ACTION 3: RIVER BASIN FUNCTIONS AND VALUES ANALYSIS AND WATER QUALITY CRITERIA DETERMINATION
Water bodies perform a series of functions beneficial to society and the economy and to the environment. This Action aims initially to identify the key functions of the Kalo Horio river basin and associated water bodies, with emphasis on the Larnaca Saltlake.
The following functions will be examined:
- Support of biodiversity (concentration on key species and habitats)
- Agricultural economic activity
- Non-agricultural economic activity
- Hydrological functions including groundwater recharge
Subsequently the major water physical, chemical and biological parameters that are key to the maintenance of the identified functions will be determined. These parameters will be used as indicators of water body integrity and quality, for each of which criteria values will be defined. Criteria values will represent the worst case condition for each parameter, under which the water body can still safely maintain its beneficial functions.
In particular, the selection of water quality indicators and criteria will be based on the following:
- WFD and other regulatory requirements
- Water standards applicable to the water uses (bathing waters, potable water supply, etc)
- Recommendations and criteria specified through specialised studies such as EIAs, Biodiversity Management Plans
- Additional threshold values in order to ensure that stresses on key species are avoided. These will be based on a monitoring programme designed to define current status of the ecology and water quality and on the bibliography.
Among others the following will be determined:
- Minimum and maximum water flow rates
- Water depth time series at surface water bodies
- Maximum concentrations of key pollutants (Pathogens, TSS, BOD, Nutrients, Pesticides)
The assessment of anthropogenic impact to waters requires knowledge of the effect of catchments activities on quality elements (WFD)¸ such as macrophytes. Macrophytes, are an important component of aquatic ecosystems and changes in community composition, or in the abundance of individual species, provide valuable information on how and why an ecosystem might be changing. They are becoming increasingly valued as a means of indirectly monitoring water quality (e.g. Ali et al., 1999, Lehmann and Lachavanne 1999, Kelly and Whitton 1998, Tremp and Kohler 1995, Willby et al., 2000; Nilsson et al., 2002) and various tools using macrophytes as bioindicators have been proposed, in order to evaluate and express river's ecological condition. Indices that are widely used in Europe, are Mean Trophic Rank - MTR (Holmes et al., 1999; Dawson et al., 1999) and 'l'Indice Biologique Macrophytique en Rivie're', IBMR (Haury et al., 1996). It is thus proposed that they will be used in the project as bioindicators.
In the selection of key indicators, especially with regard to ecology driven indicators, the competent authorities will be consulted. In particular the project team will try and achieve a consensus both regarding the list of indicators and criteria values. Competent authorities include the Department of Environment, the Fisheries Department, the Forestry Department, the Game Fund and the Water Development Department.