WATER QUALITY MONITORING SYSTEM IN CRETE

Aggeliki Martinou (Dr. Chemical Engineer, Region of Crete-Regional Development Planning Department), Anastasia Skandalaki (MSc Mining Engineer, Region of Crete-Water Resources Management Department), Giorgos Zaharioudakis (MSc Hydrogeologist, Region of Crete-Water Resources Management Department)


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Water resources have become, nowadays, an economic and environmental heritage, which we all ought to protect.
The scope of this study is the collection of data concerning the monitoring of the quality parameters of water in the island of Crete, in order to examine the odds of reconcilement of the Region of Crete to the implemented guidelines of the Community, in the field of water quality, so that several actions of improvement of the present monitoring system, should be adapted.
In order to achieve this goal, a questionnaire has been formed and sent to about 100 receivers (Municipalities, Prefectures, Institutes, Universities, Private Laboratories etc.)
The results of the study are summarized below:

A) Water Supply
The monitoring of the quality of water supply by Municipalities is considered insufficient, as it is demonstrated that in a total of 70 municipalities in Crete, only 37% (which means 26 municipalities) do routine water monitoring, 39% (27 municipalities) occasional monitoring, while 11% (which is 8 municipalities) does not monitor water at all. 13% (9 municipalities) did not answer the questionnaire.

B) Coastal zone - Sea water
The present status of monitoring in the coastal zones of Crete island is sufficient and very satisfying. There is a good coverage of the beaches in all four Prefectures, a routine monitoring program of the Institute of Marine Biology of Crete. More monitoring activities are undertaken by government bodies whenever there is a temporary increased polluting load. The quality status of the sea waters has been very improved, since 1989 (time when the project started).

C) Irrigation Water
The present monitoring of the quality status of irrigation water is considered rather insufficient. There is no government body responsible for the monitoring of the quality of irrigation water, but legally this is an environmental issue. Water quality is analyzed only during the process of well construction as part of the license granting procedure. There is a large amount of private wells where no quality monitoring takes place at all. There is a lack of infrastructure for the archiving and the processing of the measurements.

D) Environmental Monitoring
The actions that have been taken for the evaluation of the ecologic status of water resources are insufficient. There is no national legislative framework to identify a suitable body for the implementation of the W2000/60/EE. All actions take place exclusively as part of research programs, their duration is limited and they do not cover the vast of water resources to be monitored.

E) Laboratory infrastructure
Laboratory Infrastructure is partly sufficient. There are 16 labs in Crete able to cover the analysis of almost all basic parameters. On the other hand, there is insufficiency regarding the analysis of other, more specialized chemical, biological and organic parameters, which can be analyzed only by Academic - research labs. Radioactive elements can be analyzed at the Institute of "DEMOCRITOS" in Athens. In order for the results of the analysis to be accepted by the European Union Committee, the labs must be certified by the National Association of Certification. Among the 16 labs doing the water analysis in Crete, only 1 lab has been certified by the National Association, 4 more have applied for the certification and their application is at the final stage of approval, 3 more are Academic labs and thus are following the International Standards Methods in terms of research. The remaining 8 labs do not have the qualifications demanded by the European Union.

In order to have a complete monitoring system for water quality in Crete, the following suggestions should be taken into consideration:

  • Expansion of a systematic, water quality monitoring in all 70 municipalities of Crete. Adoption and application of a widely used form of elaborating and reporting the results, with the frequency defined by the legislative regulations.
  • The awareness and training of the personnel of all bodies, who is responsible for water sampling, as well as for the maintenance, preservation and transportation.
  • The use of a uniform database for archiving of the analyzed parameters. The design of such a database has been developed as part of INTERISK project and can be used without any cost.
  • The Museum of Natural History and the Institute of Marine Biology have been activated on the environmental monitoring as part of research programs. Their experience can be utilized by Region of Crete in order to organize a more complete monitoring of the ecological status.
  • Regarding the laboratory infrastructure:
  • All labs dealing with water analysis must be certified by the National association.
  • Defining a body responsible for the analysis of the most detailed parameters either through the formation of a new Regional Laboratory nor through the collaboration with Academic labs that are able to perform these analyses. A study will help estimating the options. The budget for forming a new laboratory mast be taken into consideration, as it is quite large and the future profits must be estimated to see if such an option is livable.
  • On the other hand there is also the private sector with equal expertise and qualification that must be taken into consideration as an option for performing specialized parameters, for the detailed chemical analyses.

In conclusion, it is important for all different bodies (academic, researchers, private, government) that have experience in the subject of water monitoring to collaborate. This study showed that there is a very good technical background in water monitoring by all services in the Region of Crete, which could be utilized by a certain body who will supervise and coordinate all the actions that need to be taken towards a robust water quality assessment.