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A semi-quantitative technique for mapping potential aquifer productivity on the national scale: example of England and Wales (UK)
- Abesser, Corinna, Lewis, Melinda
- Hydrogeology journal 2015 v.23 no.8 pp. 1677-1694
- aquifers, data collection, drilling, energy resources, expert opinion, geophysics, geostatistics, groundwater, heat, kriging, planning, water management, England, Wales
- The development and validation of aquifer productivity and depth-to-source maps for England and Wales are described. Aquifer productivity maps can provide valuable support for the assessment, planning and management of groundwater and renewable heat energy resources. Aquifer productivity is often mapped using geostatistical interpolation techniques such as kriging, but these techniques tend to be unsuitable for mapping at the national scale due to the high data (and time) demands. A methodology is outlined for mapping aquifer productivity at the national scale using existing national-scale data sets. Pumping test data are used to characterise the potential borehole yields that different geological formations of varying lithologies and ages can provide. Based on this analysis and using expert knowledge, the corresponding map codes on the geological map are assigned to potential productivity classes. The subsurface (concealed) extent of aquifer units is mapped from geophysical data, and together with the attributed geological map, provide the bedrock-aquifer productivity map. Drilling and pumping costs can be an important consideration when evaluating the feasibility of developing a groundwater source. Thus, a map of the approximate depth to source is developed alongside the aquifer productivity map. The maps are validated using independent data sets, and map performance is compared against performance from maps derived by random and uniform attribution. The results show that the maps successfully predict potential productivity and approximate depth to the water source, although utility of the depth-to-source map could be improved by increasing the vertical discretisation at which depth intervals are mapped.