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Climate change and its effect on groundwater quality

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Knowing water quality at larger scales and related ground and surface water interactions impacted by land use and climate is essential to our future protection and restoration investments. Population growth has driven humankind into the Anthropocene where continuous water quality degradation is a global phenomenon as shown by extensive recalcitrant chemical contamination, increased eutrophication, hazardous algal blooms, and faecal contamination connected with microbial hazards antibiotic resistance. In this framework, climate change and related extreme events indeed exacerbate the negative trend in water quality. Notwithstanding the increasing concern in climate change and water security, research linking climate change and groundwater quality remain early. Additional research is required to improve our knowledge of climate and groundwater interactions and integrated groundwater management. Long-term monitoring of groundwater, surface water, vegetation, and land-use patterns must be supported and fortified to quantify baseline properties. Concerning the ways climate change affects water quality, limited literature data are available. This study investigates the link between climate change and groundwater quality aquifers by examining case studies of regional carbonate aquifers located in Central Italy. This study also highlights the need for strategic groundwater management policy and planning to decrease groundwater quality due to aquifer resource shortages and climate change factors. In this scenario, the role of the Society of Environmental Geochemistry is to work together within and across geochemical environments linked with the health of plants, animals, and humans to respond to multiple challenges and opportunities made by global warming.

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This research was partly funded by Fondi di Ateneo 2020 (“Integrate monitoring of groundwater and spring water in Central Apennines aimed at verifying relationships with seismicity”), Sapienza University of Rome. The authors are grateful to CIIP spa ( for providing the chemical analyses. Finally, the authors thank the Editor-in-Chief and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


The research received no specific funding.

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MB, MP: Conceptualization; MB, MDB, AB, TB, SF, FG, MP: Methodology; MB, MDB, FB, AB, TB, SF, FG, MP: Data curations and software; MB, MDB, TB, SF, FG, MP: Writing—review and editing.

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Correspondence to Maurizio Barbieri.

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Barbieri, M., Barberio, M.D., Banzato, F. et al. Climate change and its effect on groundwater quality. Environ Geochem Health 45, 1133–1144 (2023).

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