The principal hydrogeological provinces are identified and briefly described. The main aquifers are in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic cover which overlies the Hercynian basement. North of the Hercynian Front, an older cover of the Devonian and Carboniferous rocks, resting on Caledonian basement, contains aquifers of secondary importance. Groundwater is a very essential component of freshwater supplies in Western Europe.

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