Groundwater Database - POVET
In 2002 the environmental administration started using a nationwide groundwater database (POVET). This database contains multi-faceted information about groundwater aquifers, for example, general information about hydrogeology, activities and land use (settlements, forestry, cultivation, industry) and risk points (fur farming, pig houses, gravel extraction, gas stations). There is also information about monitoring and sampling of groundwater from wells, sampling tubes, ponds and springs.
Almost 2220 groundwater areas were classified as important for water supply, this means that the water is used by 10 or more households (about 50 persons). Nearly 1600 groundwater areas are classified as suitable for water supply, but for now, these areas are not needed by communities or they are located in sparsely populated areas. In addition, more hydrogeological information is needed on about 2230 groundwater areas. These areas are temporarily classified as 'other groundwater areas', because it is not yet known whether they are important or suitable groundwater areas for water supply. Some of these areas may as well turn out to be unsuitable for water supply after studies are completed.
The environmental administration's 13 regional environment centres are responsible for monitoring classified groundwater areas in their own district, studies on these areas and data input of the results. The Finnish Environment Institute takes care of national summary reports. There are considerable differences between the monitoring of different groundwater areas. Some areas do not have any monitoring programme at all, from other areas only random samples are taken, while in the best-case scenario monitoring is done regularly.
The background information on groundwater quality comes from 75 groundwater-monitoring stations operated by the environmental administration. These monitoring stations represent different climatological conditions and soil types in areas where, from the beginning, the human impact on groundwater quality and quantity has been minimal. The stations are located in hydrogeologically unified groundwater basins or districts, that is, defined areas within larger basins. The size of the area investigated varies between 0.2 km2 and 3.0 km2. The groundwater of these monitoring stations is in most cases 'shallow groundwater' and its potential use for domestic water applies mostly to sparsely populated areas. The samples are taken six times each year from springs, wells or sampling tubes.
The environmental administration has the right to use the database. Municipalities and co-operation partners are allowed to read the data (an application to do so is needed). Environmental authorities use the database to monitor the state of groundwater quality and quantity. It is also used, for example, to produce national reports, as required by the European Union's water framework and nitrate directives.
For more information:
Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE):
Ms. Ritva Britschgi (groundwater database) e-mail: email@example.com [ritva britschgi]
Ms. Mirjam Orvomaa (groundwater database) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org [mirjam orvomaa]
Mr. Risto Mäkinen (groundwater monitoring) e-mail: email@example.com [risto p makinen]