GSI Groundwater Vulnerability

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Groundwater Vulnerability is a term used to represent the intrinsic geological and hydrogeological characteristics that determine the ease with which groundwater may be contaminated by human activities. Groundwater vulnerability maps are based on the type and thicknesses of subsoils (sands, gravels, glacial tills (or boulder clays), peat, lake and alluvial silts and clays), and the presence of karst features. Groundwater is most at risk where the subsoils are absent or thin and, in areas of karstic limestone, where surface streams sink underground at swallow holes. All land area is assigned one of the following groundwater vulnerability categories: Rock near surface or karst (X) Extreme (E) High (H) Moderate (M) Low (L). Indicates the likelihood of groundwater contamination. Aids land-use management. Helps in the choice of preventative measures and enables developments, which have a significant potential to contaminate, to be located in areas of lower vulnerability. Helps to ensure that a groundwater protection scheme is not unnecessarily restrictive on human economic activity.

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