The Arges-Vedea case study area is is in south Romania, between the Carpathian mountains and the Danube river and covers three counties (Arges, Giurgiu and Teleorman). Because of its relief, land use pattern in Arges county is complex and includes arable, pastures and hayfields, orchards and vineyards. Arable land is dominant in Giurgiu and Teleorman counties.
High nitrate content in groundwater affects the area. About 75% of drinking water is taken from private wells located on household sites. Most of the households have animals (up to 3 Animal Units) and very rudimentary manure storage facilities so the main pollution sources for nitrates is animal waste. Most of the animals in small individual farms are inside the village area and therefore, the source of groundwater pollution is inside the built up area villages. In the rest of the municipalities there is a public drinking water supply (mainly from surface waters), the quality of which is within the limits specified by drinking water regulations. The problem here is that many households have no access to a public sewage system.
The national network developed by the Romanian Waters Administration was used for evaluating nitrate concentration in the groundwater in the case study. Field campaigns measuring nitrate concentration in public and individual wells in hill region of the Arges county were added to the national network. The data shows that the pollution of groundwater with nitrates is more a site-specific problem than a diffuse one (points with high nitrate concentration adjacent to points with low concentration, no correlation with animal concentration).
A World Bank project related to “Integrated Control of Fertilizer Use” is being implemented in Arges-Vedea catchment. Its main objectives are the development of measures to mitigate the nitrate flow to surface and groundwater by:
- the development and implementation of the Code for Good Agricultural Practices;
- building collective and individual manure storage facilities;
- making fertilization plans at farm level according to the local pedoclimatic conditions, crop need and on-going legislation;
- awareness-raising training for farmers and local communities to prevent water pollution by nitrates from agricultural sources.