Traditionally, monitoring of soil, groundwater and surface water quality is coordinated by different authorities in the Netherlands. Nowadays, the European Water Framework Directive (EU, 2000) stimulates an integrated approach of the complete soil-groundwater-surface water system. Based on water quality data from several test catchments, we propose a conceptual model stating that stream water quality at different discharges is the result of different mixing ratios of groundwater from different depths. This concept is used for a regional study of the groundwater contribution to surface water contamination in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant, using the large amount of available data from the regional monitoring networks. The results show that groundwater is a dominant source of surface water contamination. The poor chemical condition of upper and shallow groundwater leads to exceedance of the quality standards in receiving surface waters, especially during quick flow periods. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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