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01-10-2012 | Original Article | Issue 3/2012

Environmental Earth Sciences 3/2012

Coping with water scarcity: the case of the Calnistea catchment (Romania)

Journal:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Issue 3/2012
Authors:
Alina Cocos, Octavian Cocos, Ioan Sarbu

Abstract

The Calnistea catchment lies in the southern part of Romania in a region that has been confronted lately with serious water scarcity problems generated primarily by summer heat waves and long periods of drought. The high temperatures, excessive evapotranspiration and scant precipitation have a negative impact on water resources and especially on the river system, which is at the mercy of meteorological conditions, because all the streams in the area originate in the plain. Consequently, mean annual discharges are very low and more often than not, many rivers run dry. In order to avoid such an unwanted phenomenon people have built earth dams across the valleys thus creating chains of ponds, which are used to regulate the flow. Even so, however, most of the years the rivers look like mere threads of water oozing gently through their sediments. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that irrigation systems are missing, which explains the low agricultural productivity. The most important asset of the region is the groundwater, as it represents the only source of drinking water for the population. Groundwaters are stored in superposed aquifers, most of them confined, generally having good hydrogeological properties. Water quality complies with the standards for drinking water and that is why groundwaters are used as such for domestic consumption. The problem is that in the past years, population increase has put more pressure on this resource and consequently water table sank. The growing depletion of groundwaters has brought about thirst, famine, poverty and despair, sad realities that local authorities are striving to control. Given this necessity the present study aims at making several proposals of what could be done on a short and middle term in order to increase the water supplies of the region and thus alleviate the people’s suffering.

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