Where does your drinking water come from in Hungary?

Is it  karst water from a limestone mountain? Or is it bank filtered water from a nearby river? Is it perhaps hidden deep under the ground?
The source of drinking water is called raw water. It can be groundwater, surface water or even rainwater. The source of water influences water quality, chemical composition, and physiological effect. Raw water requires water treatment technologies. For drinking water supply groundwater is preferred as it is less vulnerable and thus usually has better quality than surface water. As a result, groundwater needs less treatment which means fewer chemicals in it as well.
Since shallow groundwater can easily be contaminated by bacteria and nitrates due to agricultural landuse, it’s advisable to look for deeper aquifers. Water spends here a very long time, ca. 10.000 years or more. During that time water interacts with rocks which leads to high dissolved mineral content. It can be beneficent for human health (e.g. medicinal water), however  many natural con…

Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR)

Perhaps some of you harvest rainwater from roof-tops to irrigate, collect surface runoff water from the hillside, or have drinking water from bank filtration. Previous examples are called managed aquifer recharge – MAR systems.
The MAR technology is based on the aquifers’ artificially inhanced recharge in an eco-friendly way to guarantee groundwater’s appropriate quality, chemical composition and quantity. Surface water, rainwater, or even treated wastewater can be used as recharge water according to the MAR system’s purpose: stop water level decrease in arid regions or seasons and have enough water reserve for agriculture and vegetation. Treated wastewater can be used for this purpose;store water under the ground which can be more efficient than storing surface water. Groundwater is naturally protected from surface contamination and evaporation loss, so we can preserve more water in a better quality;purify water naturally. Some pollutants are stuck during infiltration through the uns…


Sustainable agriculture, sustainable fashion, sustainable development, sustainable future, sustainable water resources management… Most of us have already heard about these expressions. However, it may be hard to define exactly what sustainability is. Moreover, is it an achievable goal for humanity to develop sustainably, or only a dream that never comes true?
In 1987, the United Nation’s Brundtland report defined sustainable development as „it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The definition clearly shows the limits: now we cannot know humanity’s future needs. On one hand, current development and welfare is unimaginable without the use of natural resources, so we cannot keep all of them for future generations. But on the other hand, wasting resources can mean the end of development one day. We must find the best way of sustainability between the previous two extremes.
In terms of sustainability the most imp…

Water resource management

Water is one of the most important natural resource. As you could read in the previous post, untreated „raw” water is usually not suitable for human consumption due to the natural biological and chemical processes and human pollution. Water must fulfill very high quality standards to be safe to drink in bottled form or through water pipes. Not surprisingly, drinking water is the most controlled foodstuff in Hungary.
The best way to protect our water resources is to prevent pollution and keep surface water and aquifers safe from contamination. As a first step, we must do hydrogeological researches to recognise local geological and groundwater conditions and put it into a regional perspective. Based on this knowledge, we can plan safety regulations and create source protection zones. These areas are defined based on the hydrological basin’s groundwater flow conditions, potential sources of pollution, and geological data. As a result, hydrogeologists can count how fast the pollution coul…

Groundwater pollution

In the last two centuries, human pollution has been getting more and more dangerous to nature. We utilize the resources and flood the planet with chemicals, garbage, and plastic. Groundwater is no exception, moreover its vulnerability is even higher due to „invisibility” and it’s easy to forget about its protection. Although groundwater is naturally more protected than surface water, we can find in it lots of natural and artificial pollutants. It’s important to keep in mind that these two elements of water cycle are always in contact with one another and cannot be managed separately, as we will see in the following incidence from Miskolc. 2006 May was a very rainy month in the city with 215,8 mm precipitation just in 2 weeks on the 76 km2 drainage area of the city’s drinking water wells (as a comparison, the hungarian average is 500-750 mm per year). This enormous amount of water accumulated on the surface and transferred the bacteriological pollutants into the vulnerable karst aquif…

Groundwater and Mining

The discipline of hydrogeology is essential for mining activities as a part of a complex geological-engineering knowledge. There­ are two main considerable connections between mining and water. First one is that mining activities mean a huge intervention in natural processes which is also true for the water cycle on regional scale. Furthermore, it is well-known that water can easily mobilize and transport natural and anthropogenic contamination. In the following, we can see the details of these two effects to make a better understand of mining–water connection. 
To understand the changes in water cycle we must keep in mind that – according to modern hydrogeology – in the saturated zone, under the groundwater level every pore is filled with water. Therefore, if the mineral is under the groundwater level, the water table must be sunk below. This is usually achieved by pumping wells creating a depression cone. The artificially generated depression can cause changes in the groundwater f…

Impact of irrigation on groundwater

The world's population is currently growing at an unprecedented rate. According to forecasts, it can exceed 9.5 billion by 2050. Supplying a growing population brings new challenges to agriculture. As the amount of cultivable areas are limited, we must enhance crop yield to have enough food.
But how is it all related to groundwater? To understand the answer, we have to know that about 85% of the population lives in arid areas, where irrigation is the key to grow plants. Nowadays, 43% of all water used for irrigation comes from groundwater resources. Due to climate change and the vulnerability of surface waters, this ratio is expected to increase.
However, if we are not careful enough, intensive agricultural activity and, as part of this, irrigation can be dangerous to the environment. The most e…