Hydrogeologist explains the risks of uncontrolled pumping

Panayiotis Sabatakakis, a hydrogeologist at the Greek Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME), explained: «Uncontrolled pumping of ground water from the water table has already caused landslides in Greece. It is not something new nor unknown to the international scientific community. However, in urban areas, such as the Attica basin, the effects may be completely different as the area is densely built up.» Sabatakakis maintains that «landslides occur in areas when artesian underground aquifers are under pressure and overpumped. Then the airtight clay soil that usually forms a layer over the aquifer compresses due to the overpumping of water and has to bear all the weight of the soils above it. The clay soil loses its thickness and causes the soils above to slide. In the Attica basin, boreholes (by both private individuals and municipalities) have been opened since 1990 (after the drought) and it is unknown what quantity of water is being pumped and from which aquifers. No one therefore can say with certainty what impact this will have on structures.»