Karstification depth and storativity as main factors of karst aquifer regimes: some examples from southern Alpine branches (SE Europe and Middle East)


Karstic aquifers are the main groundwater source in Southeastern Europe and the Middle East. Many large springs and sources which drain Alpine orogenic belt and its branches are tapped and utilized for drinking water supply. Due to the unstable regime of the karstic springs, the main challenge for most of the waterworks is to ensure water supply during recession periods which coincide with the dry season, usually summer and early autumn months. Besides the problem of water shortage, water pollution of this open and generally very permeable type of aquifer is another major constraint in local water management. However, in comparison with other type of aquifers, the highly developed karst and its significant storage capacity as found in the studied areas may attenuate significant rainfall/runoff variations and possible climate changes. Most commonly, intensive rain episodes do not result in extreme floods in the studied karst terrains, while stored groundwater provides sufficient base flows for dependent ecosystems during the recession or periods of drought. Several typical hydrographs and results of some models applied for forecasting climate change impact presented in this paper represent a good example of specific karst aquifer behaviours and importance of considerable storage capacity in deeper parts of the aquifer.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia provided to the project CCWaterS (Climate Changes and Impact on Water Supply) as well as the Ministry of Education and Science of Serbia for its support to the project 176022 (Potential and Basis for Sustainable Development of Groundwater).

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Correspondence to Zoran Stevanović.

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Stevanović, Z., Ristić-Vakanjac, V., Milanović, S. et al. Karstification depth and storativity as main factors of karst aquifer regimes: some examples from southern Alpine branches (SE Europe and Middle East). Environ Earth Sci 74, 227–240 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-015-4046-y

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  • Karst
  • Aquifer
  • Storativity
  • Climate variations