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Recharge calculations based on daily soil moisture balance models define the resource available for most regional-scale groundwater models used by the environmental regulator in England and Wales. A switch in recent years from the Penman–Grindley methodology to the Food and Agricultural Organization approach has improved the representation of soil properties in these calculations. A new Meteorological Office algorithm for calculating potential evapotranspiration inputs has also been adopted and rain-gauge data processing on individual models are currently being streamlined towards the use of nationally derived grids. A range of infiltration, bypass and runoff–recharge mechanisms have been conceptualized and modelled incorporating simple representation of unsaturated zone storage and flow processes. This paper reviews the recent changes adopted and considers future challenges.

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