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Tourism potential of the water resources in the Subcarpathians between Prahova and Dambovita Valleys (Romania).

1. Introduction

The hydrographic network of the studied region converges to the three major river valleys (Prahova, Ialomita and Dambovita), that become tourism axes, not only by ensuring accessibility, but also by the concentration of tourism attractions. The quality of river water ensures favorable conditions for use in tourism activities, including through the development of aquatic biocenosis, thus allowing fisheries. The lakes are important tourism resources, by landscape enrichment, opportunities for recreation, therapeutic exploitation of the salt waters and fishing (Cocean, Deszi, 2009; Cocean, 2010). Natural lakes are less numerous and have smaller areas than the anthropogenic lakes; the latter were created for various economic purposes (hydropower production, water supply of settlements, trout farms), to which tourism was gradually added. Tourism activity in the Subcarpathians between Prahova and Dambovita is favored by the presence of mineral waters, used either for treatment in specialized units, or for bottling (Ielenicz, Comanescu, 2006; Mihaescu, 2011).

2. Tourism Potential of the Rivers

The rivers from the studied region have significant flow and they form, together with their tributaries, a hydrographic network with a high average density (Buga, Zavoianu, 1985; Motoc, Oproiu, 2007). The tourism resources located along these rivers enabled the development of various tourism activities.

Momita, the longest river in the studied area, has an annual average flow of 7.97 [m.sup.3]/s at Targovicte, with large variations in time, due to both climatic conditions and hydro technical works (Moroeni, Pucioasa and Doicecti). Not only has the hydrological component drawn tourists, but also the features of the valleys (e.g. gorges with waterfalls and many rapids). In the mountain area there are noteworthy: the water drops on streams in the area of origin of Ialomita river ([section]ugari, Ialomita and Doamna); the rapids in the sectors of gorges (e.g. Pecterii, Horoaba, Coteanu, Tatarului, Zanoaga Mica, Zanoaga Mare, Orzei and Cerbului); the braided streams with islets and beaches within, used for temporary stops; the high number of springs on the slopes; and various tourism facilities, located in the highest sectors of the holms (e.g. chalets, campsites).

Ialomita receives the highest number of tributaries (Ialomicioara Paduchiosului, Rucet, Bizdidel, Slanic and Rogoz) on the left side. Their sources are both in the mountains and in the Subcarpathians. These tributaries are shaping specific landscapes and they are highly significant for the local economy.

Ialomicioara Paduchiosului has a length of 14 km (springs at 1210 m and confluence with Ialomita at 586 m), an average slope of 45 m/km and a sinuosity coefficient of 1.24 (Murarescu, 2004). The Bizdidel river has springs at 880 m and a total length of 26 km. The river crosses narrow sectors, as well as depressions with scattered and linear settlements. The slopes are highly affected by gravitational processes (especially landslides). Along the river, there are some rapids, springs and small lakes within slip ridges which have tourism relevance.

Cricovul Dulce has its springs in the north of Ialomita's Subcarpathians, at 700 m (Valea Sultanului, Valea Bradului and Valea Coclani). In the Subcarpathian sector, the river has a length of 30 km and receives numerous tributaries (Poiana Cerbului, Valea Ursului, Puturosu, Strambul and Ruda). Within this river basin there are many settlements developed in the riverbed and up the hills; the road network has a low degree of modernization. The slopes are heavily affected by landslides and ravination. Among the significant sites in terms of tourism there are: the small lakes within slip ridges from Piscul Rau; the mineral springs, untapped due to the low flow, and the low amplitudes rapids at Vis.ines.ti.

The Ialomita's tributaries on the right side have their springs in the Bucegi and Leaota mountains or the Subcarpathian region. Their waters are mainly used for hydropower production and they ensure the water supply of many cities. In the mountain area, Ialomita receives three tributaries with tourism significance, namely Bratei, Ratei and Raciu.

Bratei River, which springs at 1810 m altitude and has a length of 14 km, crosses the valley that separates Leaota and Bucegi mountains and it represents an important communication route. Along the river, there are large areas of meadows with campsites and camps and many springs with drinkable water.

