Recharge and sustainability of a coastal aquifer in northern Albania

X. Kumanova, S. Marku, Sören Fröjdö, G. Jacks

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The River Mati in Albania has formed a coastal plain with Holocene and Pleistocene sediments. The outer portion of the plain is clay, with three underlying aquifers that are connected to an alluvial fan at the entry of the river into the plain. The aquifers supply water for 240,000 people. Close to the sea the aquifers are brackish. The brackish water is often artesian and found to be thousands of years old. Furthermore, the salinity, supported by δ18O results, does not seem to be due to mixing with old seawater but due to diffusion from intercalated clay layers. Heavy metals from mines in the upstream section of River Mati are not an immediate threat, as the pH buffering of the river water is good. Moreover, the heavy metals are predominantly found in suspended and colloidal phases. Two sulphur isotope signatures, one mirroring seawater sulphate in the brackish groundwater (δ34S >21 ‰) and one showing the influence of sulphide in the river and the fresh groundwater (δ34S <10 ‰), indicate that the groundwater in the largest well field is recharged from the river. The most serious threat is gravel extraction in the alluvial fan, decreasing the hydraulic head necessary for recharge and causing clogging of sediments. The River Mati in Albania has formed a coastal plain with Holocene and Pleistocene sediments. The outer portion of the plain is clay, with three underlying aquifers that are connected to an alluvial fan at the entry of the river into the plain. The aquifers supply water for 240,000 people. Close to the sea the aquifers are brackish. The brackish water is often artesian and found to be thousands of years old. Furthermore, the salinity, supported by δ18O results, does not seem to be due to mixing with old seawater but due to diffusion from intercalated clay layers. Heavy metals from mines in the upstream section of River Mati are not an immediate threat, as the pH buffering of the river water is good. Moreover, the heavy metals are predominantly found in suspended and colloidal phases. Two sulphur isotope signatures, one mirroring seawater sulphate in the brackish groundwater (δ34S >21 ‰) and one showing the influence of sulphide in the river and the fresh groundwater (δ34S <10 ‰), indicate that the groundwater in the largest well field is recharged from the river. The most serious threat is gravel extraction in the alluvial fan, decreasing the hydraulic head necessary for recharge and causing clogging of sediments.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)883–892
    JournalHydrogeology Journal
    Volume22
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeB1 Article in a scientific magazine

    Keywords

    • Coastal aquifers
    • Groundwater recharge
    • Isotopes
    • Risk assessment

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