2.10. Italy

2.10.1. Characteristics of Groundwater

Due to the divided responsibilities for monitoring activities (see structures of monitoring) the information given is only a kind of an average estimation. More than 50 % of groundwater resources are in porous media with a territorial extension of 157,244.86 km² Groundwater aquifers in karst media are extended over 50,615.11 km² (i.e. 16.76 %) and finally there are smaller groundwater resources in volcanic rock media with an area of 13,488.78 (i.e. 4.46 %). In Italy the precipitation is about 2,960 mio m³/year the evapo-transpiration rate is about 1,290 mio m³/year.

2.10.2. Structure of the Administrative Organisations Concerning Groundwater Quality

The Italian Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment survey the monitoring activities undertaken. Monitoring networks of the 19 Italian regions and 2 of 103 autonomous provinces are run by Local Health Units and Local Water Supply Services. Consequently many hundred different organisations have their own monitoring system. A national network has not been installed. Data are collected in so many different ways that a comparison does not seem really useful. The legal basis for water monitoring can be found in the Decree of the President of the Republic No. 236, 24 May 1988 concerning quality requirements, monitoring and water for human consumption.

2.10.3. Monitoring of Groundwater Quality

Although there exists no national monitoring there are two main purposes for network activities concerning groundwater quality. One group of network systems are operating due to the Decree No. 236 of 24 May 1988. This law regulates monitoring procedures for groundwater quality monitoring in order to supply people with good drinking water. The Decree 236 implements the EC Directive 80/778 EEC (quality of water for human consumption) too. Organisations in the 103 provinces are responsible for sampling and chemical analysing. Sampling sites are situated in springs, wells, aqueducts, purifying plants and water supply networks. They were distributed with regard to the Decree No. 236 of 24 May 1988 and they collect data of water taken for human consumption and for food industry. There are obligations to use comparable standardised methods for analyses. The networks have been in operation since 1988. Data are stored in many different ways, from province to province other technical facilities are used.

The other group of networks for groundwater quality monitoring can be summarised as a „national informative environmental network". But at this stage this network has not been fully installed, it is still in a kind of testing status. The Ministry of Environment with the National Environment Information System co-ordinates the programme, manages the data collected and publishes them. The Ministry is supported by collaborating organisations in the 19 regions and the 2 autonomous provinces. These organisations are also responsible for local sampling and chemical analysing within their own networks. Sampling sites in drinking water wells and springs measure the parameters. The most important criteria for their distribution were to seize the whole extension of the aquifers, to take account of the population density, land cover and to get representative data of water quality and water balance. Regulations lead to comparable monitoring procedures and analytical methods. The organisations responsible for sampling are also obliged to follow quality control procedures. Data are mainly stored in ORACLE databases using UNIX or CICS. Software tool is SQL. Computerised data have been available since 1966 and are accessible on floppy disks, internet and paper sheets.

2.10.4. Structure of the Administrative Organisations Concerning Groundwater Quantity

The legal reasons and duties for monitoring are fixed in the Decree of the President of the Republic No. 319, 10 May 1976 concerning: protection of water from pollution, regulations for disposal, use, purification and monitoring. In the 19 Italian regions and 2 autonomous provinces the monitoring systems are run by Local Health Units or Provincial Bodies. Seven regions have recently established the Regional Environment Agencies to co-ordinate the activities of the Local Health Units.

2.10.5. Monitoring of Groundwater Quantity

The information given was just a attempt of an average estimation. Groundwater quantity monitoring is run by regional water supply bodies. They have to follow the Decree No. 319 of 10 May 1976. The main objective is to collect basic data like groundwater level.

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