ASR-UK: hydrogeological issues associated with aquifer storage and recovery

This is the report of a three-year project (1998-2001) undertaken by the BGS in collaboration with University College, London (UCL) to develop a sound scientific understanding of ASR in UK aquifers. The project was co-funded by a Foresight LINK award and UK Water Industry Research Ltd. (UKWIR).

Fresh water resources in rivers, lakes and aquifers are finite and often poorly distributed in relation to demand centres, as well as temporally. Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) is a technique of recharging, hitherto unused or under-used aquifers, via dual-purpose, abstraction/recharge boreholes to create an ASR 'bubble' for later use. This water storage/management technique has many advantages over other methods and can store large volumes of water with minimal environmental impact.

ASR in the UK is currently the subject of several pilot investigations but, as yet, no schemes havebeen commissioned. From the water resource planning perspective, ASR has many plus points but, from an asset investment perspective the current technical uncertainties mean that other options may appear more certain of success. To reduce this perceived uncertainty ASR-UK investigated the physical and chemical and environmental impact aspects of ASR in order to provide a better understanding and thereby minimise risk. The project outputs include this summary report, interim technical reports and modelling tools to predict the response of UK aquifers to ASR, in order to assist decision making at all stages of an investigation.

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A printed version of the report with an accompanying CD Rom containing simple models for the reader to use is available from:

UK Water Industry Research Ltd,
1 Queen Anne's Gate
London SW1H 9BT


Bibliographic reference:
GALE, I N, WILLIAMS, A T, GAUS, I, and JONES, H K. 2002. ASR - UK: elucidating the hydrogeological issues associated with aquifer storage and recovery in the UK. UKWIR Report Ref. No.02/WR/09/2;BGS Commissioned Report, CR/02/156/N.

More information on BGS hydrogeology activities are available.

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