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Hydrological Values

Karst spring  

Water quality and quantity issues play an important role in karst terrain:

  • It can be difficult to determine the exact extent of subsurface drainage networks. For example, underground water systems usually operate independently from overlying surface drainage and sometimes cross topographic drainage divides.
  • Karst hydrological systems can move large quantities of water over great distances in a relatively short period of time. These rapid transit times and the limited ability of subsurface streams to cleanse and filter means that introduced harmful substances (e.g., contaminants, sediments) have the potential to seriously impact sensitive karst environments, human water supplies, and important fish-rearing streams.

  • Variations in water quantity outside the range of natural conditions can alter groundwater recharge rates and impact ongoing karst processes.

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