Risk of groundwater contamination widely underestimated because of fast flow into aquifers

Andreas Hartmann, Scott Jasechko, Tom Gleeson, Yoshihide Wada, Bartolome Andreo, Juan Antonio Barbera, Heike Brielmann, Lhoussaine Bouchaou, Jean Baptiste Charlier, W. George Darling, Maria Filippini, Jakob Garvelmann, Nico Goldscheider, Martin Kralik, Harald Kunstmann, Bernard Ladouche, Jens Lange, Giorgia Lucianetti, Jose Francisco Martin, Matias MudarraDamian Sanchez, Christine Stumpp, Eleni Zagana, Thorsten Wagener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations

Abstract

Groundwater pollution threatens human and ecosystem health in many regions around the globe. Fast flow to the groundwater through focused recharge is known to transmit short-lived pollutants into carbonate aquifers, endangering the quality of groundwaters where one quarter of the world's population lives. However, the large-scale impact of such focused recharge on groundwater quality remains poorly understood. Here, we apply a continentalscale model to quantify the risk of groundwater contamination by degradable pollutants through focused recharge in the carbonate rock regions of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. We show that focused recharge is the primary reason for widespread rapid transport of contaminants to the groundwater. Where it occurs, the concentration of pollutants in groundwater recharge that have not yet degraded increases from
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Volume118
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - May 18 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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