Integrating geothermal project development and water management issues

18 March 2021

Geothermal energy projects must be prioritised, and development accelerated to reach the European Commission’s 55% emissions reduction target by 2030. In a vast majority of geological settings geothermal energy is produced thanks to the abstraction of thermal groundwater, which carries the energy to surface. However, these thermal groundwater resources may be valuable assets for other applications (for example for balneological use). Furthermore, they are often in hydraulic connection with other shallower aquifers used for other purposes (e.g. drinking water).

During drilling, unwanted connection among aquifers through the wells may cause disturbance of non-targeted, or protected aquifers. In addition, the excessive production of thermal groundwater or the lack of reinjection may lead to the modifications of the reservoirs’ physical and chemical status, or have negative impacts on the surface ecosystems in case thermal water is discharged on the surface. Therefore, the effective completion of geothermal projects and their sustainable operation requires the consideration of water management aspects as well, regulated by the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).

In this event the expert panel discussed the complex interactions between groundwater management and geothermal energy production aspects, potential conflicts and synergies from policy, industry and scientific point of view. It also outlined a set of recommendations and best practices for enabling a viable governance of geothermal resources considering different priorities of uses and protection of aquifers.


  • Introduction  Philippe Dumas, Secretary General of EGEC and GEOENVI project coordinator 
  • GEOENVI Recommendations on aquifer interferences and reservoir physical disturbances  Annamaria Nador, Senior Researcher, Mining and Geological Survey of Hungary 

Session 1: National overview 


Session 2: Round table “How to facilitate the dialogue between water management and geothermal energy use?” 

The speakers of Session 1 will discuss with: 

  • Riccardo Corsi, Italian Geothermal Association UGI, Italy 
  • Kai Zosseder, TU Munich, Germany 
  • Anette Kaergaard Mortensen, LandsvirkjunIceland  
  • Ywan de JongheVlaamse Milieumaatschappij, Belgium 

Q&A session with the audience 


Watch the recording of the GEOENVI webinar here:



18 March 2021

10:00 am -12:00pm (CET)