Regione Siciliana - Dipartimento Interventi Infrastrutturali per l’Agricoltura, Italy
The project has reconstructed the hydro-geological structure of some aquifers and defined the quality and quantity of underground water resources falling within the Ragusa Malta cross-border area, allowing the identification of hydrological basins vulnerable to sea water intrusion and/or contamination caused by agricultural activity. In such areas, over the last decades, a worrying deterioration of water resources has occurred due to the use of fertilizers and chemicals that, soaking through the ground reach the aquifers and contaminate them. In addition to this, the over exploitation of ground water resources has caused the intrusion of sea water and consequent brackishness of fresh water-bearing strata, making the coastal zones even more vulnerable. A territorial investigation was carried out in Sicily and Malta to identify the coastal aquifers in most danger of sea-water intrusion and/or pollution from agricultural activity. In these basins the partnership began an experimental phase monitoring the groundwater. The monitoring network of groundwater in the Ragusa Province was integrated with another four bore holes sank. A protocol was underwritten by the Sicilian project partners and the Ragusa Province for the joint management of the groundwater monitoring network in the region and a GIS of water resources in the Ragusa Province was implemented. On the island of Malta the monitoring of groundwater was conducted with one bore-hole every 16 sq km. A simulation model was implemented for the aquifers identified within the areas of study in the Ragusa Province and in Malta. The work carried out also permitted the activation of agronomic practices aimed at saving water and safeguarding the water tables, interventions to prevent the processes of salt water contamination and pollution of the aquifers, and the evaluation of the application of small-scale desalination plants of brackish water for irrigation purposes by implementing a prototype desalination plant on Malta.