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Sweden's unusually wet September is good news for water shortage recovery

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Sweden's unusually wet September is good news for water shortage recovery
Rain in Sweden is cause for celebration this year. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
08:44 CEST+02:00
A miserably wet Swedish September may not seem like cause for celebration, but the weather has helped ease the water shortage the country was fretting over earlier in 2017, with two to three times the usual precipitation making sure groundwater reserves are starting to replenish.

According to national forecaster SMHI, Götaland in the south and Norrland in the north have had the most rain so far in September. At the top of the list is Holmbo in Östergötland, where 129 millimetres fell in two weeks. The normal level for that area is 62 millimetres over the entire month of September.

At the start of the summer the alarm was raised over groundwater levels in Sweden being at their lowest for several years, but now smaller groundwater reserves where many wells take their water have started to fill.

"If there are very low levels then twice as much rainfall than normal is required over three to four weeks so that the smaller reserves return to normal, but there can be local variations," Johan Carlström from the Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU) told news agency TT.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Sweden's water shortage

According to SMHI and SGU's mapping, the levels in smaller reserves are over or significantly over the normal level in large parts of Götaland, and the same applies to reserves on the Norrland coast from Umeå northwards.

But not everywhere is in the clear, with levels still far below normal in Uppland and Västmanland. And larger reserves, which take more time to fill and where many cities take their water, are still well under the usual level in several places.

On Gotland, where warnings were raised about a major water shortage in spring, things are mixed. Both large and small reserves on the south of the island have been replenished, but levels in the north are still well under the usual. The county administrative board thinks it is too early to be concerned however.

"I'm hoping for more rain during the autumn and a lot of snow during winter, which slowly melts and contributes to the groundwater. Because vegetation is still alive a lot of the recent rain is taken up by them," Frida Eklund from the Gotland county administrative board’s environment and water department explained.

On top of groundwater reserves, many cities take their water from lakes and other streams which have quickly been filled by the heavy rain so far in autumn.

READ ALSO: Swedish officials dance to make rain, but it doesn't work

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