In Arborea (Italy) farmers and the municipality alongside MENAWARA project to mitigate the nitrate pollution.

The MENAWARA project Italian case study (located in Arborea, Sardinia) is related to the use of non-conventional water to reduce the nitrate groundwater concentration, due to agricultural and livestock farming activities. These activities involve the entire local community, and make Arborea the most important agricultural district in Sardinia and one of the main in the Mediterranean. So the pollution of the aquifer, as well as being an ecological problem, involves great costs in trying to solve the problem.

The intervention designed by MENAWARA in collaboration with the local Farmers’ Cooperative, the Municipality and the Land Reclamation Consortium, consists of the realization of forested infiltration areas (FIA), planted with various species of trees and shrubs, using of drainage water as recharge water.

FIA systems are believed to be an useful tool to mitigate the nitrate issue, particularly in plains as Arborea, surrounded by marsh wetlands (some 50% of the Island wetland heritage) that are protected in the context of the EU Natura 2000 directive (Sites of Community Importance) and the Ramsar convention. As these waters usually flow to wetlands through the drainage network in the plain, the amount of drainage water to be used for the recharge will be carefully dimensioned to ensure an adequate flow to the wetlands in order to preserve these ecosystems.