A national approach to groundwater modelling: developing a programme and establishing technical standards
Published:January 01, 2012
K. R. Rushton, A. C. Skinner, 2012. "A national approach to groundwater modelling: developing a programme and establishing technical standards", Groundwater Resources Modelling: A Case Study from the UK, M. G. Shepley, M. I. Whiteman, P. J. Hulme, M. W. Grout
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In the 1970s regional groundwater modelling began to be used in support of many hydrogeological investigations in the UK. A number of the studies were concerned with groundwater development at a regional scale in conjunctive use schemes; elsewhere the effect of pumping from aquifers on river flows or the ingress of saline water was considered. Due to the limited power of digital computers at that time, special numerical codes were often prepared for individual projects, with consequent inefficiency and inconsistency of practice. However, by the mid 1990s the need to formalize and standardize groundwater modelling projects was recognized. The Environment Agency of England and Wales prepared a strategy to manage and monitor the projects. A Template Project Brief was prepared to define the many tasks involved in groundwater studies and to clarify the roles of contractor and client (Environment Agency). In addition Guidance Notes were prepared to disseminate procedures and techniques that had resulted in successful outcomes. This paper summarizes some of the earlier studies, provides information about the Project Brief and Guidance Notes and illustrates some critical issues in groundwater modelling by reference to two case studies.
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Groundwater Resources Modelling: A Case Study from the UK
The UK is a country with over 150 years of widespread exploitation of its principal aquifers for public water supply. Increasing demands, greater awareness of environmental pressures and more exacting legislation has heightened the need for quantitative models to predict the impacts of groundwater use. In the UK this has culminated in a unique national, regulator-led programme for England and Wales to develop conceptual and numerical models of the principal bedrock aquifers.
The outcomes of this programme will be of interest to the international hydrogeological community, particularly as international legislation such as the European Water Framework Directive requires management of water issues across administrative boundaries with a varied cast of stakeholders.
The collection of papers provides a contrast between practitioner- and research-based approaches to assess and predict the anthropogenic impacts and environmental pressures. Many insights are provided on how the regular use of groundwater models may address the environmental challenges of the future.