Groundwater protection

Groundwater basin sign in Finland.
© Photo: Mirjam Orvomaa

Legislation endorsing groundwater protection

National legislation:

Laws implemented on aiming to prevent the pollution and alteration of aquifers to maintain a good quantitative and qualitative state of groundwater:

  • Water Act (264/1961)
  • Environmental Protection Act (86/2000)

Laws on environmental goals, monitoring and assessement:

  • The Act on Water Resources Management(1299/2004)
  • Decree on Water Resources Management(1040/2006)
  • Decree on Hazardous and Harmful Substance on Aquatic Environment (1022/2006)
  • etc. national legislations where the EU directives have been implemented


  • Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/06/EEC)
  • Groundwater Directive (2006/118/EEC)
  • Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC)

Legislated  means  of groundwater protection

Intake protection area

  • based on the Water Act (1961)
  • legally-based restrictions with regard to land use in the area
  • over 200 intake protection areas
  • usually consist of a small part of the total groundwater area
  • Protection area can be divided into sub-zones :
    • intake area
    • inner protection zone
    • outer protection zone
  • the sub-zones are based on the time it takes groundwater to reach a municipal well

Protection plans

  • implemented since the early 1990’s
  • established for over 1,000 groundwater areas
  • aim to ensure the availability and quality of groundwater
  • takes into account the entire gw area instead of only the immediate vicinity of the intake plant
  • the establishing procedure is based on voluntary action and co-operation
  • used as a guide in supervision of water legislation,issuing of permits, planning land use, etc
  • (hydrogeological mapping, inventory of potential gw threats, risk assessment , recommendations, and operating instructions)
Published 2020-09-28 at 16:43, updated 2020-09-28 at 16:43