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The study area (Mara catchment - 20 km²), is focused on the Northern slope of the volcanic origin Gutâi Mountains with brown acidic soils, covered with a typical cultural landscape shaped by traditional practices. Land use descending from the highlands to the village Breb (core area of the Maramures action lab) exposes grazing areas, broad leaf forests and hay meadows. The closest vicinity of the village reveals orchards and very small crop producing patches cultivated by the local families. The slopes of the former volcano are sourcing the drinking water for the villagers and are drained by several streams collected by the Mara River, used also for watering animals of the communities downstream
The area is at risk of declining water quality due to pollution from agriculture – including so-called “small point source” pollution  arising from the multiple, small-scale discharges to the river that occur from the many agricultural holdings that are dispersed throughout the Mara catchment and its smaller sub-catchments.
At the start of the WaterProtect project, the Maramureş actionlab area does not have any mitigation measures for securing water quality except natural cleaning of wastewater by rivers and creeks. Due to extensive agriculture and appliance of certain environmental practices contamination with nitrates is within limits of UE acceptable concentrations of nitrate in water.
Nevertheless, good practice examples may be borrowed from other areas in Maramures (villages Mara or Vadu Izei) where there are already functional innovative solution for filtering and cleaning wastewater using reed beds as well as compost bins in individual households and guesthouses.
Furthermore, to prevent nitrate pollution of drinking water in the future, farmers should make use of best available techniques regarding manure storage i.e.: concrete manure storage platforms or other similar systems. Encouraging the construction of simple, improved facilities for storing animal manure would greatly reduce the risk of this water pollution – whilst also helping improve environmental quality and living conditions in many private households and villages, and greatly improving the recycling of nutrients to the land. 
WaterProtect will implement innovative mitigation instrument for improving water quality: 4 storage platforms and 4 recycle bins in Breb village.
The selection process for pilot farms will be initiated according to various criteria linked to: the location of the farm in proximity of water course (Breboaia creek), already applied measures (agri-environmental measures), the willingness of the farmer to participate in case study.
ach selected farmer will benefit of the assistance and the expert advice on how to apply more friendly measures to his farming activity that would benefit the environment.

Local partners and stakeholders :


Success story editor: 
IOWater (use information on WATERPROTECT web site)
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