Water resource benefits of working with natural processes

We have been working in the area of Natural Flood Management for a number of years, using natural processes to reduce flood risk. Susan Wagstaff, Technical Director, Hydrogeology, expands on our work in this area.

Written by Susan Wagstaff | Technical Director

WWNP and Groundwater interactions

To consider the interactions between Working with Natural Processes (WWNP) and groundwater processes, we investigated areas of interest within ten Environment Agency priority catchments including site visits and engagement with local groundwater and water resource specialists. These catchments typically require more collaborative water management or have significant abstraction challenges.

We have developed an understanding of how WWNP measures interact with specific soils, geology and hydrogeology environments and undertaken conceptualisation in a range of water resource situations. More details can be found here.

Changing the pathways of water through a catchment

WWNP work considers how changes to soil management, land use, woodland planting and surface water management features of various types (such as bunds) can change the pathways of water through a catchment.

However, local geological and hydrogeological conditions are key in whether WWNP measures will translate into actual groundwater resource gains.

Using GIS, we have mapped the potential for WWNP in priority catchments and are currently modelling these measures for the Otter catchment in southwest England. The modelling work is enabling the potential groundwater recharge gains from implementing WWNP to be quantified.

Working with Natural Processes: Key Processes throughout a Catchment

Whilst soil and land management improvement measures can be undertaken at all locations within a catchment, measures which interact with the drainage system are more specific to the location within the catchment.

We are currently undertaking conceptualisation and mapping of nature based solutions within chalk catchments in East Anglia. This work is highlighting that the specific WWNP measures which are applicable in a catchment depend upon a detailed understanding of the catchment, including the underlying soils, geology and hydrogeology.

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Want to know more?

For more information on the water resource benefits of working with natural processes, contact Susan Wagstaff.


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