The groundwater VULnerability to PESticide software system (VULPES) is a user-friendly, GIS-based and client-server software developed to identify vulnerable areas to pesticides at regional level making use of pesticide fate models.

It is a Decision Support System aimed to assist the public policy makers to investigate areas sensitive to specific substances and to propose limitations of use or mitigation measures.

Example of vulnerability map in Lombardy region (Italy)

VULPES identify the so-called Uniform Geographical Unit (UGU) which are areas characterised by the same agro-environmental conditions. In each UGU it applies the PELMO or PEARL FOCUS models obtaining the 80th percentile of the substance concentration at 1 meter depth; then VULPES creates a vulnerability map in shapefile format which classifies the outputs comparing them with the lower threshold set to the legal limit concentration in groundwater (0.1 μg/l).

What does it do?
VULPES is a regional exposure assessment tool for evaluating the groundwater impact of the use of pesticide at regional level (currently it works at NUTS 2 level).

VULPES identifies vulnerable areas at landscape level, providing an easy-to-use tool which couples environmental models to GIS representation of the territory. VULPES applies the same pesticide fate models of the FOCUS group to real environmental data (pedology, weather, irrigations, crops) thus likely approaching to the real impact on the area.

How does it work?
Users of the VULPES system interact with a simple client application whose purpose is to acquire input data such as crop and PPP to start a simulation on the area of interest. VULPES then sends the input to the server tier and starts a simulation with the one-dimensional models PELMO or PEARL (selected by the user) in each UGU polygon for the entire duration of the historical weather series. At the end of simulations of all UGU polygons, the system generates a new vulnerability map of the area, classifying each UGU polygon into six classes according to the potential risk, with the clear characterisation of the worst case (concentration values > 0.1 μg/l, corresponding to the regulatory limit for drinking water) in red colour.

The software system has been used by the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy for PPPs risk management purposes.

If you plan to use VULPES for your analyses or simply need further information, please contact us.