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Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) in Italy

Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) in Italy: a Workshop held in Piacenza (October the 3rd 2014) to present the future of MAR techniques application in Italy

On October the 3rd 2014, a one-day Workshop, organized by Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa) within the framework of the EIP AG 128 -MAR Solutions - Managed Aquifer Recharge Strategies and Actions and the EU FPVII MARSOL presented on-going Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) experiences in Italy (Piacenza, @ GEOFLUID fair). The event aimed at showcasing present experiences on MAR in Italy while at the same time starting a network among all of them. During the morning session (chaired by Marco Petitta - IAH Chapter president) a general presentation of the FPVII MARSOL project and the EIP AG128 was given. Rudy Rossetto (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna) provided a glance on on-going and past MAR experiences in Italy and highlighted barriers and opportunities to promote MAR techniques application. Matteo Bonfanti (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna) introduced the legal aspects at EU scale, while J.P. Lobo Ferreira (coordinator of the EIP AG128) well introduced the MAR topic at a global scale to the audience (of about 300 persons during the whole day). Giancarlo Gusmaroli, Nasser Abu Zeid and Vincenzo Marsala presented the activities on aquifer recharge foreseen in the EU LIFE projects AQUOR, WARBO and TRUST respectively. Paolo Severi (Geological Survey of Regione Emilia Romagna) described the experimental MAR plant set up at the Marecchia River fan (Rimini). The morning session was closed by a discussion including the words from authorities and chartered professionals representatives. A poster session also contributed to the dissemination of a further bunch of Italian and EU experiences. The afternoon session aimed at giving a technical insight of the MAR topic dealt during the morning. Various techniques applications were presented: riverbank filtration, dry wells, forested infiltration areas, recharging trenches. These are applied for several purposes such as: aquifer replenishment, water supply, salinisation displacement and so on. Conclusions drawn from the workshop highlight that MAR in Italy is still a technique at an experimental or demonstration level (except for riverbank filtration: widely used – but still at level of unintended/unmanaged aquifer recharge). Yet, aquifer artificial recharge was described in Mario Canavari’s Manuale di Geologia Tecnica in 1927. Aquifer recharge plants (unmanaged) were set in place during the ‘70/’80/’90 in Tuscany, Veneto, Lombardy e Friuli Venezia Giulia. The last MAR plant was set up at the Marecchia Fan (Emilia Romagna) in February 2014. During the discussion, it was recognized that there is a specific need to have a scientifically-based regulatory approach to apply MAR on routinely basis (as foreseen by the River Management Plans in the WFD) and to disseminate MAR scientific findings and technical know-how. Only since September 2013 is recharge of aquifers allowed in Italy. However, still today a regulatory framework is missing. The Italian Ministry of Environment is working on it: hopefully, this regulatory scheme will benefit from on-going experiences.Dissemination of MAR scientific findings and technical know-how among governing authorities and the general public is crucial the application of MAR techniques. Fundings for setting in place new MAR plants may be available at national level. However, lack of knowledge at intermediate governing bodies level is preventing these techniques to be applied (i.e. building of small dams is favored although less convenient in respect of MAR plants). Rural areas may benefit from MAR techniques application – opportunities are linked to the provision of ecosystem services. A huge potential for creation of work-places was evidenced. The contributions presented during the workshop are published in Acque Sotterranee - Italian Journal of Groundwater. at: or available at: