Evaluation of the quality of lentic ecosystems in Romania by a GIS based WRASTIC model

Niculae, Mihaita-Iulian, Avram, Sorin, Corpade, Ana-Maria, Dedu, Silvia, Gheorghe, Carmen Adriana, Pascu, Ionut Silviu, Ontel, Irina, Rodino, Steliana

Scientific Reports volume 11, Article number: 5361 (2021)



Globally, ecosystems are constantly degrading as a result of pressures derived from human activities and climate change. For working towards the restoration of the natural balance, it is necessary to evaluate the deviations induced in the ecosystems, to identify where the changes took place, to know what is their amplitude and to decide where it is possible to get involved. Many aquatic ecosystems are depreciated and their restoration is often difficult. Development of appropriate assessment methodologies will improve the decision-making process in public policies for environmental protection and conservation of biodiversity. This study presents an assessment of the degradation level of lentic ecosystems in Romania, performed through a multi-criteria analysis. An extension of the WRASTIC index (Wastewater-Recreational-Agricultural-Size-Transportations-Indutrial-Cover) was generated, namely WRASTIC-HI. The new index was obtained by including values derived from the Potential Pollutant Load index. The analysis showed that 13% of the evaluated lakes are natural, 56.5% are semi-degraded and 30.5% are degraded. The proposed methodology allows to determine the spatial distribution of the degradation sources and to calculate the corresponding indicators. The results obtained provide a useful tool for diagnostic step that can be used as a cornerstone to further identification of environmental conflicts and proposals for improvement of the ecological status of the lentic ecosystems.