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Groundwater quantitative status in Denmark. Hans Jørgen Henriksen. Climate change and adaptive water management in EU and beyond. Vingsted March 9, 2009 Session 1 – EU Water Framework and Groundwater Directives in a changing climate. List of content. WFD and groundwater directive

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groundwater quantitative status in denmark
Groundwater quantitative status in Denmark

Hans Jørgen Henriksen

Climate change and adaptive water management in EU and beyond. Vingsted March 9, 2009

Session 1 – EU Water Framework and Groundwater Directives in a changing climate

list of content
List of content
  • WFD and groundwater directive
  • Policy recommendations for groundwater exploitation: groundwater levels, water quality and aquatic habitats
  • Translating qualitative policy recommendations into quantitative criteria in the Danish NOVA 2003 assessment
  • Results of 2003 assessment
  • Discussion – adaptive and integrated water management?
  • Conclusion
wfd and groundwater directive
WFD and Groundwater Directive
  • Objectives:
    • Good status of surface waters (ecological and chemical) and groundwaters (chemical and quantitative)
    • All aquatic bodies are concerned: rivers and streams, lakes, groundwaters, coastal zone, wetlands…
    • The good status of 2015 has to be reached – going in the right direction isn’t sufficient
    • If not possible to reach goals in 2015 =>
      • Delays to 2021 or 2027
      • Reframing to less strict objectives

(in both cases justified technical and economical)

winter precipitation and groundwater level
Winter precipitation and groundwater level

South Jutland:



level (m)

Winter precipitation


Winter precip.


average value

requirements for groundwater discharge to aquatic environment
Requirements for groundwater discharge to aquatic environment

Max reduction of low flows

Depending on ecological

Objectives of river reach:

A : max 5 %

B1: max 10 %

B2: max 15 %

B3: max 25 %

CE: max 50 %

four quantitative sustainable yield indicators nova 2003 assessment
Four quantitative sustainable yield indicators (NOVA 2003 assessment)

Ensemble approach (Jakeman and

Letcher, 2003, Henriksen et al. 2008):

precautionary principle indicator 1 35


> 10 μg/l

> 20 μg/l





Precautionary principle: Indicator 1 : 35%

Sub area




selected indicators and climate
Selected indicators and climate

Climate variation and indicator 1-3

result of assessment for denmark 2003
Result of assessment for Denmark (2003)

Sustainable yield

Current abstraction


Exploitation rate (%)


More information: Henriksen et al., 2008:


Scientific recommendations:

Validate the quantitative criteria,

based on monitoring data!

ex post validation of quantitative criteria max reduction of min flow incl waste water discharge
Ex post validation of quantitative criteria (max. reduction of min. flow incl. waste water discharge)
ensemble resource indicators and modelling can be used as tools for adaptive water management
Ensemble resource indicators and modelling can be used as tools for adaptive water management

Policy recommendations:

adaptive water management use higher learning levels
Adaptive water management: use higher learning levels

Doing things better

(reducing water consumption:

Improving irrigation efficiency)

How to do better things

(adjusting land use & crops;

Improving water quality and

Aquatic habitat conditions)

Social learning

Water users and farmers starting

to see things differently. Improved

spatial perception and understanding

of the aquifer, and the importance

of groundwater, as part of the whole

system (supplying wetlands etc.)

Adaptive management can be defined as a systematic process for improving management policies and practices by learning from the outcomes of implemented management strategies


What is required if water resources should be managed by adaptive water management (in learning processes)?




Learned from

7 case


  • Total available water resource is in balance with abstraction on the national level, but the nationwide resource and exploitation is unevenly distributed, and is fluctuating in time =>
    • Over-exploitation around Copenhagen, Århus and Odense and for intensive irrigated areas in western Jutland due to regional variations in available resource & water uses
    • Extreme droughts and climate variation is important for exploitable resource, and for the state of the groundwater dependent ecosystems. Minimum flow reduction most critical barrier for groundwater exploitation
  • The four ensemble indicators should be further validated based on monitoring data. Linked to the scale they have been applied. Approved more generic indicators could be scaled for < 10 km2, 10-50 km2 and > 50 km2 (max. 5, 10 and 15 % reduction), where 15 stations on Sjælland documents good ecological status with abstraction in these ranges. Further development, tests, validation and documentation is needed
  • Adaptive management is recommended as a way to allow higher order learning (double & triple loop) from groundwater systems, and in order to increase buffering capacity and adaptive capacity of the whole system. This is also an advantage in order to plan for adaptation for climate change
what we don t want from the future a duck stuck in a boat on a river
What we don’t want from the future:A duck stuck in a boat on a river…

Foto: HarmoniRiB, CEH (UK)