UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


The role of groundwater in securing water supplies in South East England

05 April 2022, 12:00 pm–1:30 pm

A World Water Day Seminar from The South East and London (SEAL) Water Alliance

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







UCL Environment Domain

The South East and London Water Alliance are delighted to present our World Water Day Seminar on 'The role of groundwater in securing water supplies in the South East of England; challenges and opportunities'. This event is held in partnership with UCL Geography and UCL's Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction, and will be chaired by the IRDR's Dr Mohammad Shamsudduha.

The event will consist of presentations from three leading experts in groundwater, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.


  • Dr Jonathan Paul - Lecturer in Geosciences in the Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Dr Michael Kehinde - Technical Specialist (Groundwater Resources) for the Environment Agency
  • Professor Adrian Butler - Professor in Subsurface Hydrology in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London

With the amplification of climate extremes under climate change including drier summers and wetter winters, as well as an increased frequency and intensity of heavy rainfalls, what role might urban groundwater play in enabling the South East of England to adapt to projected rises in regional freshwater demand? Rising groundwater levels at the end of the 20th century in London - a response to reduced industrial abstraction and unmanaged aquifer recharge from leaking Victorian-era water mains - prompted strategies like GARDIT (General Aquifer Research Development and Investigation Team) to pump and potentially exploit urban groundwater. GARDIT brought together key stakeholders from a range of perspectives including Thames Water, the Environment Agency, London Underground, and Association of British Insurers who sought to increase groundwater abstraction for public and private supplies and bring rising groundwater levels under control. This strategy is largely considered to have been successful in controlling rising groundwater levels in London yet groundwater-level declines in some areas of London have highlighted the importance on on-going monitoring.

As World Water Day 2022 focuses on groundwater - making the invisible, visible, this SEAL seminar/workshop will bring together different disciplinary perspectives to re-examine the potential and challenges of using groundwater including urban groundwater more substantially and pervasively as a natural freshwater store to improve water security in the South East.

SEAL Water Alliance

SEAL Watter Alliance are the South East and London’s nexus of water researchers, influencers, policy makers and industry experts, jointly delivering transformative water research, operational impact and evidence based policy.