Head of Research Programme: Chief Scientist Antti Pasanen
The aim of the groundwater and rock material research programme is to produce research information that supports society's decision-making and the needs of the business sector. The information gathered includes the geological structure of groundwater bodies, the amount and quality of groundwater (and changes to them), and the geological characteristics of rock material used in construction work (taking into consideration the sustainable use of natural resources and the quality requirements of new applications).
Groundwater is the most valuable natural resource in Finland, and its high quality, small need for purification and low risk of contamination favour its use. Over 60% of water distributed by general water supply facilities is artificial groundwater or groundwater. The efficient and sustainable use of groundwater requires good knowledge of the hydrogeology, geohydrology, and geochemistry of the groundwater areas, and of the surface waters, soil ecosystems and water ecosystems dependent on groundwater. Groundwater is an important source of raw water and the lifeline for society, but it is also an important factor of almost all activities within the Earth's crust.
Rock materials of soil and bedrock, commonly known as construction rock materials, form the largest sector of the extractive industry in Finland in terms of both production volumes and revenue. Production of these basic materials needed by society is tightly connected to environmental aspects, especially to groundwater protection, scenery preservation and attractiveness of the environment. Urbanisation, increasing environmental limitations, the uneven geographical distribution of raw materials needed for different applications, and the development of international markets and European quality standardisation set the framework for the research and development work that can help to secure the availability of rock materials for different applications in different parts of Finland in a sustainable way.
The key results include increased information about the impact of human activities and global climate change on the quantity and quality of groundwater and on surface waters and ecosystems dependent on groundwater. The results give us more insight into the current state of groundwater. The results can also be used to predict the state and behaviour of groundwater areas that are crucial to water supply. The programme also gives us new information about the compliance of the rock materials and natural rocks with the quality requirements of different applications and their geological characteristics in new applications. In order to consolidate the rock material activities and the groundwater management, for example the environmental impact of excavation under the groundwater is investigated.