Description of groundwater droughts in the UK: 1890 to 2015

Durant, M.. 2015 Description of groundwater droughts in the UK: 1890 to 2015. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 52pp. (OR/15/007) (Unpublished)

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Droughts pose a threat to lives and livelihoods in many parts of the world and may also cause significant problems in temperate areas, including in the UK; a humid country, but one marked by significant regional and temporal/inter-annual variations in rainfall. For example, the recent UK drought of 2010-2012 (Kendon et al., 2013) exemplified many of these challenges. Despite its unusually abrupt termination, the drought had major impacts on agriculture, the environment and recreation, and was the focus of extensive media and public debate. As part of a NERC directed programme on Drought and Water Scarcity in the UK (, a project to investigate and characterise episodes of historic drought and water scarcity in the UK using a systems-based study of drivers and impacts was awarded to a consortium led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrolgy (CEH) and including the BGS. The project started in 2014 and will run until 2018. One of the aims of the study is to develop an inventory of droughts, including groundwater droughts, in the UK. This BGS report is the first contribution to the development of such an inventory and builds on the work of Bloomfield and Marchant (2013) who through development of the Standardised Groundwater level Index (SGI) were the first to systematically document groundwater droughts in the UK using groundwater level time series since the late 19th C. In this report groundwater drought events identified in those time series are explored further by placing them in the hydrometeorological context and by describing their impacts as recorded in the literature of the time and subsequently. The work described in this report was undertaken by Mason Durant in January 2015 as part of Research Assistant placement with BGS Groundwater Science Directorate, Wallingford.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Funders/Sponsors: NERC
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed but not externally peer-reviewed
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Groundwater drought
Date made live: 04 Sep 2015 14:33 +0 (UTC)

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