European aquifer typology: a practical framework for an overview of major groundwater composition at European scale

F. Wendland, A. Blum, M. Coetsiers, R. Gorova, J. Griffioen, J. Grima, K. Hinsby, R. Kunkel, A. Marandi, T. Melo, A. Panagopoulos, H. Pauwels, M. Ruisi, P. Traversa, J.S.A. Vermooten, K. Walraevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Groundwater quality is determined by a variety of factors. Petrographic properties of the rocks in the vadose and in the groundwater saturated zones as well as the regional hydrological and hydrodynamic conditions are regarded as its major natural influencing factors together with groundwater's initial composition. For an assessment of major groundwater composition on a continental scale, the complexity of individual aquifers needs to be organized into simplified patterns. For this purpose, European scientists, among them representatives from several European national geological surveys, jointly defined a harmonized European aquifer typology, which includes the major classes of aquifers showing comparable petrographic properties. This process has led to the development of the European aquifer typology map presented in this paper. Similar groundwater compositions are expected for the various classes in comparable hydrodynamic and hydrologic conditions. Application of the aquifer typology with regard to the intercomparison of hydrochemical data sets across Europe for several aquifer types clearly points out that typical groundwater compositions can be distinguished for the various aquifer types. In the future this typology may serve as a basis for referencing hydrogeochemical groundwater composition on a European scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Chemical state of groundwater
  • European aquifer typology
  • European groundwater directive
  • Groundwater composition
  • Hydrogeochemical properties

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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