Determination of inundation areas within karst poljes and intermittent lakes for the purposes of ephemeral flood mapping


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Hydrogeology Journal

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The karst environment presents a special challenge when it comes to identifying groundwater/surface-water interactions. Existing definitions of areas of regular flooding in karst regions are too general and lack a measurable approach for the determination of flood-liable land. This paper proposes a means of specific definition and quantitative determination of intermittently flooded karst areas, which takes into account the extent, duration and frequency of flooding, and includes the identification of data sources and processing methods. The procedure, involving spatial layers, was developed using a pilot area and tested in three additional areas in Slovenia. The derived definition determines that flood-liable land within karst poljes and intermittent lakes comprise areas where stagnant water or stream overflow is present for at least 10 days/year over a period of 30 years, and these waters have direct contact with groundwater. The results show that the proposed procedure is applicable to areas with different geomorphological settings and to areas where the quantity and quality of available data vary. The study is an example of the practical application of knowledge on karst, as the findings can be used for short-term purposes (mapping flood areas, determination of habitats) and long-term purposes (study of impacts of environmental changes). Attention should be drawn to the lack of available data and the fact that the national networks of hydrological observatories are often too sparse for this purpose. This study raises awareness of these shortcomings and improves the planning or expansion of such a network in collaboration with experts.

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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)