A successful model: 30 years of the Lincolnshire Chalk model
Published:January 01, 2012
M. J. Hutchinson, R. G. S. Ingram, M. W. Grout, P. J. Hayes, 2012. "A successful model: 30 years of the Lincolnshire Chalk model", 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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The Lincolnshire Chalk aquifer on the east coast of England is used regionally for water supply. However, groundwater abstraction can exceed recharge during times of drought, resulting in saline intrusion. Following hydrogeological investigations in the 1970s and 1980s, a regional groundwater model was developed to underpin the tactical management of the aquifer. Although it is a coarse, single-layer, constant-density model, routine regulatory use of the model since 1988 has enabled a sustainable level of groundwater abstraction to be reached and brought saline intrusion under control. Abstraction rates have been proactively adjusted to suit prevailing conditions using model forecasts. Forecasts are evaluated against model-based thresholds, set by comparing model output (e.g. aquifer–estuary flux) with observed data (e.g. groundwater salinity). The success of the model in managing groundwater resources is attributed to: field-based hydrogeological investigations informing the model design; collaboration between regulators and abstractors, which has built confidence in the model results; commitment to updating the model; and flexibility in the supply network through conjunctive use of ground and surface water. The model has also been applied for purposes not considered during development and has therefore provided value for money for the UK water industry over a 30 year period.
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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.