Report No DWI0162



Jul 1988


This research contract was commissioned by the Department of the Environment in early 1987, and substantially completed in the period June-December of that year. The principal objective of the study was to provide an overview of the present state of groundwater quality in England and Wales, with the emphasis on groundwater for use as drinking water. Additional requirements were to highlight existing and potential problems for managing and protecting groundwater, and to identify issues for further examination, including research.

The findings of the study are based on a review of relevant literature together with information and views obtained from interviews with representatives of organisations with a professional interest in groundwater quality. Those interviewed included rep resentatives of each of the 10 regional water authorities, two water companies, government departments and research institutions. Because of the very large amount of published information available it was necessary to be selective with respect to documents used for detailed study.

An assessment was made of the importance of groundwater as a source of drinking water. At present, as shown in Figure S1, about 31% of drinking water in England and Wales comes from groundwater, an amount which has shown little change for the last 10-15 years. However, there is considerable variation between the regional water authorities in utilisation of groundwater as shown in Figure S.2, from 74% (Southern) to 10% or less (Northumbrian and Welsh), while the Anglian, Severn-Trent, Thames and Wessex Water Authorities are each 40%-50% reliant on groundwater for public supply. Also, even within the authorities which are the lowest

Copies of this report may be available as an Acrobat pdf download under the 'Find Completed Research' heading on the DWI website.