1 LIFE STRYMON, LIFE03 ENV/GR/ Ecosystem Based Water Resources Management to Minimize Environmental Impacts from Agriculture Using State of the Art Modelling Tools in Strymonas Basin. INTRODUCTION Lake Kerkini is a unique example in Greece of the interaction between wetlands, water and human activities, mainly agricultural. It was constructed during for the protection of agricultural areas against floods, caused by Strymonas river. In fact, it was an example of the creation of the following wetland functions: water storage, flood water attenuation. During the years, Lake Kerkini has progressed into a significant ecosystem with rich biodiversity; it is a national park, a wetland of international importance, a SCI and a SPA in the Natura 2000 network. THE PROBLEM Following the creation of the lake, intensive agriculture has been developed with irrigation and drainage networks. The Strymonas River discharge flows into the Lake Kerkini, where it is stored for irrigation. The gradual increase in the water level in the lake causes undesirable alterations to the hydroperiod, mainly suffocating its riparian forest, affecting habitats and species. Moreover, excessive use of water resources and agrochemicals are common externalities of agriculture. THE PROJECT METHODOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK A feasible solution for biodiversity conservation and the rehabilitation of the riparian forest could be produced only by lifting the causes of degradation, through combined management of water resources and agroecosystems at the river basin level. An extensive series of factors were investigated towards this direction such as: availability of water resources in the catchment and water needs of the lake ecosystem, including the riparian forest, applied management practices of irrigation water and their level of effectiveness, crop pattern, agricultural practices and the resulting pressure on water resources and natural ecosystems, stand and prospects of local communities. The above fed a hydrology-hydraulic modelling tool that was successfully established at the premises of the Land Reclamation Service of Serres that is responsible for the water resources management in the agricultural areas of Strymonas basin, in order to apply it for the sustainable water management. Its personnel were trained in its use. When data from 2006 were fed in the model, consumption of water for agriculture was much lower (by around 20%) than the volume then required. ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS The main environmental benefits resulting from the project are given below: a) Reduction in the amount of water used for irrigation. b) Reduction in the pressures to the habitats and species of Lake Kerkini by reducing the extreme peaks in the lake hydroperiod. c) Reduction in the non-point pollution in the basin. d) Increase in the discharge of Strymonas River during summer and respectively contribution to the reduction of sea intrusion at the river mouth. The methods and tools of this project could be easily transferred to other hydrological basins.
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