James Sorensen

Dr James Sorensen

Senior hydrogeologist
BGS Wallingford

James Sorensen’s Biography

  • 2008 – ongoing : Hydrogeologist, British Geological Survey
  • 2022 : PhD, Geography, University College London
  • 2008 : MSc (distinction), Hydrogeology, University of Leeds
  • 2007 : Hydrogeologist/Environment Scientist, Mouchel
  • 2007 : Hydrogeologist/Environmental Scientist, Atkins
  • 2006 : BSc (Hons) 1st class, Environmental Science, Lancaster University

Research interests

  • Agrochemicals in groundwater
  • Groundwater and development
  • Groundwater monitoring
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Novel field techniques
  • Potential impacts of carbon dioxide storage schemes on freshwater aquifers

Current projects and collaborations

  • TerraFIRMA – Future Impacts, Risks and Mitigation Actions in a changing Earth system
  • Malta – Designing a nationwide groundwater monitoring network
  • Floods and Droughts Research Infrastructure (FDRI) – Designing groundwater infrastructure to facilitate the hydrological science and innovation to make the UK more adaptable and resilient to floods and droughts
  • Fluorescence spectroscopy for the real-time detection of faecally contaminated drinking water
  • Real-time groundwater flooding alert system
  • Viruses in UK Groundwater

NERC Open Research Archive — James Sorensen

Key papers

  • Sorensen, J P, Nayebare, J, Carr, A F, and Lyness, R., et al.  2021. In-situ fluorescence spectroscopy is a more rapid and resilient indicator of faecal contamination risk in drinking water than faecal indicator organisms. Water Research, 206, 117734.
  • Sorensen, J P, Aldous, P, Bunting, S Y, and McNally, S, et al. 2021. Seasonality of enteric viruses in groundwater-derived public water sources. Water Research, 207, 117813.
  • Sorensen, J P, Davies, J, Ebrahim, G Y, et al. 2021. The influence of groundwater abstraction on interpreting climate controls and extreme recharge events from well hydrographs in semi-arid South Africa. Hydrogeology Journal.
  • Sorensen, J P, Diaw, M T, Pouye, A, and Roffo, R, et al. 2020. In-situ fluorescence spectroscopy indicates total bacterial abundance and dissolved organic carbon. Science of the Total Environment, 738, 139419.
  • Sorensen, J P, Carr, A F, Nayebare, J, and Diongue, D M, et al. 2020. Tryptophan-like and humic-like fluorophores are extracellular in groundwater: implications as real-time faecal indicators. Scientific reports, 10(1), 15379.
  • Sorensen, J P R, Vivanco, A, Ascott, M J, Gooddy, D C, Lapworth, D J, Read, D S. et al. 2018. Online fluorescence spectroscopy for the real-time evaluation of the microbial quality of drinking water. Water research, 137, 301-309.
  • Sorensen, J P, Baker, A, Cumberland, S A, Lapworth, D J, MacDonald, A M, Pedley, S. et al. 2018. Real-time detection of faecally contaminated drinking water with tryptophan-like fluorescence: defining threshold values. Science of the Total Environment, 622, 1250-1257.
  • Sorensen, J P R, Sadhu, A, Sampath, G, Sugden, S, Dutta Gupta, S, Lapworth, D J, Marchant, B P, and Pedley, S. 2016. Are sanitation interventions a threat to drinking water supplies in rural India? An application of tryptophan-like fluorescence. Water Research, 88. 923-932.
  • Sorensen, J P R, Lapworth, D J, Nkhuwa, D C W, Stuart, M E, Gooddy, D C, Bell, R A. et al. 2015. Emerging contaminants in urban groundwater sources in Africa. Water research, 72, 51-63.
  • Sorensen, J P R, Lapworth, D J, Marchant, B P, Nkhuwa, D C W, Pedley, S. et al. 2015. In-situ tryptophan-like fluorescence: a real-time indicator of faecal contamination in drinking water supplies. Water Research, 81, 38-46
  • Sorensen, J P R, Lapworth, D J, Read, D S, Nkhuwa, D C W, Bell, R A, Chibesa, M, Chirwa, M, Kabika, J, Liemisa, M, and Pedley, S. 2015. Tracing enteric pathogen contamination in sub-Saharan African groundwater. Science of the Total Environment, 538. 888-895. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.08.119
  • Sorensen, J P R, Butcher, A S, Stuart, M E, Townsend, B R. 2015. Nitrate fluctuations at the water table: implications for recharge processes and solute transport in the Chalk aquifer. Hydrological Processes, 29 (15). 3355-3367. 10.1002/hyp.10447
  • Sorensen, J P R, Finch, J W, Ireson, A M, and Jackson, C R. 2014. Comparison of varied complexity models simulating recharge at the field-scale. Hydrological Processes, 28(4), 2091-2102
  • Sorensen, J P R, Maurice, L, Edwards, F K, Lapworth, D J, Read, D S. et al. 2013. Using boreholes as windows into groundwater ecosystems. PloS one, 8(7), e70264
  • Sorensen, J P R, and Butcher, A S. 2011. Water level monitoring pressure transducers : a need for industry-wide standards. Ground Water Monitoring & Remediation, 31 (4). 56-62. 10.1111/j.1745-6592.2011.01346.x


  • 2007 Postgraduate full fee scholarship (Leeds University)
  • 2008 WYG Prize for academic achievement (Leeds University)

Professional associations

  • Member of the Internation Association of Hydrogeologists

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