Management and Research Strategies of Karst Aquifers in Greece: Literature Overview and Exemplification Based on Hydrodynamic Modelling and Vulnerability Assessment of a Strategic Karst Aquifer

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Science of the Total Environment


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Karst aquifers are valuable water resources in terms of quantity and quality, hence, their protection and rational management is of utmost importance to sustain water supply. An overview of research articles regarding Karst aquifers in Greece was obtained revealing that progressively the initial simple statistical analysis was replaced from advanced tools but rarely coupled. Additionally, a combined approach including the concept of groundwater vulnerability and pollution risk in conjunction with statistical and hydrodynamic analysis was performed in the complex karst aquifer of Damasi-Titanos in Thessaly Central Greece.

The karst aquifer discharges via three springs and it is in dynamic interaction with one of the two rivers that cross the system. The water demands of the area are mainly met with groundwater from the karst aquifer rendering its protection fundamental priority for the sustainability of the area. The hydrodynamic analysis of the karst system was performed by pairing statistical techniques and KarstMod. The analysis revealed a high correlation between the springs that highlights the karstification maturity of the aquifer. Additionally, spring discharge is mainly controlled by the percolation of River Titarisios rather than precipitation. Following the hydrodynamic analysis, the PaPRIKa method was applied and validated using sensitivity analysis in order to assess the intrinsic vulnerability. The vulnerability and hazard maps were combined to produce the pollution risk map of the karst aquifer. The majority of the karst aquifer is characterized by high to very high vulnerability as well as pollution risk.

The case study and the obtained overview revealed that a holistic approach can provide mutually supported results increasing their reliability. In this base, a four-step road map including hydrogeological observation, statistical analysis, modelling and vulnerability assessment is suggested in order to obtain the sustainable exploration and integrated management of karst aquifers in Greece.


Groundwater depletion, Allogenic recharge, Damasi-Titanos, KarstMod, PaPRIKa, Road map

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