Synthesis of past isotope hydrology investigations in the area of Ljubljana, Slovenia


  • Klara Nagode
  • Tjaša Kanduč
  • Sonja Lojen
  • Branka Bračič Železnik
  • Brigita Jamnik
  • Polona Vreča



Water isotope investigations are a powerful tool in water resources research as well as in understanding the impact that humans have on the water cycle. This paper reviews past hydrological investigations of the Ljubljansko polje and Ljubljansko barje aquifers that supply drinking water to the City of Ljubljana, with an emphasis on hydrogen, oxygen and carbon stable isotope ratios. Information about the methods used and results obtained are summarised, and the knowledge gaps identified. Overall, we identified 102 records published between 1976 and 2019. Among them, 41 reported stable isotope data of groundwater, surface water and precipitation and were further analysed. Isotope investigations of the Ljubljansko barje began in 1976, while groundwater and surface water investigations of the Ljubljansko polje and along the Sava River began as late as 1997. Isotope investigations of carbon started even later in 2003 in the Ljubljansko polje and in 2010 in the Ljubljansko barje. These investigations were performed predominantly in the frame of short-term groundwater research projects at five main wellfields and sites along the Sava River. Almost no large-scale, long-term stable isotope studies have been conducted. The exceptions include groundwater monitoring by the Union Brewery in Ljubljana (2003-2014) and precipitation in Ljubljana since 1981. Since 2011, more detailed surveys of the Ljubljansko barje were performed, and in 2018, the first extensive investigation started at wellfields and objects that form part of the domestic water supply system. Given the number of available studies, we felt that publishing all the numerical data and appropriate metadata would allow for a better understanding of the short and long-term dynamics of water circulation in the urban environment. In the future, systematic long-term approaches, including the appropriate use of isotopic techniques, are needed.


How to Cite

Nagode, K., Kanduč, T., Lojen, S., Bračič Železnik, B., Jamnik, B., & Vreča, P. (2020). Synthesis of past isotope hydrology investigations in the area of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Geologija, 63(2), 251–270.




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