Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Environmental effects and karst water sources: impacts, vulnerability and adaptation of land use

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.12.01  Humanities  Geography  Physical geography 

Code Science Field
P005  Natural sciences and mathematics  Geology, physical geography 

Code Science Field
5.07  Social Sciences  Social and economic geography 
karst, environmental problems, quantity and quality of water, spatial planning, adaptation to environmental change
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (22)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  12031  PhD Samar Al Sayegh Petkovšek  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2017 - 2018  339 
2.  37554  PhD Matej Blatnik  Geography  Junior researcher  2017 - 2018  196 
3.  12033  MSc Mojca Bole  Chemistry  Researcher  2017 - 2018  1,774 
4.  14816  PhD Valentina Brečko Grubar  Geography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  268 
5.  17549  Franjo Drole    Technical associate  2017 - 2020  105 
6.  16180  PhD Franci Gabrovšek  Mechanics  Researcher  2017 - 2020  450 
7.  19901  Andrej Glinšek  Chemistry  Researcher  2017 - 2018  183 
8.  20692  PhD Barbara Goličnik Marušić  Urbanism  Researcher  2017 - 2020  235 
9.  09803  MSc Andrej Gulič  Urbanism  Researcher  2017 - 2020  491 
10.  23488  PhD Boštjan Kerbler  Urbanism  Researcher  2017 - 2020  358 
11.  38269  PhD Blaž Kogovšek  Geography  Junior researcher  2017 - 2020  114 
12.  24614  PhD Gregor Kovačič  Geography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  326 
13.  36395  PhD Peter Kozel  Biology  Researcher  2017  68 
14.  38914  PhD Cyril Mayaud  Geology  Researcher  2017 - 2020  137 
15.  15858  PhD Zdenka Mazej Grudnik  Biology  Researcher  2019 - 2020  214 
16.  19899  MSc Klara Orešnik  Chemistry  Researcher  2017 - 2018  156 
17.  12605  PhD Metka Petrič  Geology  Researcher  2017 - 2020  524 
18.  15687  PhD Tanja Pipan  Natural sciences and mathematics  Researcher  2017 - 2020  384 
19.  11296  Sergeja Praper Gulič  Urbanism  Technical associate  2017 - 2020  221 
20.  19904  Simona Šimon  Chemistry  Researcher  2019 - 2020  36 
21.  22574  PhD Nataša Viršek Ravbar  Geography  Head  2017 - 2020  473 
22.  17552  Mateja Zadel    Technical associate  2017 - 2020 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0505  Urban planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5051703000  2,904 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  61,885 
3.  1007  Eurofins ERICo Slovenija Inštitut za ekološke raziskave d.o.o. (Slovene)  Velenje  5583055000  2,448 
4.  1822  University of Primorska, Faculty of Humanities  Koper  1810014001  9,509 
Changes to environmental conditions as a result of natural factors and direct or indirect human activity can significantly affect the water cycle. The result is a gradual change in either local or global hydrological conditions and the more frequent and larger-scale occurrence of natural disasters and other phenomena affecting various elements of the environment and environmental processes, all sectors of the economy, and lives. The long-term effects of the diminution of water stocks and the short-term effects of increasingly frequent extreme events (floods and droughts) in the future are also predicted by long-term meteorological and hydrological data trends and simulations. Owing to the particular characteristics of groundwater flow and the dynamic of hydrological processes, aquifers with karst porosity are especially vulnerable to the effects of various environmental changes. At the same time, their significance as a drinking water source is growing and they already cover around a quarter of the world's drinking water needs, and one third of Europe's. In Slovenia, they supply about half the population. Environmental changes represent both a threat and a challenge, particularly for the proper spatial development of karst-rich areas. It is therefore prudent to check the responsiveness and relevance of the spatial planning system in relation to expected impacts and the space and individual sectors vulnerability. In terms of water resources, management is not primarily a simultaneous consideration of the impact of human existence and spatial development and the dynamics of water and related processes. As a complementary or alternative solution, nature-based and ecosystem-based approaches are becoming increasingly established. The purpose of the project is to examine the impact of environmental changes on karst aquifers, to evaluate their vulnerability and prepare proposals for an appropriate adjustment of land use to these changes and the management of karst water sources. The key objective of the project is to develop an innovative concept of spatial planning adapted to environmental changes and management of karst water sources on the basis of: i) determination of the influence of environmental changes on karst hydrology and ecosystem health; ii) evaluation of the vulnerability of karst aquifers to environmental changes; iii) evaluation of the vulnerability of various sectors during extreme hydrological conditions (droughts, floods); iv) the introduction of paradigms of nature-based solutions and the ecosystem approach into spatial planning (NBS, EsA). The concept will be tested in selected study areas and expert recommendations for spatial development adapted to environmental changes will be developed. The work will be based on the use of highly interdisciplinary methods: statistical trend analysis and correlation, continuous and targeted springs monitoring, chemical and biological laboratory analysis, tracer tests, and GIS analysis tools. The study will greatly enhance understanding of the interaction between various elements of the environment and complex feedback mechanisms. The results will represent a new contribution in the field of hydrology and spatial planning and a globally unique approach to addressing current issues. The results will help increase Slovenia's competitiveness and innovativeness in the development of science on karstological, hydrological and urban planning research methods. Through the realisation of the project, educational and research institutions will benefit from a rich database and a wealth of knowledge and experience. The latter will also be transferred to that part of the business enterprise sector dedicated to environmental solutions. The results will be useful to state and local authorities and administrators in developing measures and guidelines for adaptation to environmental change, which will be useful as a model for karst-rich countries.
