Monitoring and risk assessment for groundwater sources in rural communities of Romania (GROUNDWATERISK)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Department of Geography 
In the past 100 years, a decreasing rainfall trend has been recorded on Romanian territory, a trend that continues today. Therefore, realistic estimation of the groundwater resources is crucial, especially for the rural communities lacking the economic power to use alternative sources of drinking water. The groundwater sources used by rural communities in Romania generally originate directly from caves, wells or springs with no proper evaluation of the water quality. Groundwater is exposed to different pollutants, as bats' guano in caves, fertilizers in agricultural areas or livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, etc.) farms on the surface. On the other hand, the water extracted directly from inside the caves is affecting groundwater ecosystems, highly vulnerable to any human impact and neglected by European legislation so far. The project aims to monitor, during two consecutive years, groundwater sources with different degrees of above- and underground pollution, from different regions of Romania. To achieve the goals of the project, a multidisciplinary monitoring strategy that will include measurements of hydrological, physico-chemical and biological (microbiology and aquatic invertebrates’ assessment) parameters alongside the quantification of radon and stable isotopes, rainfall or possible inflows of water. The specific outcomes of this project are: i) to test, develop and validate a new, more rapid and efficient method for monitoring and risk assessment of groundwater sources – and not only – by using molecular techniques, and propose this method to the water agencies in Romania; ii) to propose for Romanian authorities to implement a harmonized coherent methodology to measure radon concentration in water, as a consequence of EURATOM Directive; and iii) to educate local communities that are using groundwater as source for drinking water and raise young people’s awareness on the benefits of ecosystem services provided by the groundwater.