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.
Aalborg, DKIn the Aalborg case study in northern Denmark the land use is dominated by intensive dairy farming, pigs and crop production. Research is monitoring changes in groundwater quality associated with nitrate and pesticide use mitigation measures. However the chalk lithology makes this a complex picture of fast and slow pathways. Farmers and the water authority have to collaborate to ensure a clean drinking water supply. (In English and Danish, with English subtitles)
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.
Working hypotheses for the Danish case studies
Five working hypotheses have been developed to assist the various groups of stakeholders achieve a common goal.
Danish farmers' recommendations
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.