Mapping hotspots of nature areas with lowered groundwater tables

12-10-2006 | Publication

Ever since the 1980s it is politically accepted that nature areas in the Netherlands have been suffering from lowered groundwater tables due to intensified drainage of agricultural areas ('verdroging' in Dutch). The respective targets for 2000 and 2010, representing a reduction of 25% and 40% of the area where groundwater tables have been lowered, have fallen far short of being attained.

In 2004, a reduction of only 3% had been realized. Recently, an advisory committee (Taskforce Verdroging) sent its report on how to improve and speed up the solution to the problem of lowered groundwater tables to the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. One of the recommendations was to compile a list of nature areas where the problem must be tackled with priority, i.e. before 2015. Here, a tryout is described of a so-called hotspot map showing nature areas with lowered groundwater tables. It appears that areas where the European obligation stipulated in the Water Framework Directive, i.e. the Nature 2000 areas (according to the Habitats Directive and the Wild Birds Directive), incorporate all the areas of national ecological relevance. Furthermore, the total area is in line with the original national target of 40% reduction since this area exceeds the original by ca 10%.