Bromsgrove Permo-Triassic Sandstone: Regional groundwater model

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Courtesy of ESI Ltd - Environment Specialists

Client: Environment Agency

Location: Bromsgrove, UK

Services: Groundwater Modelling

Issues: Management of groundwater resources in the Bromsgrove area

Summary: ESI was commissioned by the Environment Agency to develop a regional groundwater model of the Bromsgrove Permo-Triassic sandstone aquifer.  This aquifer is highly impacted by abstraction and the model has tested water resource management strategies with the aim of improving flows in watercourses and reducing the reliance on the ‘alleviation of low flows’ (ALF) boreholes which are currently augmenting the streams.

The Bromsgrove Sherwood Sandstone aquifer in the south west Midlands has been used for public water supply since 1877.  Abstraction rates increased throughout the 20th century until the unit was closed to further abstraction licensing in 1983 due to falling groundwater levels.  Despite recent reductions in PWS abstraction, the Bromsgrove West and South GWMUs are both still considered to be over-abstracted and have been targeted for their Water Framework Directive (WFD) quantitative status to be improved from poor to good by 2027.

The Environment Agency commissioned ESI to work with them to develop a regional groundwater model of the aquifer.  The aim was to provide the Agency with a detailed technical tool to assist with the management of water resources in the area. 

The complex geology of the area and dewatered conditions beneath the majority of the water courses meant that a multilayered model was required in order to simulate vertical flows within the aquifer.

The model was successfully calibrated against the extensive hydrometric dataset for the catchment.  It was then used to run scenarios to predict the effects of different water resource management strategies on groundwater levels and stream flows.

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