Three types of groundwater can be differentiated: shallow groundwater, aquifers and fissure water.
Shallow groundwater is located above the first confining layer, aquifers are situated in the pores
and capillaries of rocks between confining layers (in some cases under artesian water under pressure);
whereas fissure water can be found amongst the cracks/fissures of rocks such as kastic waters.
The importance of these is evident in the public water supply, because 90-95% of the tap-water is
supplied from groundwater resources. The quality and quantity of groundwaters are endangered by
human activities such as abstraction, mining, agriculture, livestock, and potential pollution
sources (storage in soil, industrial plants, etc.).
Pollution moves from the surface to shallow groundwater and than to aquifers. Therefore, it is essential
to protect such groundwater resources where the pollution is not reduced by natural soil filtration
or confining layer. The pollution in case of groundwaters is long lasting, sometimes the retention
and be even decades or centuries. Furthermore, the main problem is that if the decay or immobilisation
of the pollutant does not occur immediately, than the contamination might lasts forever in the groundwater
In these years, the most important aim is the prevention of the natural or good status, the remediation
of the contaminated lands, and the achievement of the good status in all groundwater bodies. In general,
this means that the quality of the groundwater should be suitable for human consumption and its current
status should be sustained.
In Hungary, laws and regulations regulate the above conditions. The territory of Hungary is divided
based on sensitivity classes (very sensitive, sensitive, less sensitive). The sensitivity classes
define what kind of activities can be permitted and what emission limit has to be met by the activity.
Settlements and other areas are differentiated. The national groundwater monitoring system operated
by the regional relevant authorities controls continuously the groundwater quantity and quality.
The design of the network and the monitored parameters are set according to the EU Water Framework
Directive. Surveillance monitoring occurs at every 6 year, therefore, the sensitivity maps can
be redrawn based on these data, and the change in sensitivity can be detected.
Information on activities that are potentially endanger the quality of the groundwaters are collected
by the regional relevant authorities. This information is stored in the Water Quality Damage Prevention
GIS System (VIKÁR), in the Environmental Register of Ground waters and Geological Formations (FAVI)
and in the Remediation Information System (KÁRINFO). Measurements are carried out by the authorities,
but data and information are also provided by those who do the activity on obligatory bases.
If for some reasons, pollution occur, and it exceeds the concentration limit set by the regulations,
remediation action has to be done. These processes are coordinated by the Hungarian National Environmental
Remediation Programme (OKKP).