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The Evrotas River Basin: 10 Years of Ecological Monitoring

Chapter
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 59)

Abstract

This chapter is the outcome of a 10-year ecological monitoring survey in the Evrotas River Basin (ERB). Synthesising the main outcomes of past and ongoing research projects, it presents an overview of the basin’s geographical, geological, hydrological and ecological features, focused on the ecological status according to the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC, and assesses the degree of environmental degradation caused by the major pollution sources and other anthropogenic pressures. Chemical, hydromorphological and biological data from studies carried out in the ERB during the past decade are integrated to derive spatial and temporal trends in environmental degradation. Despite the numerous sources of organic and inorganic pollution, which include, inter alia, olive mill and fruit juice processing wastewaters and agricultural, industrial and urban runoffs, the overall ecological degradation of the ERB is assessed as moderate and is located mainly at the downstream half of the basin, where the anthropogenic activities become intensified. However, the major impact in the ERB during the last decades has been the over-exploitation of the surface and groundwater resources for irrigation, which has resulted in the artificial desiccation of large parts of the basin’s hydrological network. Despite the aforementioned issues, the aquatic benthic biota of the basin shows high resilience, but the fish fauna is severely affected by hydrological and morphological alteration. Biomonitoring, conservation and management responses to drought and pollution require approaches, which account for spatial and temporal variability. Within this perspective, a programme of measures is proposed, aiming at preserving and restoring the basin’s water resources and aquatic ecosystem.

Keywords

Biota Climate change Drought Ecological status Intermittent Mediterranean 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This chapter is the outcome of a 10-year ecological monitoring survey of the Evrotas River Basin. The results used in this chapter are derived from the European Union projects LIFE-Environment (Environmental Friendly Technologies for Rural Development) [LIFE05 ENV/GR/000245]; MIRAGE (Mediterranean Intermittent River ManAGEment), which received funding from the European Community’s 7th Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2011) under grant agreement No. 211732; and GLOBAQUA (managing the effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems under water scarcity), which has received funding from the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No. 603629.

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland WatersAnavyssosGreece

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