Linking Hydrogeological and Ecological Tools for an Integrated River Catchment Assessment


Ecological (biological and hydrochemical assessment) and hydrogeological (vulnerability and pollution risk mapping) tools have been combined to assess the ecological quality and hydrogeological vulnerability of an agricultural river basin. In addition, the applicability of the recently developed vulnerability assessment approach (COP method) in the particular environmental conditions was tested by comparing its results with hydroecological assessment tools (i.e., pollution metrics). Five sampling sites were selected and sampled for benthic macroinvertebrates and physicochemical variables during summer and spring. Overall, sites ranged from moderate to poor ecological quality. The results illustrated that 26% of the study area was of moderate pollution risk, while 65% was classified as of low and very low risk zones. However, the higher elevation zones where calcareous rock formations are encountered presented moderate to high pollution risk that was accredited by the ecological quality assessment. Pollution metrics facilitated from hydrochemical analysis indicated a significant association with groundwater vulnerability, thus validating vulnerability and risk estimations. This study indicated that the particular groundwater pollution risk mapping methodology and the water quality assessment indices can be well combined to provide an integrated evaluation tool at a catchment scale.

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The data of this work were collected within the framework of the STAR project. STAR was funded by the European Commission, 5th Framework Program, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, Key Action 1: Sustainable Management and Water Quality. (EVK-CT-2001-00089) and by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology, Ministry of Development, Greece. The authors wish to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions towards the improvement of this manuscript.

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Karaouzas, I., Dimitriou, E., Skoulikidis, N. et al. Linking Hydrogeological and Ecological Tools for an Integrated River Catchment Assessment. Environ Model Assess 14, 677 (2009).

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  • Vulnerability
  • Groundwater
  • Hydrogeology
  • Risk assessment
  • Ecological quality
  • Pollution metrics