isotopic composition of oxygen (δ 18O). River Savica results from two main tributaries (Velika Savica and Mala Savica) recharging on a high mountain karstified plateau with an average discharge of 5.08 m3/s. Application of hydrogeological mapping methodology to the riverbed resulted in a conceptual model of the groundwater components entering the river. Based on the end member mixing models and with the application of isotope and electrical conductivity data as conservative tracers, it was possible to estimate the contribution of different karstic groundwater components to the river outflow. For the first time it was estimated that, under low and average water conditions, Mala Savica contributes from 12 to 17 % and Velika Savica from 78 to 82 % of the total River Savica discharge, there being only minor inflow from the other sources.

Keywords

Hydrogeological mapping Surface water groundwater interaction Stable isotopes Karst River Savica 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors warmly acknowledge the technicians at the Department of Hydrogeology, Geological Survey of Slovenia, Zmago Bole and Jože Herič, who carried out all three sampling campaigns under very difficult field conditions and Stojan Žigon from Department of Environmental Sciences, Jožef Stefan Institute for help with isotope analyses. The mapping was performed in the frame of the European project funded by the Alpine Space programme under the European Territorial Cooperation 2007–2013 “Alp-Water-Scarce—Water Management Strategies against Water Scarcity in the Alps”. Isotope analyses and their interpretation were performed under the IAEA CRP "Use of Environmental Isotopes in Assessing Water Resources in Snow, Glacier, and Permafrost Dominated Areas under Changing Climatic Conditions". The paper was prepared in the context of the research programmes P1–020 and P1–0143 supported financially by the Agency for Research of Republic of Slovenia.

Supplementary material

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Results of hydrogeological mapping in August 2010.
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Results of hydrogeological mapping in February 2011.
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Results of hydrogeological mapping in August 2011.
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Results of hydrogeological mapping in August 2010.
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Results of hydrogeological mapping in February 2011.
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Results of hydrogeological mapping in August 2011.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geology, NTFUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Geological Survey of SloveniaLjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesJožef Stefan InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia

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