Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Evaluation of Učja valley karstic aquifer as a potential source of drinking water (NW Slovenia)

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.06.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Geology   

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

Code Science Field
1.05  Natural Sciences  Earth and related Environmental sciences 
Groundwater, drinking water supply, geological and structural mapping, hidrogeochemistry
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (1)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  29632  PhD Petra Žvab Rožič  Geology  Head  2017 - 2019  385 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  1555  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engeneering  Ljubljana  1627074  19,936 
Groundwater represents an important supply of drinking water, and is very important for various industrial uses. Compared to surface water, groundwater is mostly good in quality that valued this natural resource as specific and therefore much more important. Due to world increasing of water consumption causing increase lack of water (major problem is drinking water supply), the protection of this resources and its sustainable management is crucial. Water resources or aquifers are often not limited to the territory of the country. They often spread across the borders, sometimes in several countries, and consequently also manage those resources associated with the agreements between these countries. Such aquifers are called cross-border aquifers, and often represent an important source of drinking water for people on both sides of the border. From the perspective of the protection of aquifers it is particularly important to ensure a sufficient quantity of water and quality assurance, which is dependent on natural (lithology, climate) and anthropogenic factors. When evaluating a particular water resource is therefore important to know the natural conditions of the area (geological and structural conditions, climatic characteristics), and the important influence has also the human with his activities, which can be crucial in ensuring the quality and quantity of water resources. Many cross-border aquifers in Slovenia were already studied, but researches have largely focused on the aquifers already exploited for drinking water. In order to ensure sufficient quantities of quality drinking water also in the future, it is necessary to define in advance the potentially interesting aquifers. In this project the aquifer in the Učja valley will be investigated which is smaller karst-fissured aquifer in the Slovenian-Italian border and also extends across it. The project will undergo a comprehensive study of potential aquifer of Učja valley and thereby prepare the base for potential planning use of water as a source of drinking water and to share the knowledge with colleagues on the Italian side. Within the proposed project further investigations will be done: (1) the detail geological map (lithological and structural), (2) the analysis of climate parameters and changes in climate (precipitation and temperature), (3) geochemical and isotopic analysis of groundwater will be carried out in order to determine the extent and characteristics of the catchment area, (4) and the tracer experiment, which will give the characteristics of groundwater flow in the aquifer. Based on the results obtained and their processing (statistics, geochemical modelling) Učja aquifer will be defined, the conceptual model of the aquifer will be created and the estimated level of threat or vulnerability of the aquifer in the event of contamination will be prepared. The project will include cabinet work, field work and analysis in the laboratory. In the first part of the project the collection and analysis of existing data will be held and plans for future will be prepared. Fieldwork will be done under different conditions depending on the analysis needs. Geological mapping will take place in good weather, while discharge measurements, geochemical and isotopic sampling and the tracer experiment will be carefully planned according to weather conditions that we will cover the most optimal conditions for desired measurements. The obtained results will be interesting both scientifically as well as for the wider use. The project is considered as basic project because it will contribute additional knowledge on geological and hydrogeochemical characteristics of the aquifer that will be applicable also for the public use, especially for the planning of water resources usage to meet the needs of drinking water and use in the economy. Based on the results it will be possible to design the proper protection of water resources and sustainable use to ensure proper condition of th
Significance for science
Project results will contribute new knowledge with important scientific influence and development in the scientific field. It envelopes comprehensive approach in the research of the investigated area from the aspect of basic geology (lithological and structural characteristics) as well as determination and delineation of the aquifer and evaluation of a quality characteristics of the groundwater with a goal to determine aquifer threat and vulnerability. Fundamental goal is the connection and interpretation of results from the aspect of interaction between the water and rock, influence of the structure on the groundwater flow, possible impact of the climate changes (precipitation, temperature) on the aquifer and potential influence of land use on the aquifers geochemical condition. Therefore important scientific contribution will be a correlation of geological, geochemical and hydrogeological characteristics of the aquifer as well as implementation of natural (climate) and anthropogenic influential factors. On the basis of the results, it will be possible to establish the water resource and their potential connection between individual physical-geochemical parameters. Results of geochemical analysis will enable geochemical modelling, which is from scientific aspect an increasingly important tool used for the determination of water source and assessment of potential changes in waters characteristics. Analysis of geochemical changes in groundwater samples will represent important contribution to the science. On the basis of geochemical results, detailed determination of the groundwater catchment area will be additionally defined. Specific contribution will be retrieved from detailed analysis of natural as well as anthropogenic influence on the groundwater characteristics. The assessment of natural influence is based on the correlation of water characteristics with geochemical and mineralogical characteristics of the aquifer geological characteristics, and with the analysis of the climatic changes (temperature, precipitation). Anthropogenic influence is represented by human activities (farming, industry, etc.), which can drastically impact on quality of the water in aquifer. The latter is especially essential from the aspect of potential use for the drinking water. In this manner, the scientific results will elucidate as a crucial basement for resolving potential problems and planning of future use of water resources.
Significance for the country
Results of the presented project will contribute important use for the economy and society. Firstly, it includes companies which deal with activities on the field of use of groundwater (utilities and water supply companies, local communities), where the main goal is to deliver undisturbed supply of the high-quality drinking water. The expected results will provide crucial knowledge and base for proper management with potential groundwater resources, from the aspect of quantitative status as well as from the water quality conservation. Based on geochemical and isotopic analysis the groundwater catchment area will be assessed, which represents the important base for planning of water protection zones and appropriate protection of the water resource itself. From the aspect of the groundwater quality conservation the investigation area is very vulnerable (karstic-fracture aquifer) and the proper planning and protection of the potential water resource is therefore especially important. Geological characteristics are important also for planning of the emplacement and restoration of the water supply systems, because extraction of particular minerals can negatively influence on the water supply network. These problems can be predicted with use of geochemical modelling, which is one of the important tools within the methods of the proposed project. Based on geochemical analysis of the water and rocks the natural background of the groundwater will be determined which will enable delineation of natural geochemical water characteristics from anthropogenic pollution. This is important for vulnerable and endangered areas which need to be taken into account in spatial planning and resolving problems of the pollution predominantly from the aspect of conservation of high-quality groundwater as potential water resource for drinking water.
Most important scientific results Final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Final report
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