Ratei River (total length of 7 km and springs at 1860 m altitude) crosses a mass of limestone, shaping gorges, rapids, waterfalls and caves (e.g. Ratei cave).

Raciu River has its source at 1900 m, in Leaota Mountains and a total length of 11 km; downstream, there is a small sector where rapids and springs occur.

Ialomicioara Leaotei springs in the mountains, at an altitude of 1678 m. It has a total length of 27 km and a large basin, with passes in the mountains and well wooded slopes. Numerous tourism facilities are developed in the the broader sectors of the riverbed (especially at confluence).

Vulcana River, a tributary on the right side of the Ialomita River, springs in the Subcarpathian (at an altitude of 509 m) and has a length of 20 km. Within the river basin there are several mineral springs capitalized for spa treatments and balneotherapy.

Prahova, the largest tributary of Ialomita, has a catchment area of 3735 [km.sup.2] and a length of 169 km. The river crosses the Subcarpathian region over a length of 20 km between Posada and Banesti. The river carries a large amount of silt that downstream Banesti built a huge alluvial fan (Velcea, Niculescu, 1979). In the Subcarpathian sector of the river, upstream of the confluence with the river Doftana, Prahova receives two important tributaries, namely Valea Belia, on the right side, and Valea Campea on the left. Along the Prahova valley and on the side valleys there are health resorts (Campina and Breaza) as well as several rural settlements with tourism facilities.

Dambovifa springs in the Fagarac Mountains and crosses the Subcarpathian region over a length of 29 km, from north to south. Its valley widens significantly, especially after the confluence with the main tributary, Raul Alb, that favored the development of human settlements, including by tourism activities.

3. Tourism Potential of the Lakes

The reservoirs resulted through compaction and suffosion, located on river terraces or watersheds, stand among the natural lakes. The most important ones are on the Prahova Valley, on Campina and Pitigaia terraces. On the fluvial terrace of Prahova, within the town of Campina, there is Pestelui Lake (with a surface of 3.5 ha and a depth of 2.5 m), Muscelului Lake (at north of the first, with a very shallow surface), Bisericii Lake and Tineretului Lake (both leisure lakes) and the lake Curiacu, whose emissary flows to Prahova (Gactescu, Driga, 1969).

The natural reservoirs resulted after the landslides occurence are found on slopes affected by these gravitational processes and they have small areas and a temporary character. Sometimes, the slip ridge blocks the course of the brooks. One such lake was formed in 2001 after the landslides occurred in Dealul Piscu Rau, on Valea Rea, knew by locals as the lake Vicinecti.

In the Ocnita Depression, the gravitational processes occurred in the area of the salt mines formed two lakes with high level of mineralization (chlorine water). Only one of them is permanent, namely Lacul Sarat (Salt Lake), also called by the villagers "Hoaga". Access to the lake is difficult, on a very rough road. Locals use lake water for canning, given the high degree of mineralization.

In the studied region, the artificial lakes are located on Ialomita and some of its tributaries. The hydro technical works began as early as the interwar period (1930), and, until 1988, eight lakes were created, with different uses (e.g. hydropower, water supply of settlements, flow adjustment and mitigation of flood waves, fishing and recreation). The lakes Bolboci, Scropoasa, Bratei, Ialomicioara I and Runcu are in the mountain area, while the lakes Moroeni, Pucioasa and Bela are located in the Carpathian foothills.

The lake Bolboci is located on Ialomita, downstream of the confluence with the Bolboci River, between the gorges of Zanoaga and Tatarului. The lake covers an area of 97 hectares, has a length of 2.2 km, a volume of 19.4 million [m.sup.3] of water and the hydropower installed capacity is of 12 MW.

The reservoir is highly important for tourism, especially in terms of landscape. Near it there is the Bolboci chalet; the adjacent mountain region is favorable for winter sports and hiking. The reservoir Scopoasa is located upstream the Orzei gorge, being used for the Dobresti hydropower station.

