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Abstract

Six regional recharge and groundwater models have been recently developed of the Chalk and Upper Greensand from Dorset to Kent. Updated Chalk stratigraphy and mapping have improved understanding of geological structure and the development of preferential groundwater flow pathways along hardground horizons. Where shallow dipping folds bring these into the zone of active groundwater flow, extensive ‘underdrainage’ may result in marked differences between surface and groundwater catchments. Hardgrounds and marls are also associated with spring discharges, as are some faults and the clay formations that underlie or confine the aquifer system. Higher specific yield within the Upper Greensand helps support summer baseflow, as do local groundwater discharges from augmentation schemes, watercress and fish farm operations. The aquifer system has been successfully modelled using the ‘variable hydraulic conductivity with depth’ version of MODFLOW. Depths of secondary permeability development have been distributed according to ground and groundwater level data. Interfluve–valley contrasts overlie a base hydraulic conductivity set according to the formation saturated at the water table and enhanced by active hardgrounds. Local parameter overrides may also be needed. The Wessex Basin conceptual and numerical model is described before summarizing similarities and contrasts from the other five regional model areas.

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