The aim of the MIKAS (Most Important Karst Aquifer’s Springs) project is to create the first complete list of the most important karst springs at the global, but also at the national level. The project was launched at the annual meeting of the Karst Commission (KC) of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) in June 2022, during the last EUROKARST conference held in Malaga. The MIKAS project’s is run by Advisory Board and numerous national experts.

Why karst springs should be prioritized in creation of global catalogue of springs?

Karst covers more than 15% of the continental ice-free land, while karst aquifers supply potable water to approximately 9.2% of the world’s population, i.e. some 700 million people in 150 countries. The springs emerging from karst aquifers are globally the largest – some are even discharging entire underground rivers.

They are also supplying potable water to many large cities with several million inhabitants, such as Rome, Vienna, Naples, San Antonio and Damascus. They are significant because they provide precious high-quality water, sustain ecosystems, and maintain the baseflow of many of the world’s rivers.

The intakes of springs are the most common tapping structures in karst environments, because channelling gravity springs and diverting water even over long distances is much easier than drilling numerous wells in hard, dominantly carbonate rocks.