The Danish drinking water supply is entirely based on groundwater. The government’s official position is that drinking water should be of sufficient quality that it only needs simple treatment (e.g. aeration and filtration) before it is distributed to the consumers.
The main land use in the Aalborg area is intensive dairy farming, pig and crop production. It is one of the most vulnerable areas in Denmark in regard to nitrate leaching and pollution of groundwater. A monitoring program has been established and many observations and quantitative data are available for a long period. The data shows that the water contains variable amounts of nitrate and traces of some pesticides.
The following premises guide the work in the case study.
- Common understanding of each other's frameworks and goals as well as better dialogue can increase the possibility of combining groundwater protection and agricultural production.
- Proven and recognized agricultural practices and technology development can improve groundwater quality.
- "Participating monitoring" can give farmers better commitment to groundwater protection.
- Barriers to groundwater protection have been identified.
- Cost-effective solutions for both farmers and waterworks are identified.
How protection zones and different mitigation measures restore contaminated groundwater in the Kongshøj area in Aalborg
Since 2004 mitigation measures have included general regulations, set-aside or reduced use of N fertilization, afforestation, campaign on correct use of herbicides.
Five working hypotheses have been developed to assist the various groups of stakeholders achieve a common goal.
Based on practical experience, three Danish farmers from the FAIRWAY case study of Aalborg make recommendations which they believe can ease groundwater protection processes when nitrate and /or pesticide restrictions are discussed for agricultural land.