One of the major geological units beneath the Thames Basin is the Chalk, which represents one of the largest aquifers within the UK and is therefore an essential water resource for the Thames region. This not only includes water resources for several essential services, including public drinking water, but also plays a major contribution to river flow and wetland habitats within the catchment.
The security of this water resource is under threat from a number of factors including changing climate, particularly sea-level rise and its effect on groundwater processes, as well as demand from an increasing population and urbanisation.
One of the major challenges in securing future water resources for the region is understanding how groundwater processes will respond to climate change and what the potential impacts of these changes may be. This knowledge will help devise suitable strategies for future development and enable policy-makers to make more informed decisions.
Considering the system as a whole, integrating processes that operate at all levels of the hydrosphere from the soil through to the regional geological framework will provide an opportunity to interface with, and attempt to improve the quality of, predictive models of the wider environment. Applying this understanding in the context of social models has the potential to improve policy on groundwater management at a range of levels.
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