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Drought situation 24.5.2023

Soil moisture decreases and groundwater levels have started to fall

Soil moisture has begun to decrease, and groundwater levels have started or are starting to decline in most parts of the country. On the southwest coast, the soil is already low in water in some places. The impact of the melting snow and frost is still visible especially in the northern part of the country, where the soil is wet, and the groundwater levels are at their highest.

In the southern and central parts of the country, the water levels of small groundwater deposits are mainly close to the averages for the period or approximately 10–25 cm below the normal level in May. In places, the levels are higher than the May average. In the north, the levels of small deposits are mostly close to the average or 10–40 cm above it. In Kainuu and Northern Lapland, water from the melting snow and frost has raised the water levels even higher in places.

The water levels of large and medium-sized groundwater bodies in the southern part of the country vary by about 25 cm on both sides of the average for the period. In the central part of the country, the water levels are in many places at a normal level or 10–35 cm higher, in some places even higher. In Northern Finland, the water levels of large and medium bodies are mostly close to or 10–40 cm above the averages for the period.

Soil moisture decreases and groundwater levels usually fall throughout the summer. Warm weather and plants increase evaporation, allowing less water to be absorbed through the soil layers and become groundwater. Typically, soil moisture increases, and groundwater reserves begin to fill only in the autumn, but heavy rainfall may also increase groundwater levels in the summer.


How should I prepare for droughts?

A period of drought may reduce the volume and impair the quality of well waters and also hamper farming and horticulture. Droughts can and should be prepared for.

Monitor and plan ahead

A drought does not develop overnight, so do not let it catch you by surprise! Watch for the symptoms of draught in your environment and listen to weather forecasts. Observe the groundwater and soil moisture situation in your area and monitor the water level in your well. Find out where you can obtain water if your well runs dry. If you use tap water, keep an eye on any notifications issued by the water utility.

Be observant and store water

When the water level drops in your well, the quality of water may deteriorate. Observe the quality of your well water and if you suspect a quality defect, stop using the water in the kitchen and have it tested. Where possible, you can also store water for future use in a tank or irrigation basin, however remembering that the quality of stagnant water deteriorates quickly.

Start irrigation in time

You should start irrigating your crops early rather than late. If the ground surface is already dry, it is less absorbent and the water runs away. In lands prone to drought, draught risks should be taken into account when selecting crops for cultivation. The harms caused by drought can additionally be mitigated by selecting suitable tillage methods and other cultivation techniques.

Fun facts about droughts