Nitrate transport in Chalk catchments : monitoring, modelling and policy implications

Jackson, B M; Browne, C A; Butler, A P; Peach, Denis; Wade, A J; Wheater, H S. 2007 Nitrate transport in Chalk catchments : monitoring, modelling and policy implications. Environmental science & policy, 11 (2). 125-135.

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Rising nitrate levels have been observed in UK Chalk catchments in recent decades, with concentrations now approaching or exceeding legislated maximum values in many areas. In response, strategies seeking to contain concentrations through appropriate land management are now in place. However, there is an increasing consensus that Chalk systems, a predominant landscape type over England and indeed northwest Europe, can retard decades of prior nitrate loading within their deep unsaturated zones. Current levels may not fully reflect the long-term impact of present-day practices, and stringent land management controls may not be enough to avert further medium-term rises. This paper discusses these issues in the context of the EU Water Framework Directive, drawing on data from recent experimental work and a new model (INCA-Chalk) that allows the impacts of different land use management practices to be explored. Results strongly imply that timelines for water quality improvement demanded by the Water Framework directive are not realistic for the Chalk, and give an indication of time-scales over which improvements might be achieved. However, important unresolved scientific issues remain, and further monitoring and targeted data collection is recommended to reduce prediction uncertainties and allow cost effective strategies for mitigation to be designed and implemented.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2008 > Groundwater resources
ISSN: 1462-9011
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Nitrate pollution, Groundwater monitoring, Groundwater modelling, Groundwater protection
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Related URLs:
Date made live: 29 Sep 2008 10:47 +0 (UTC)

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