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Southwestern Finland's drought over: Groundwater levels highest in recent memory

A groundwater expert says the situation hasn't been this good in more than two decades.

En gammaldags vattenpump med en plåthink som hänger.
Drought has plagued many areas of Southwest Finland during the 2000s. Image: Carina Andreasson

The past six years have been significantly drier than normal in Southwestern Finland, a situation that has caused periodic alarmingly-low groundwater levels.

But according to the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY), water levels in the region are now higher than in recent memory.

Last spring the Natural Resources Institute (Luke) reported that the previous year’s cereal harvest was the smallest in 26 years, primarily brought about by drought.

However since then, regional groundwater levels in Southwestern Finland have risen by an average of half a metre and even up to a whole meter since last autumn.

"The situation hasn’t been this good since the end of the 1990s," said Maria Mäkinen, a groundwater expert at ELY.

Additionally, groundwater levels have already reached maximum levels in many areas, which is a good sign for the future because there will be groundwater reserves available in coming years, according to Mäkinen.

"This is mostly due to rain in November and December. The situation was helped by the ground not being frozen," Mäkinen said, referring to this year’s mild winter.

She said the good groundwater levels mean that even a potential dry spell would not be catastrophic.

"Groundwater reserves don’t drain easily once they have been filled," Mäkinen explained.

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