The Mara catchment (20 km2) in Maramures County, is representative for small scale/ subsistence farming system in the Carpathian Mountains: mainly cattle and sheep breeding. The study area is a typical cultural landscape shaped by traditional practices.
The water supply in the village with 385 households is secured by communal pipeline distribution and private wells used by more than half of the households in the village; furthermore, Mara river is a protected area of local interest due to the presence of important protected species: trout (Salmo trutta), grayling (Thymallus thymallus) whose survival depends on the water quality.
Cattle and sheep breading in the catchment area affects the drinking water quality but also the surface water by manure used as large scale fertiliser and leakages from the barns of most of the households. Nitrates and nutrients level are monitored only in surface water downstream on two sections of the Mara River. There is no centralized sewage system at case study level, which poses major problems for surface and underground water quality.
For preventing nitrate pollution of drinking water for urban population (ie wells), obliged by EU regulation as well as national legislation and furthermore, farmers should make use of best available techniques regarding manure storage i.e.: concrete manure storage platforms or other similar system.