Characterising variations in the salinity of deep groundwater systems: A case study from Great Britain (GB)

Bloomfield, J.P. ORCID:; Lewis, M.A.; Newell, A.J.; Loveless, S.E.; Stuart, M.E.. 2020 Characterising variations in the salinity of deep groundwater systems: A case study from Great Britain (GB). Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 28, 100684.

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Study region The study region is Great Britain (GB), a small non-continental island landmass in North West Europe Study focus Data for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) from groundwater samples can be used to characterise regional-scale variations in the quality of deep groundwater systems. Combined with information about typical well-depths, TDS data can be used to identify the presence of currently undeveloped fresh or brackish groundwater at depth that may require protection. This study considers the distribution of TDS with depth relative to sea level in the main GB aquifers and selected other key hydrogeological units, and demonstrates how useful insights can be obtained from data-led analyses of depth variations in groundwater chemistry if the regional context of hydrogeological systems is taken into account. New hydrogeological insights In GB, TDS varies over about five orders of magnitude, up to about 330,000 mg/L, with a general increase in mineralisation with depth. Overall, there is a transition from fresh <1625 mg/L to brackish <10,000 mg/L groundwater at about 500 m below surface, and from brackish to saline >10,000 mg/L groundwater at about 700 m. Given that the 95 %tile depth of water wells is about 200 m, it is evident that there is currently undeveloped fresh groundwater at depth across large parts of the study area that may require protection, although it is inferred that TDS is not the only factor limiting exploitation and use of these deeper resources. As in this study, previous data-led analyses of fresh groundwater at depth have typically analysed TDS as depth below surface. However, if TDS data is analysed relative to sea level and in the context of regional hydrogeological information or models, additional insights can be gained on the distribution and controls on fresh groundwater at depth. Projecting TDS data into a 3D hydrogeological model of the study area shows that fresh groundwater at depth exhibits spatial coherence and is generally associated with relatively deep

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 22145818
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Aquifer characterisation, Groundwater quality, Hydrogeological data
Date made live: 14 Apr 2020 14:04 +0 (UTC)

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