Dr Jonathan Mackay

Dr Jonathan Mackay

Senior hydrogeologist
BGS Keyworth


Jon is a senior hydrologist with expertise in modelling hydrological and groundwater flow processes. His work is improving understanding of water supply vulnerabilities due to environmental pressures and providing advanced warning of hydrological extremes: floods and droughts, in a world with an increasingly variable climate. His research spans a range of geographical settings in countries including the UK, Taiwan, India, Africa, Iceland and Peru. In the UK, Jon’s research is primarily focussed on groundwater resources and hazards. He developed the UK’s first operational groundwater forecasting system, outputs from which have been used to brief the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies during flood and drought event. He also leads the daily Groundwater Flood Forecasting Service: the principal groundwater flooding early warning system for England and Wales. Internationally, Jon has a particular interest in the world’s so called ‘water towers’ (mountains) where water cycling and resource availability are influenced by interactions between surface hydrology, groundwater and melt from snow and glaciers. His research spans a broad range of collaborators and stakeholders including universities, water companies, water regulators, governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Jonathan Mackay’s Biography

  • 2021 – ongoing: Honorary Research Fellow, University of Birmingham
  • 2011 – ongoing : Hydrologist, BGS Keyworth.
  •  2015 –2019 : PhD. Twenty-first century glacial and hydrological change in the Virkisjökull Glacier Observatory, Iceland. University of Birmingham.
  •  2009 –2010 : MSc with Distinction, Hydrology and Water Resource Management, Imperial College London.
  •  2006 –2009 : BSc (Hons) 1st Class, Environmental Science, Lancaster University.

Research focus

  • Groundwater extremes and risk under climate change
  • Development of operational groundwater forecasting systems for early warning of groundwater flooding and drought
  • Glacial water resources and security under climate change
  • Glacier dynamics and hydrology modelling

Selected ongoing projects and collaborations

  • Groundwater Resources in a Changing Climate (GRCC), Co-I: A Taiwan & UK partnership to share and develop groundwater knowledge and expertise (National Cheng Kung University)
  • Groundwater Flood Forecasting Service, project lead: Operational forecasting for the Flood Forecasting Centre.
  • TerraFIRMA, Co-I: Future Impacts, Risks and Mitigation Actions in a changing Earth system (NCAS, UKCEH, NOC, PML, BAS, NCEO, CPOM).
  • BGS-IGRD Andean Mountain Groundwater Project, task lead: Part of the BGS international geoscience research and development programme (CONDESAN, INGEMMET)
  • eFLaG, Co-I: Enhanced Future Flows and Groundwater (UKCEH, HRWallingford)

PhD supervision:

  • Water cycling in high-altitude wetlands – implications for water security in the Peruvian Andes, lead supervisor (University of Birmingham, Imperial College London, CONDESAN)
  • Nature-based solutions for Andean Water Security, co-supervisor (Imperial College London)

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