What is ALIRHYS?

This project was created thanks to the collaboration between the Polytechnic of Turin, Polytech Nice, the Region of Piedmont and the City of Nice Côte-d’Azur as part of the ALCOTRA 2007-2013 cross-border cooperation programme.

The objective of the ALIRHYS project (Alpi Latine – Identificazione delle Risorse HYdriques Sotterranee) is to identify the hydrogeological structure of a vast area with a predominantly mountainous morphology which stretches across the Italian-French border, including the Cuneo plain and the Nice hinterland. The area being studied is found in a region characterised by many parks and protected areas, such as the Marguareis Park and the Park of the Maritime Alps in Italy, as well as the Mercantour Park and the Préalpes d’Azur regional nature park in France.

This sector contains many springs which supply the main waterways, while some of this spring water is collected by major water companies to be used for drinking water. Among the various emergencies found in this region, a series of “sample” springs has been identified, which are representative of different hydrogeological situations. A monitoring system has been set up at these springs by installing multiparameter and sampling probes which allow the subsequent chemical and physical analysis of the spring water.

Furthermore, meteorological parameters have been taken into account (rainfall, melting snow and air temperature), which help supply these springs. By modelling this data, which has been collected over several decades, we are able to forecast how current climate change could also affect the water regime of the springs.

Unfortunately, hydrogeological data from the springs has generally not been collected and therefore we do not know the spring water regime over time. Only by studying the monitoring data will we be able to show how water resources are able to handle abnormal situations caused by weather conditions.

Project profile

TITLE  ALIRHYS (Alpi Latine – Identificazione delle Risorse HYdriques Sotterranee)
PROGRAMME Fourth ALCOTRA 2007-2013 Italy-France Cross-border Cooperation Programme approved by the European Commission under Decision C(2007) 5716 of 29/11/2007
AXIS/MEASURE Axis 2 – “Protection and management of the region” Measure 2.1 “Resources of the region”
STUDY AREA  The study area stretches across the region between Cuneo and Nice, covering the Ligurian and Maritime Alps and including the Maira and Tanaro valleys, the Department of Alpes-Maritimes and the southern part of the Department of Alpes de Haute Provence corresponding to the Var basin.
OBJECTIVES • Spatial data collection and databases: acquisition of cartographic, geological, hydrogeological and meteorological information
• Monitoring: study of snow cover and quantitative and qualitative characterisation of the main springs
• Geochemical characterisation of the water: analysis of concentrations of the main dissolved elements and metals
• Tracer tests: verification of underground links between supply areas and the connected springs
• Data representation and visualisation through a Geographic Information System (GIS)
• Data modelling (rainfall, temperatures and spring levels)
• Communication plan: website, publications, a documentary and public meetings
DURATION January 2013 – March 2015
BUDGET € 733,585.00 of which € 490,482.00 from Italy and €243,103.00 from France.