Significance for science
Environmental changes include changes to the environment as the result of natural factors and changes caused by human activity. Despite the fact that the consequences of environmental changes are more or less evident in nature and the space around us, science has not to date been particularly successful in helping policymakers and spatial planners control them or adapt to them. Identifying and understanding causes, consequences, dynamic interactions between individual elements in the environment and complex feedback mechanisms requires interdisciplinary scientific approaches. Basic research and the transfer of results into practice in order to address problems related to the consequences of environmental changes are inadequate, even in developed countries. There is even less targeted research linked to the question of the vulnerability of karst water sources to specific environmental pressures. In this project we will be the first in the world to develop and apply a new concept of adaptation to environmental changes which addresses the highlighted issues from several angles simultaneously: i) through the use of expertise and methods adapted to research in karst areas; ii) by taking into account the dynamic flows in the area of study, which at the same time take into account the dynamics of movement of water and accompanying processes, the impacts of human habitation and spatial regulation; iii) by drawing on solutions in the form of sustainable planning practices (EsA, NBS). We will establish, in an innovative way, how environmental changes affect karst hydrology, ecosystems and the space. In this way we will greatly enhance understanding of the interactions between individual elements in the environment and complex feedback mechanisms. The findings will be the basis for the focuses of future spatial planning. The results will be something new in the field of hydrology and spatial planning and an approach to the addressing of a current topic that is unique in the world. They will represent an achievement that will bring significant new developments in the sphere of practical challenges in studies of the consequences of environmental changes in karst areas. They will contribute to the introduction of new practices and the reaching of new research frontiers and, in this way, initiate the development of a new branch of science: urban karstology. The results will represent a scientific contribution to UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme (IHP), various international professional associations (International Association of Hydrogeologists, International Geographical Union, etc.) and will appear in various prestigious scientific journals. The interactive GIS database of measured data and synthetic analyses will be available for further research. We expect access to information of this kind to attract the attention of those interested in new business opportunities or further national or international participation in projects and, consequently, to facilitate new research and jobs.
Significance for the country
Above all, the availability of water and water quality are of key importance for life. These two issues are particularly important in the case of water supply from karst aquifers, which because of the highly dynamic nature of hydrological processes are extremely vulnerable to the effects of a range of environmental changes. Through realisation of the project our country will gain expert recommendations for spatial planning adapted to environmental changes and additional knowledge about the nature-based sustainable management of water sources. Not only that, but the project objectives follow the orientations of the regional development programmes of the Coastal/Karst and South Primorska regions for the period 2014–2020. The results are above all in the public interest, since they are important for a general rise in the quality of life. They will be directly useful to the public administration, in particular to planners of activities and various developments at the national and local levels (ministries, municipalities), and to the business enterprise sector (water supply, water consumption). The results will also have the indirect effect of raising the level of protection of water sources or natural heritage. For project partner ERICo Velenje, a research-oriented business which provides services in various environmental fields, identifies environmental problems and proposes solutions for them, the research resources and results will facilitate R&D and technological progress in the field of assessing the state of the environment. Thanks to the high level of knowledge and experience, the participating company will be able to be effective in the long term, since its long-term success depends on knowledge. It is therefore very important for ERIco to obtain the results of the research project and in this way expand the services it offers in the long term and create jobs.
Most important scientific results Final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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