Shropshire Permo-Triassic sandstone: Regional groundwater model

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Courtesy of ESI Ltd - Environment Specialists

Client: Environment Agency

Location: Shropshire

Services: Groundwater Modelling

Issues: Management of groundwater resources in Shropshire

Summary: ESI was commissioned by the Environment Agency to develop a regional groundwater model of the East Shropshire Permo-Triassic sandstone aquifer.  The model enabled management of water resources in the area by allowing scenarios to be run to predict the effects of different water resource management strategies on groundwater levels and stream flows.

The Permo-Triassic sandstone aquifer of Shropshire forms a regionally significant water resource which is exploited for both public water supply and for river regulation (the Shropshire Groundwater Scheme).  However, water resources in parts of the area are under pressure.  The Environment Agency therefore 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.

Initially ESI provided one of its most experienced hydrogeologists on secondment to work closely with relevant Environment Agency staff to carry out a scoping study.  This showed that different approaches were appropriate to different parts of the aquifer, varying from simple water balance studies and investigative modelling to regional groundwater modelling.

ESI was commissioned to work with the Environment Agency to develop a groundwater model of East Shropshire.  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.

In particular, the model was used to assess the likely net yield of the phased development of the Shropshire Groundwater Scheme and to assess the sustainability of this conjunctive use scheme under drought conditions.

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