The objective of the project was the assessment of anthropogenic pollution after the war events and its consequences to the karst ecosystem in a border zone between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina promoting the scientific-technical co-operation between these countries and some Member Countries of the European Union. The activities were focused on the hydrogeologically connected areas of the Plitvice Lakes National Park and neighboring karstic fields from the Croatian side, and the Una River catchment area in the Bihać region, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project was oriented towards the end users: local authorities, enterprises, national parks and non-governmental organizations in the area. Therefore three specific case studies were chosen: on a tourist domain, a municipality domain and an industry domain.
Data collected by partners within the project, as well as physico-chemical and isotopic analyses of samples collected during three years of the project, served as a background for elaborating a hydrogeological model and further modeling of intrinsic vulnerability, hazard and risk assessment of surface and groundwater resources in the area of transboundary aquifers. All these data, as well as the results of previous studies, were incorporated into the Geographic Information System (GIS) and visualized and modeled through the ArcMap-ArcView software.
The case study performed on the tourist domain was directed to investigation of human influence to the area of Plitvice Lakes National Park. These investigations showed that the concentration of trace elements, as well as of organic matter, was mainly of natural origin. This conclusion can calm the park administration and local authorities, because they have been concerned about the influence of tourist activities and dense traffic connecting interior of Croatia with its littoral. The only indicator of pollution was shown by detergent-derived chemicals caused by the defects in the sewerage system from the hotels situated above Lake Kozjak in the last decades. Since recently the whole system was repaired, new measurements of the uppermost sediment layer should be done in the near future in order to see if these measures helped in reducing of detergent-derived chemicals.
The case studies performed on the municipality and industry domains were focused to the Una River catchment area in the Bihać region, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to the springs used for water supply of this region. Since this region was practically isolated from the outer world during the war 1992, many illegal waste deposits were formed, which — together with the possible pollutants coming from the abandoned military and industrial facilities could have hazardous impact on the water quality. The measurements showed that the major pollutants in the river water are ammonia, nitrites and phosphates. However, the main springs in the Bihać area satisfy current regulations for public drinking waters. Groundwater flow dynamics, residence times, recharge rates and mixing between hydraulically connected aquifers from both countries, essential for the protection of water, were also studied by using natural and anthropogenic trace substances (isotopes).
On the basis of investigations performed during the period 2003-2005 we suggested several rehabilitation measures, primarily to the Bihać area, which suffered much during the war activities, like the inauguration of the continual monitoring of surface and groundwater, protection projects for water-supplying springs, making the land-register of pollutants and improvement of purification of waste waters from industrial facilities. Further dyeing experiments in order to determinate the transboundary hydrodynamic characteristics and protection zones should be made. In the Plitvice Lakes National Park the control of the sewerage system should be continued. The record of possible anthropogenic influence to the lakes could be made by future monitoring of pollutants in the uppermost layers of lake sediment.
Papers and publications
1. Babinka, S., Suckow, A.: War Induced Anthropogenic Pollution in Croatian and Bosnian Karst Waters and Lake Sediments; Conference of German Association for Stable Isotope Research, Köln (Germany), Oct.06 08, 2003, Abstract, p.24.
2. Babinka, S., Suckow,A., Horvatinčić, N.: Anthropogenic Pollution in Croatian and Bosnian Karst Waters and Lake Sediments; - UNESCO - International Workshop on the Application of Isotope Techniques in Hydrological and Environmental Studies, Paris (France), Sept.6 10, 2004, Extended abstract, p.23-24.
3. Kapelj, J., Kapelj, S., Singer, D.: Spatial distribution of dolinas and its significance for groundwater protection in karst terrain; Proceedings of XXXIII IAH Congress & 7th Congress ALHSUD “Groundwater flow understanding from local to regional scales”, Zacatecas (México), Oct.11 15, 2004, Proceedings, accepted for publication.
4. Horvatinčić, N., Obelić, B., Barešić, J., Čalić, R., Babinka, S., Suckow, A., Krajcar Bronić, I.: A geochemical and isotope hydrological study of eutrophication processes in the Plitvice Lakes, Croatia; International Conference on Isotopes in Environmental Studies - Aquatic Forum, Monte-Carlo (Monaco), Oct.25 29,2004, Book of abstracts, p.133-134.
5. Horvatinčić, N., Barešić, J., Čalić, R., Obelić, B., Krajcar Bronić, I.: Utjecaj fizikalno-kemijskih svojstava voda na proces eutrofikacije (Study of eutrophication process by physico-chemical measurements of water); XIX Croatian Meeting of Chemists and Chemical Engineers, Opatija (Croatia), April 24-27, 2005, Book of abstracts, p.420.
6. Horvatinčić, N., Briansó, J.L., Obelić, B., Barešić, J., Krajcar Bronić, I.: Study of eutrophication process in the Plitvice Lakes by water and sediment composition; 10th International Symposium on the Interaction between Sediments and Water, Bled (Slovenia), Aug.28 Sept.02, 2005, RMZ - Materials and Geoenvironment, 52/1 (2005), p.241.
7. Babinka, S., Suckow, A., Horvatinčić, N., Kapelj, J., Kapelj, S.: Multi-tracer approach in Croatian and Bosnian Karst waters and lake sediments; 6th International Symposium on Applied Isotope Geochemistry AIG-6, Prague (Czech Republic), Sept.11 16, 2005, Book of abstracts, p.30-32.
8. Obelić, B., Horvatinčić, N., Barešić, J., Briansó, J.L., Babinka, S., Suckow, A.: Anthropogenic pollution in karst lake sediments (Croatia); International Travertine Symposium and Technologies Exhibition, Pamukkale Univ., Denizli (Turkey), Sept.21 24, 2005, Proceedings, p.188-196.
9. Babinka, S., Suckow, A., Horvatinčić, N., Kapelj, J., Kapelj, S.: Multi-tracer approach in the Karst waters and lake sediments in the Plitvice Lakes and Una River; Croatian Geological Congress, Opatija (Croatia), Sept.29 Oct.02, 2005, Book of extended abstracts, p.169-170.
10. Ahel, M., Terzić, S.: Molecular Markers of Anthropogenic Influence on Plitvice Lakes, Croatia, Abstract Volume of the 11th World Lake Conference, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct.31 – Nov.4, 2005, Book of abstracts, 2005, p.47.
11. Babinka, S., Herrmann, J.: Study of Anthropogenic Pollution after the War and Establishing of Measures for Protection of Plitvice National Park and Bihać Region at the Border Area of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Flyer, Institut für Geowissenschaftliche Gemeinschaftsaufgaben, Hannover, September 2005.
12. Babinka, S., Suckow, A., Horvatinčić, N., Kapelj, J., Kapelj, S.: Isotope-hydrological and geochronological multi-tracer study in Croatian and Bosnian karst waters and lake sediments, Poster, Institut für Geowissenschaftliche Gemeinschaftsaufgaben, Hannover, September 2005.
13. Kapelj, J., Kapelj, S.: Short guidebook on hydrogeological relations in the Plitvice National Park and surrounding area; EUGEN 2005 Croatia — 10th Annual European Geology Students Network, Organisation EUGEN Deutchland e.V.- Croatian Geological Society, Excursion Guide Book, 31-39, Zagreb, 2005.