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A moni-modelling approach to manage groundwater risk to pesticide leaching at regional scale

Di Guardo, Andrea, Finizio, Antonio
The Science of the total environment 2016 v.545-546 pp. 200-209
European Union, active ingredients, case studies, environmental fate, groundwater, leaching, models, monitoring, pesticides, risk, risk assessors, risk management, surface water, temporal variation, water pollution, Italy
Historically, the approach used to manage risk of chemical contamination of water bodies is based on the use of monitoring programmes, which provide a snapshot of the presence/absence of chemicals in water bodies. Monitoring is required in the current EU regulations, such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD), as a tool to record temporal variation in the chemical status of water bodies. More recently, a number of models have been developed and used to forecast chemical contamination of water bodies. These models combine information of chemical properties, their use, and environmental scenarios. Both approaches are useful for risk assessors in decision processes. However, in our opinion, both show flaws and strengths when taken alone. This paper proposes an integrated approach (moni-modelling approach) where monitoring data and modelling simulations work together in order to provide a common decision framework for the risk assessor. This approach would be very useful, particularly for the risk management of pesticides at a territorial level. It fulfils the requirement of the recent Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive. In fact, the moni-modelling approach could be used to identify sensible areas where implement mitigation measures or limitation of use of pesticides, but even to effectively re-design future monitoring networks or to better calibrate the pedo-climatic input data for the environmental fate models. A case study is presented, where the moni-modelling approach is applied in Lombardy region (North of Italy) to identify groundwater vulnerable areas to pesticides. The approach has been applied to six active substances with different leaching behaviour, in order to highlight the advantages in using the proposed methodology.