In the Subcarpathian, the anthropic reservoirs are located both on Ialomita and its tributaries: Ialomicioara I on Ialomicioara Paduchiosului (water volume of 0.15 million [m.sup.3], located at an altitude of 650 m); Runcu on Ialomicioara Leaotei (water volume of 0.10 million [m.sup.3], located at an altitude of 790 m); Bela on Bizdidel (0.12 million [m.sup.3], 460 m altitude); Moroeni and Pucioasa on Ialomita. The lake Moroeni (water volume of 0.40 million [m.sup.3], installed capacity of the powerplant of 15 MW) also captures the waters from the basins of the Ratei and Raciu rivers.

The lake Pucioasa is located upstream of the namesake city. It has a length of 2.3 km and a total area of 90.54 hectares, being built on a volume of 10.70 million [m.sup.3] of water. The intense alluvial process caused the decrease of water volume to 5.03 million [m.sup.3]. The lake is used to hydropower production and water supply of the town of Pucioasa; it also provides water for the local trout farm and fed the treatment plant with a capacity of 125 l/s. There is a lakeside restaurant, a quai and facilities for sunbathing that makes the lake one of the places of recreation for local residents and tourists who come to the Pucioasa resort.

The small lake Chindia, located in the Chindia Park (Targoviste) is used for boating and fishing during the summer and for skating during the winter.

4. The Mineral Waters and Their Importance for Tourism

According to the legal regulations in force in Romania and in the EU, the natural mineral water is defined as water microbiologically pure, rooted in an underground aquifer reservoir and operated by one or more natural springs or wells. Besides mineral water used for general consumption, there are also mineral waters used for therapeutic purpose (Candea et al., 2003). For mineral water to be considered therapeutic the following conditions must be met:

--To have a concentration of dissolved minerals higher than 1 g/l;

--To contain chemicals with known pharmacological action (e.g. iron, bromine, iodine, sulfur, magnesium, manganese) in the minimum percentage required;

--To contain stable concentrations of dissolved gases with known biological effects;

--To have a temperature of over 20[degrees] C, regardless of mineral content, which gives the thermal water feature;

--To have a radioactivity in the limits required for therapeutic use only.

Detailed analysis of mineral waters from the studied region shows that they are in large volumes, have various content (chloride, sodium, bromine, iodine and sulfur) and they are mostly untapped. These mineral waters resulted from rainwater that infiltrates into earth to great depth, then return to the surface as springs, loaded with quantities of salts or gases with a higher temperature (Pricajan, 1985).

The sulfurous waters are accumulated in marl-limestone deposits, with intercalation of gypsum at the top and they are located on Ialomita's valley, between Vulcana ci Pucioasa (Pricajan, 1972).

At Pucioasa ("Smelly"), the accumulated aquifer is highlighted by Ovezea source, by the mineral springs located on the interfluve Ialomita-Vulcana, by the wells drilled in the western part of the Ialomita's meadow and by the mine galleries made to research the sulfur resources. The aquifer is fed by rainwater and by the Ialomita River, through infiltration in the outcrops of permeable rocks. The aquifer's water is sulfide-sulfurous and chlorine. In the first half of the 20th century, the area of the ancient sources was affected by landslides and some sources have disappeared. Also, following the opening of the sulfur mines during 1953-1967, the flow from wells gradually decreased, remaining in operation only the northern shaft, at a rate of about 6.7 l/s. In 1975, the mining pit operating mineral water in the area affected by landslides was drilled. It has a depth of 20 m and is currently providing mineral water used by the Pucioasa resort (about 4 l/s). It should be noted that sulfurous mineral waters were also discovered at Bezdead, Varfuri and Sultanu, but these are not yet used.

In the Prahova river basin the mineral springs are unevenly distributed and mainly concentrated in the Subcarpathians. The mineral waters are stationed in sedimentary formations providing optimal storage and movement through cracks and faults.

The mineral springs from Cornu are clustered in Oligocene formations; the main types are: sulfate and sulfurous water.

The sulfate waters are stationed in the area of the village Cornu de Sus, on the Strajictea hill, where there is improper collection. In the same village there is a well with calcium-bicarbonate-containing waters. Sulfurous waters from Cornu de Jos are used to treat various diseases (hepatic, gastrointestinal, nutrition diseases, allergies and diseases in the urinary tract).

