Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 5, pp 4109–4118 | Cite as

A GIS-based method for predicting groundwater discharge areas in esker aquifers in the Boreal region

  • Riku EskelinenEmail author
  • Pertti Ala-aho
  • Pekka M. Rossi
  • Bjørn Kløve
Original Article


In the Boreal region, anticline eskers aquifers are recharged in upland hillslopes and water discharges in the surrounding lowlands. Organic peat soils often confine the aquifer discharge area and drainage of these confining peat layers can decrease the flow resistance in the peat soil, which may cause unintentional groundwater level drawdown. This poses a risk to groundwater bodies and their good water status in the Boreal region. To increase awareness of the risk areas and to assess potential areas for drainage restoration, a model based on geographical information systems (GIS) was developed to predict the locations of high groundwater discharge. The output of the model is a map highlighting the potential areas where groundwater is more likely to discharge. The model output was validated with stream flow data collected from two eskers located in Finland. The developed GIS model is recommended as a tool to delineate groundwater protection areas where drainage of the peat soil should not be allowed and for assessing areas where such drainage networks could be restored to protect vulnerable groundwater systems.


Groundwater vulnerability Groundwater management Drainage Geographical information systems 



This work was funded by the 7th framework project GENESIS (226536) and Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki r.y.

Supplementary material

12665_2015_4491_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (9.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (JPEG 9516 kb) Presentation of validation data surrounding the Rokua esker

Supplementary material 2 (MPG 34182 kb) A video comparison between HGS and model1

12665_2015_4491_MOESM3_ESM.tif (1.3 mb)
Supplementary material 3 (TIFF 1367 kb) Fieldwork results at different parts of the drainage networks surrounding the Rokua esker


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riku Eskelinen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pertti Ala-aho
    • 1
  • Pekka M. Rossi
    • 1
  • Bjørn Kløve
    • 1
  1. 1.Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Laboratory, Department of Process and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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