Learning and experience from 10 years of groundwater protection in Denmark

Gyrite Brandt, Alex Sonnenborg, Richard Thomsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedings


The water supply in Denmark is based on high quality groundwater, thus obviating the need for complex and expensive purification. Contamination from urban development and agricultural sources, however, increasingly threatens the groundwater reserve. In 1995 the Danish Government thus launched a 10-point plan to improve groundwater protection. In 1998, this was followed by a decision to instigate spatially dense hydrogeological mapping of the groudwater resource within the 37% of Denmark designated as particularly valuable water-abstraction areas. The maps will be used to establish site-specific groundwater protection zones and associated regulation of land use to prevent groundwater contamination. Traditional mapping based solely on borehole data is too inaccurate for this purpose. The work will take 10 years and cost an estimated DKK 920 million, equivalent to 120 million euro. To fund this, consumers will pay a 0.02 euro surcharge per m3 of drinking water during the 10-year period. This review of the Danish strategy to protect the groundwater resource demonstrates why dense mapping with newly developed grophysical measurement methods in large contiguous areas accords geophysics a highly central role in the forthcoming hydrogeological mapping. Also modelling and monitoring are important tools in assessing how much groundwater can be abstracted (and of what quality) in a specific area.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNordic Water 2006. Experiences and challenges in implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive
EditorsJens Christian Refsgaard, Anker Lajer Højberg
PublisherNordic Association for Hydrology
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)87-87656-11-6
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventXXIV Nordic Hydrological Conference. NORDIC WATER 2006. : Experiences and Challenges in Implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive - Vingsted Centret, Vingsted, Denmark
Duration: 6 Aug 20069 Aug 2006

Publication series

SeriesNHP Report


ConferenceXXIV Nordic Hydrological Conference. NORDIC WATER 2006.
Abbreviated titleNHC 2006

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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