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Journal of Environmental Accounting and Management
António Mendes Lopes (editor), Jiazhong Zhang(editor)
António Mendes Lopes (editor)

University of Porto, Portugal


Jiazhong Zhang (editor)

School of Energy and Power Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710049, China

Fax: +86 29 82668723 Email:

River Water Quality and its Relation with Air Quality: A Long-Term Case Study in a Remote and Pristine NW Italian Headwater Catchment

Journal of Environmental Accounting and Management 5(1) (2017) 35--47 | DOI:10.5890/JEAM.2017.03.004

Marco Casazza$^{1}$, Franca Maraga$^{2}$, Gengyuan Liu$^{3}$,$^{4}$, Massimiliano Lega$^{1}$, Laura Turconi$^{2}$, Sergio Ulgiati$^{1}$,$^{3}$,$^{4}$

$^{1}$ Department of Science and Technology, University of Naples ‘Parthenope’, Naples, 81043, Italy

$^{2}$ National Research Council, Department of Earth and Environment, Research Institute for geo-hydrological protection (CNR-IRPI), Unit of Turin, Italy.

$^{3}$ State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

$^{4}$ Beijing Engineering Research Center for Watershed Environmental Restoration & Integrated Ecological Regulation, Beijing 100875, China

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This paper analyses the water quality characteristics of a remote and pristine basin, the Gallina small catchment, located in the Piemonte Region (NW Italy). In particular, the ion content of river water and precipitation are assessed for two distinct periods (October-December of years 1992 and 2011). These time frames are characterized by a change of air quality management rules for the study area which came into force after year 2000. Furthermore, late Autumn months, which are considered in this study, are characterized by a peak of recorded precipitations in the area under study. Moreover, this is a period of the year where atmospheric emission intensity and distribution are greater with respect to Spring and Summer. The chemical nature of the monitored water body was assessed through the use of Piper diagram. Research found evidence of erosional processes, which chemically altered the water compared to the quality of precipitation. The signature of air chemistry was also evident, through a shift to less sulphate, after the change of air quality regulations introduced in year 2000. The presence of marine ions, in case of major weather perturbations, typical of the late Autumn in the monitored area, was recorded. This fact was particularly evident for the month of November 2011, in association to a major flooding event occurred in the Piemonte Region. The presence of a minor ionic component, associated to rainfall waters, depending upon soil particle resuspension and transport was also detected. Finally, the prevailing origin of the measured ions was defined. The results show the importance of improved management actions, which should be taken in order to further reduce the trans-boundary atmospheric pollution, which constitutes a threat to water quality and a further element of indirect water pollution transfer across different areas.


This work is written in memory of Franca Maraga (1944 - 2014), former researcher of CNR-IRPI and member of the International Scientific Committee of “Experimental and Representative Basins” (ERB, IHPUNESCO). Franca Maraga was also the responsible for the monitoring of the Gallina small catchment. Sergio Ulgiati acknowledges the contract by the School of Environment, Beijing Normal University within the framework of the National Programme “One Thousand Foreign Experts Plan”. Gengyuan Liu is supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2016YFC0503005), the Fund for Innovative Research Group of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51421065), the Projects of Sino-America International Cooperation and Exchanges of NSFC (No. 51661125010); Sergio Ulgiati, Marco Casazza and Gengyuan Liu are also supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41471466, 71673029).


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