In 1982, a study by the European Commission provided a complete catalogue of national water resources for several Member States of the European Union (Belgium, Federal Republic of Germany, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and United Kingdom). This catalogue comprised a series of groundwater resources maps of Europe, at scale 1:500,000 ; there were 38 map sheets covering four themes:
- Inventory of aquifers;
- Hydrogeology of aquifers;
- Groundwater abstraction;
- Potential additional groundwater resources.
These maps, covering 9 countries - Belgium, Federal Republic of Germany, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and United Kingdom, were compiled from existing data sources. For an overview of the European study (synthetical report and country reports), look on Groundwater Resources project page..
The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), commissioned a project to digitise the maps so that they could be used in Geographic Information Systems together with other European level environmental datasets describing soil, climate, weather, land use, topography, etc. A project report " A Digital Dataset of European Groundwater Resources at 1:500,000. (V. 1.0)" describes the resulting digital dataset, explains some implications of using the data in relation to pesticide fate and behaviour and highlights a number of issues that should be considered when using it.
The information was digitized for the first three themes but not for the latter (4. Potential additional groundwater resources) because for this the data sets were considered to be outdated. All details of the digitization process are described in the project report. It describes the published paper maps and reports, from which the dataset was derived, the digital dataset, its formats and attribute data and highlights a number of issues that should be taken into account when using the dataset, particularly if it is used in a Geographic Information System (GIS) with other European-level digital data.
An overview of all 148 resulting maps (as .jpeg images) is given on Groundwater Resources project page.
The digital data are organized in the following European-wide layers :
- Theme1: Aquifers
- Theme2A : Groundwater hydrology, directions of groundwater flow and of water transfers;
- Theme2C : Groundwater hydrology, contours of the watertable or the potentiometric surface;
- Theme2W : Groundwater hydrology, Springs;
- Theme2S : Groundwater hydrology, Areas of seawater intrusion or saline groundwater;
- Theme3 : Groundwater abstraction ;
The data are offered as ESRI shapefiles ; one set of the data is in the Spatial Reference System according to GISCO (documented in the GISCO Database Manual, in Chapter 3 "Main characteristics of the GISCO reference database" under "Spatial Reference System") ; another set of the same data is in the INSPIRE proposed ETRS_LAEA reference system.
Legends for these themes are available in .avl format, compatible with ArcView3.2. These legend files can be imported into ArcGis but are presented slightly different.