Abstract

Abstract

An early warning system has been developed for groundwater flooding and trialled in the Patcham area of Brighton. It provides a fit-for-purpose approach for forecasting groundwater flood events in the Chalk and is capable of operating across longer time scales than had previously been possible. The method involves a set of nested steps or tasks. Initially, the catchment's response to recharge is determined and, using a representative hydrograph, a simple regression model that relates annual groundwater level minima and autumn and winter rainfall to subsequent annual maxima is developed. The regression model is then applied at the end of each summer recession using the observed annual minimum and estimates of winter rainfall to predict the following groundwater level maximum. Based on the results of this prediction a variety of steps may then be appropriate. Where the model predicts potentially high groundwater levels the frequency of groundwater level monitoring observations can be increased. A novel element of the method developed is the monitoring of changes in the matric potential of the unsaturated zone. Specific trigger levels to initiate either the next step of the method or promulgation of warnings of varying severity will be developed through experience of use of the system.

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