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Instituto de Investigação
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Referência Bibliográfica

CRUZ, J.V., COUTINHO, R., PACHECO, D., CYMBRON, R., ANTUNES, P., FREIRE, P., MENDES, S. (2011) – Groundwater salinization in the Azores archipelago (Portugal). Environmental Earth Sciences, 62: 1273-1285.


​Groundwater salinization in coastal regions causes severe constraints to water supply and economic losses to society worldwide. In the Azores archipelago, groundwater abstraction in wells drilled in coastal aquifers is very important for water supply, and quality problems have been reported. Therefore, a groundwater chemistry dataset from wells was compiled to study groundwater salinization in these aquifers. Waters are mainly of the Na-Cl type, presenting a slightly acidic to slightly alkaline character, with a pH between 5.63 and 8.50 (median 7.40). Electrical conductivity measurements range from 127 to 9670 µS/cm (median 862 µS/cm), suggesting highly variable mineralization, with higher values observed on Santa Maria, São Miguel, Pico, Graciosa, and São Jorge islands.


The major-ion composition reflects the contribution of seawater to the groundwater compositional evolution, which is essentially explained by seawater intrusion into wells. In many samples, exchange reactions of Na++K+ for Ca2++Mg2+ are associated with salinization. The seawater fraction in groundwater composition reaches a maximum of 22.5%. These results are extremely challenging to water managers in the Azores because failure to comply with national water quality regulations and with European Union groundwater directive requirements often occurs.