A comprehensive picture, at European Union scale, of the aquifers and their characteristics is available in digital form. 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 here.
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 Potential additional groundwater resources) because for this the data sets were considered to be outdated.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 below. 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
These layers are fully documented in the project report. 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.
These data are freely available upon request: Fill in the online form; after which you will be provided with instructions on how to download the data.
Synthetical report : "Groundwater Resources of the European Community Synthetical Report" (on which the digital dataset is based)
Country reports for :
148 resulting maps
Overview of maps (as .jpeg images) : for each sheet on the map indicated by a number, and for each theme, there is one image. There is also a summary image of the legends for these maps.
The digitization was carried out by Cartographic Data Development (CDD) Ltd., (C.M. Willers, D. Pavelley) under subcontract to The National Soil Resources Institute, Cranfield University, Silsoe UK - NSRI (HJ.M. Hollis, I.P. Holman, R.G.O. Burton).
The project was financed as a Company Investment Propect by the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), and steered by the ECPA GIS working group (J.R. Van de Veen, B. Erzgraber, A. Gurney, S. Hayes, T. Hauck, A. Huber, T.Schad, D. Yon).
The maps are presented in a DVD-version ["Groundwater Map Resources of Europe", EUR 7940 EN, Robert J A Jones, Luca Montanarella and SELVARADJOU Senthil-Kumar]. This DVD comprises 148 maps sheets, about 50cm x 80 cm (on average) in size, together with 10 detailed explanatory reports, one for each Member State and a General Survey.
The explanatory reports are organized per theme, stressing the features of groundwater evaluation, which are significant at Community-level and based upon the data given by the consultants in national reports and during the various meetings with the coordinator. Basically, the first two themes present a purely hydrogeological regionalization of groundwater, aquifer per aquifer, whereas the last two themes are based on an administrative regionalization. Themes 1, 2 and 3 are factually based whereas theme 4 is based upon estimates made with assumptions that vary from country to country and sometimes even within a given country. Thus the fourth map theme must be read and interpreted together with the national reports.
This inventory aims to aid better use and management of water resources and to permit modeling, taking into account administrative and political aspects of the European Community. A new derived symbology, that ensures uniform mapping of the results throughout the European Community, makes the information more accessible and meaningful to the decisions-makers responsible for a better exploitation of Europe’s groundwater resources.