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Transboundary groundwater resource management: needs for monitoring the Cijevna River Basin (Montenegro–Albania)

Abstract

The transboundary Cijevna River Basin shared between Albania and Montenegro has a surface area of 650 km2. It is extremely important for water management, especially in the country of Montenegro which is downstream. Due to the high permeability of both the karst and intergranular aquifers that exist in the basin, the River Cijevna sinks along the length of its riverbed and in summer months it usually dries up completely at the confluence section. Hydrometry surveys undertaken during a drought period have identified the most permeable zones along the river, while the loss between sections varies between 0.137 and 0.765 m3/s/km’. An aquifer vulnerability assessment has been conducted through the implementation of both the EPIK and DRASTIC methods. Identifying both the most permeable and vulnerable zones in the basin assisted in the initial design of a joint Groundwater Monitoring Network for the two countries. It should consist of 21 observation points, automatic hydrology stations on the river and selected springs, and data loggers within installed piezometers. Once completed with remote data transmission and the implementation of a real-time data-sharing mechanism, it will be the first of its kind in “classical” Dinaric karst region, and one of very first to exist within karst aquifers anywhere.

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Acknowledgements

Authors would like to thank to Dr. Romeo Eftimi for assistance in the provision of data, and for organizing a field visit through the Albanian part of the Cijevna River Basin.

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Correspondence to Momčilo Blagojević.

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This article is a part of a Topical Collection in Environmental Earth Sciences on Sustainable Management of Karst Natural Resources, guest edited by Drs. Sasa Malinovic and Zoran Stevanovic.

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Blagojević, M., Stevanović, Z., Radulović, M. et al. Transboundary groundwater resource management: needs for monitoring the Cijevna River Basin (Montenegro–Albania). Environ Earth Sci 79, 74 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-020-8809-8

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Keywords

  • Transboundary water management
  • Groundwater vulnerability
  • Monitoring network
  • Karst aquifers
  • Albania and Montenegro