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Description The Water Framework Directive (WFD) does not address temporary rivers, and that has been a recognized gap in its implementation in Southern Europe. During summer drought periods, many Mediterranean rivers are no more than effluent dischargers that harm downstream wetland ecosystems, and not much is known about the water quality dynamics of temporary streams. The MIRAGE project (EU, 2009-2011) was designed to close this gap.
Mediterranean regions are economically strong on irrigated agriculture. This sector relies heavily on water resources of adequate quality. The project aims to provide key knowledge for a better assessment hydrological and ecological characterization of Mediterranean temporary streams. The project will deliver practical knowledge (guidelines) for river basin managament authorities in the Mediterranean on how to deal with temporary rivers in the WFD implementation.
Research objectives The project MIRAGE aims to provide specific key knowledge for a better assessment of ecological integrity (or ecological status in the words of the European Water Framework Directive) in Mediterranean temporary streams. As part of this, the project will contribute to the development of knowledge in describing groundwater surface water interaction and hydrological characterization of semi-arid river basins. Alterra will provide insight on stream flow behavior and ecological status of agricultural water use for basins where the over-exploitation of groundwater for irrigation has progressively impoverished the aquifer.
Case study activities and modeling (January - August 2011) Continuation of data collection for the Evrotas river basin in Greece on groundwater (installed wells) and hydrology.
Modeling using the SIMGRO model for the Evrotas basin, determining the hydrological characterisation (description of frequency, lateral and longitudinal pool expansion and contraction dynamics) and the impact of agricultural water use on stream flow dynamics.
Analyse climate change scenarios for the Evrotas basin and the impact of land and water management options, including the use of groundwater systems in agriculture to bridge future dry periods.
Formulation of guidelines (March - November 2011)
Based on the modeling activities and knowledge developed in several workpackages of the EU project Mirage, guidelines will be formulated for river basin managers on how to deal with temporary streams as support to the EU WFD implementation. This will be a step wise description in the form of a handbook that is generally applicable for Mediterranean basins
Results Project results include: Developed knowledge on describing groundwater surface water interaction and hydrological characterization of semi-arid river basins;
Knowledge on the impact of agriculture (irrigation) on stream flow dynamics
Guidelines on how to deal with temporray streams: how to characterise them, how to determine the ecological status, and which measures should be implemented to achieve the good ecological status.