There is a requirement to estimate the impact of changes in land cover and climatic parameters on groundwater recharge. A simple, causal, spatially distributed soil water balance model for estimating direct groundwater recharge is described. The potential use of this model is illustrated by the results of a study carried out in a Chalk surface water catchment in southern England. The study estimates the response of mean annual groundwater recharge to land cover changes which took place between 1990 and 1997. It is concluded that, in this case, the change in land cover significantly alters the pattern of recharge but, by coincidence, that the total for the catchment is unchanged.

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