Interference with surface water bodies and streams

Decline in the water table as a result of groundwater withdrawals can affect the hydrologic regime of connected wetlands and streams. Loss of base flow to streams, desiccation of wetlands and transformation of previously gaining rivers to losing rivers may all be potentially undesirable results of groundwater abstraction and serve as indicators of possible excessive abstraction. The already mentioned Upper Guadiana catchment in Spain is a typical example of this type of situation, which will be dealt with in more detail later. According to the WFD most groundwater abstraction in the Upper Guadiana basin in Spain must be cancelled because of its evident interference with the surface waters and its ecological impacts. However, the WFD states that when this solution implies serious social problems, the corresponding Member State may ask for derogations based on the hydrological, economic and social consequences. Most likely Spain will request derogations to the EU not only in the Upper Guadiana basin but also in many other aquifers where an intensive use of groundwater exists.

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