The chlorosodic springs from Cornu de Jos (plain or with bromine or iodine) have concentrations higher than 15 g/l, can be used in treating gynecological disorders, peripheral nervous system disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, dermatitis and sequelae of thrombophlebitis.

Mineral springs from Cornu can be used for both internal treatment (to treat heavy metal poisoning) and for external treatment, but investments are needed to capture the mineral waters, to build tourism facilities and to create a medical facility with qualified staff that would help develop the village as a health resort.

The chlorine waters are located in Miocene and Pliocene deposits, often pierced by diapirs, on the alignment Florecti-Moreni-Gura Ocnitei-Ocnita-Razvad. The water mineralization is due either to direct erosion of salt breccia or to accumulation in depressions created by the collapse of the old salt mines; in the last case, the high salinity of the water is caused by the contact with the salt massive that is permanently dissolved (e.g. the mineral waters from Laculete and Breaza) (Pricajan, 1985).

The mineral waters with iodine and bromine content (from Vulcana, Varfuri, Gura Ocnitei, Moreni, Urseiu and Campina) are related to the oil structures and have a relatively high salinity. These waters are characterized by the presence of iodine, bromine, naphthenic acids and soluble bituminous substances.

In the Vulcana Depression, the mineral waters have been discovered during the excavations which were seeking oil and gas deposits. In 1878, chemist Alfred Bernath Lendway finds that the mineral springs are rich in iodine and therefore sends a report with test results to the health department. The Superior Health Council decided in 1881 that the springs from Vulcana were "very helpful" and they should "be used together with the ones from [section]erbanecti-Podurile (Pucioasa)" (Marec, Marec, 1976). As a result, the residents began transporting the mineral water to Pucioasa, on a road built over the hill, were they serve to cure various diseases.

Although bathrooms were built for therapeutic purposes in the local households, the tourism facilities were still missing. This drawback was removed after the establishment of a resort between 1885 and 1940 that had a great influence in raising local living standards. Water was used for external treatment in the form of baths with excellent results in the treatment of chronic rheumatism and gynecological diseases.

According to Teodoreanu et al., 1984, these springs received local names that have been preserved over time as follows: Pe vale la izvor (at 1 km west from the village road); Mocirla (within the village, near the cemetery), so named ("slime") because the surrounding terrain is always wet; Ferdinand, on Cainelui Valley, at a distance of 3 km from the village center; Carol, south of Cainelui Valley, at 2 km from the village center.

The mineral waters found in Moreni have in some cases predominating bromine concentrations (10-25 mg/l), as those from the Sangerac probe or near the Stavropoleus School (Pricajan, 1972).

At Gura Ocnitei, the mineral waters have high concentrations of calcium and magnesium and they are used in the Balneo Sanatorium (opened in 1959), which ensures recovery of patients affected by sequelae of poliomyelitis. The waters are used in guided walking and underwater gym pool and in specialized treatment rooms.

5. Conclusions

The Sub Carpathian region between Dambovita and Prahova valleys has a wide variety of tourism resources related to water, which is, however, unevenly spread in space. Thus, the Ialomita's basin concentrates most of the water resources with tourism potential, whether natural or anthropogenic. The rivers and lakes allow tourism activities such as swimming, sunbathing, water sports and fishing, while the mineral water springs support tourism practiced in the Pucioasa resort, renowned at national level. These tourism activities, along with those related to other tourism resources can increase the number of tourist arrivals in the region.

Most the mineral resources of the studied region are still unused. The causes that led to this are multiple, i.e. low flows of streams, lack of financial resources, less favorable geographical position (high distances from the main roads), poor state of the water capture facilities and, last but not least, the lack of interest of local communities.


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Valahia University Targoviste


Valahia University Targoviste


Constantin Brancoveanu College, Targoviste
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Author:Alexe, Radita; Costache, Andra; Mihaescu, Mariana
Publication:Geopolitics, History, and International Relations
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EXRO
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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