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New Groundwater Flood Warning Service


The Environment Agency is introducing a new Groundwater Flood Warning Service in November 2011. This service will be available in England in those communities which have been affected by flooding from groundwater in the past and which already receive local information about groundwater flooding.

Following the groundwater floods of Winter 2000/01 the Environment Agency developed local warning arrangements for flooding from groundwater in locations which had experienced repeated occurrences of flooding from groundwater in the past. These are predominantly areas that lie in the chalk catchments of South East and South West England.

The Environment Agency has made improvements to ensure the groundwater flood warning service is consistent, robust, resilient and sits comfortably alongside the flood warning service they already provide for rivers and the sea.

From November Floodline Warnings Direct will be used as the primary method of disseminating messages about flooding from groundwater This new improved service means that:

• Flood Alerts will be issued when there is the possibility of flooding from groundwater.
• In some locations Flood Warnings will also be issued when flooding of properties is expected.
• Floodline Warnings Direct (FWD) will be the primary method for disseminating the Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings however this will be supported by local arrangements such as briefing notes, flood wardens and flood action groups.
• Information on flooding from groundwater will also be available on the environment agency website, in groundwater leaflets and materials, in the flood guidance statement and 3 day flood risk forecast and at Floodline.

For more information contact Leila Hutton at the Environment Agency (


Environment Agency GP3 – Open to consultation


From the 3rd Oct a twelve week consultation period is being launched by the Environment Agency on revisions to GP3 Part 4 and the new Part 5. GP3 is the Environment Agency’s Groundwater Protection, Policy and Practice document which outlines how they will manage and protect groundwater resources. Part 4 summarises legislation relevant to groundwater while the new Part 5 includes more detailed technical documents.
The proposed changes to GP3 will be presented by the Environment Agency at a free consultation event on 25th October at The Geological Society, Burlington House, London.

For more information about the GP3 review and the consultation event please visit the Environment Agency web site


Private Water Supplies failing on quality


A quarter of all private water supplies used for commercial purposes and services to the public were not fit for purpose, according to a recent report by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). The private supplies which serve just over one million people in England and Wales failed to meet quality standards on a range of determinants in particular over the presence of E. coli and levels of boron and arsenic. It is the first time that private water supplies have been reviewed by the DWI and follows the introduction of new regulations which requires local authorities to under a risk assessment of supplies and monitor water quality.

To read the summary findings of the DWI’s report please visit

Read our article about groundwater and pathogens


Ground source heating and cooling– Good Practice Guide


A good practice guide for the installation of ground source heating and cooling (GSHC) systems has just been released by the Environment Agency. The guidance which was produced in collaboration with the Ground Source Heat Pump Association offers designers, consultants and installers advice about how to install open-loop and closed-loop GSHC systems without causing harm to the environment. It is estimated that there are approximately 12,000 GSHC systems installed in the UK already but this figure could rise to as much as 300,000 by 2020 as people look to renewable energy in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.

To read the GSHC Good Practice Guide please visit the Environment Agency web site here


Feeling the heat in Newcastle


After 4 months of drilling Newcastle University’s geothermal borehole is progressing well. The project, led by Professor Paul Younger, involves the drilling of a borehole to a depth of 2000m to capture hot water, at around 70oC, from the sandstone aquifer at depth. The geothermal water will be pumped to the surface where they hope to use it to heat houses in the Newcastle area. In the long-term, if the project is successful it is hoped that up to 10,000 houses may benefit from the low-carbon geothermal energy source.

For more information please visit the BBC web site here

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