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Use of the deep subsurface in the UK: what are the implications for groundwater resources?

11 - 12 July 2018
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Event type:
Organised by:
Hydrogeological Group, British Geological Survey, International Association of Hydrogeologists, 2018 Year of Resources
The Geological Society, Burlington House
Event status:

There is renewed interest in the deep (>200 m below ground level) onshore sub-surface in the UK, with increasing exploration for, and development of:

  • conventional and unconventional oil and gas
  • geothermal energy
  • potash mining
  • and for storage purposes including:
  • nuclear waste
  • natural gas
  • carbon dioxide.

However, the use of the deep subsurface introduces significant technological challenges and with this an element of risk to groundwater resources, both in terms of quality and quantity. To effectively assess and manage the risks, a far better understanding of natural hydrogeological conditions (physical, chemical and biological) at depth and the hazards and potential impacts associated with the different activities is required. This presents unique challenges due to difficulties accessing, measuring and/or retrieving information from the deep subsurface.

This meeting will bring together a range of stakeholders including those responsible for policy and decision making, researchers and technologists to discuss the current state of knowledge and identify the critical gaps that need to be addressed to better understand, assess and manage the risks to groundwater from deep sub-surface activities along with the associated uncertainties.We welcome contributions related to:

  • Characterisation — of deep groundwater systems and pathways to shallower groundwater, aquifers and groundwater-dependent surface environments, 
  • Flow and transport — understanding of flow and transport processes in deep groundwater systems and along migration pathways,
  • Environmental risks and impacts — including cumulative impacts on groundwater quality and quantity, from the development of deep sub-surface resources or storage,
  • Policy challenges — legislation, regulation and planning in relation to deep groundwater systems and activities, and
  • Communication and engagement — how can we better communicate risks and foster improved engagement with communities affected by use of the deep subsurface

Studies may include field measurements, geophysics, modelling, and laboratory experiments among others.  It is anticipated that contributions will have a UK focus but talks demonstrating international experience that is directly relevant to the UK context are also encouraged. The programme will be framed to promote the dissemination of research and sharing of knowledge between research communities and with a relevance to those involved with planning, policy and decision making.

Keynote speakers:

Kevin Parkes (Alberta Energy Regulator)
Irena Gaus (Nagra)
Avner Vengosh (Duke University)

Website now live: Hydro Group


Tim Besien (Environment Agency), John Bloomfield (BGS), Ian Davey (Environment Agency), Barnaby Harding (ESI), Stefan Krause (University of Birmingham), Sian Loveless (BGS), Ulrich Ofterdinger (Queen’s University, Belfast), Mike Rivett (GroundH2O plus), Sarah Scott (Environment Agency), Rob Ward (BGS), Fred Worrall (Durham University)


Registration details - please see website. Final Day for Registration - Friday 6th July.


We would welcome sponsorship for this conference. Sponsors will receive promotion at the event. Details of the packages can be provided on request. If you would like to find out more please contact Barnaby Harding. Email: Barnaby Harding

Convenor Contact

Sian Loveless

Sian Loveless