Natural and manmade springs and water meadows

The central belt of the Parco Oglio, stretching between the towns of Roccafranca, Rudiano and Orzinuovi, is dotted with natural and manmade springs. The natural springs are a groundwater phenomenon; the terrain is made up of gravel and pebbles which leave gaps in their conformation as well as being partially permeable and impermeable. Water eases up through these gaps and in some places accumulates over the clay and is forced to the surface. Man has also created artificial springs to provide the terrain with a barrier that increases the flow of the spring. A manmade spring is a hydraulic installation that harnesses and conducts the flow of spring waters, making it possible to drain marshlands by digging deep channels. Spring waters are crystal clear and have a constant temperature of between 9 and 14 degrees. Man has been using these springs to create “water meadows” since ancient times: meadows are flooded during the winter to encourage biomass to rot, to obtain fertiliser. Nowadays, with the advent of industrialisation, manmade springs have all but been abandoned. It is now rare to catch a distant glimpse of these natural springs “steaming” in the frozen countryside, surrounded by lush vegetation, on a winter’s day.