Hydrogeology of British military sites: Project Aquatrine
Project Aquatrine was the UK Ministry of Defence's Private Finance Initiative project to transfer responsibility for water supply and waste water removal to private companies. Britain was split into three geographical areas, with Package A approximately covering the area to the west of a line between the Mersey and Southampton, Package C covering the rest of England, and Package B covering Scotland. Hydrogeology was a major factor in the models used to produce financial forecasts for Package A, upon which the winning bid was based. Reconnaissance-level understanding of aquifers, water demand and the Environment Agency's view of licensing possibilities were used to produce a list of sites where water resources could be developed to replace the incumbent water suppliers. Several sites have been developed successfully, but a number of possible abstractions have failed to be realized because of hydrogeological (quality, quantity) and other causes. In the operational phase of Aquatrine, hydrogeology was used to understand the data produced by a new network of telemetred groundwater level loggers, to constrain the location of new sewage treatment works and to apply for appropriate abstraction licences when Crown Immunity under the Water Resources Act 1991 is finally lost.
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This book, generated under the auspices of the Geological Society of London’s History of Geology and Hydrogeological Groups, contains 20 papers from authors in the UK, USA, Germany and Austria. Historically, it gives examples of the influence of groundwater on battlefield tactics and fortress construction; describes how groundwater was developed for water supply and overcome as an obstacle to military engineering and cross-country vehicular movement by both sides in World Wars I and II; and culminates with examples of the application of hydrogeology to site boreholes in recent conflicts, notably in Afghanistan. Examples of current research described include hydrological model development; the impact of variations in soil moisture on explosive threat detection and cross-country vehicle mobility; contamination arising from defence sites and its remediation; privatization of water supplies; and the equitable allocation of resources derived from an international transboundary aquifer.