Impact of peatland drainage and restoration on esker groundwater resources: modeling future scenarios for management

Pekka M. Rossi, Pertti Ala-aho, John Doherty, Bjørn Kløve, Pertti Otto Antero Ala-Aho

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Esker aquifers are common groundwater bodies in Europe. Management of these aquifers should take account of the sustainability of groundwater-dependent ecosystems and land use in an integrated way. An unconfined esker aquifer in northern Finland was modelled with MODFLOW to determine how groundwater resources are impacted by the surrounding peatland drainage scheme and to simulate scenarios for possible drainage restoration. The impacts of groundwater abstraction and climate change were also simulated. A calibration-constrained Monte Carlo method was used to provide information on the uncertainties associated with model predictions. The results suggest that peatland drainage in the vicinity of eskers can have a significant role in lowering the water table, even though climate variability may mask these impacts. Drainage restoration by filling the ditches might have positive impacts on the aquifer water levels. Comparison of water-table changes caused by peatland drainage with the changes brought by water abstraction and climate variability helped to quantify impacts of different land-use scenarios and facilitated discussion with the local stakeholders. Based on this study, more attention should be devoted to peatland drainage schemes in integrated groundwater management of esker aquifers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1131-1145
Number of pages15
JournalHydrogeology Journal
Issue number5
Early online date19 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • Finland
  • Groundwater management
  • Numerical modeling
  • Uncertainty analysis
  • Wetlands


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