Project ICP Waters


The ICP Waters programme was launched in 1985 under the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP), otherwise known as the Geneva Convention. There are 20 participating countries (18 European countries, Canada and the United States), with the international coordination centre for the programme at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA). The aims of the programme are as follows:
  • To assess the degree and extent of surface water acidification;
  • To collect information to evaluate dose/response relationships;
  • To describe and evaluate long-term trends and variation in water chemistry and biota attributable to atmospheric pollution, in particular acidification.siti_icp_waters


The CNR-ISE of Verbania has since 1995 acted as the Italian National Focal Centre for the project, with the coordination and direction of the Ministry of the Environment and Territorial Protection, environmental research and development department. Thanks to Italy's continuous participation in the programme it has been possible to:

  • set up a network of monitoring sites to follow the evolution of acidification in surface waters;
  • conduct ad hoc studies on some of the sites, such as research into the heavy metal content in surface and rain water, and the application of dynamic forecasting models;
  • promote international harmonisation of monitoring practices and analytic methods through regular proficiency tests.

The Italian ICP Waters sites comprise one subalpine river (Cannobino), one subalpine lake (Mergozzo) and two high-altitude alpine lakes (Paione Inferiore and Superiore), for which chemical data date back to the 1970s/80s. Since 1997, the data collected have been sent annually to the International Coordinating Centre to be added to a database that currently includes more than 170 sites in Europe and North America. The results of the data elaboration have been presented at Italian and international conferences and in scientific publications (e.g. Mosello et al. 1999, 2000Rogora, 2007; Rogora et al. 2013).