The Marquess of Lothian – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The below Parliamentary question was asked by The Marquess of Lothian on 2016-01-13.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment, if any, they have made of the condition and capacity of naturally occurring underground aquifers in the light of the high levels of rainfall in the UK over the last six weeks.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble

The Environment Agency routinely monitors groundwater levels in England’s principal aquifers and publishes these monthly in a national water situation report.

Rainfall totals for December were above average across England at 165% of the long term average. For a second consecutive month north-east and north-west England had exceptionally high rainfall totals for the time of year. Groundwater levels increased at approximately two-thirds of indicator sites during December and two thirds of sites were classed as normal or higher for the time of year.

The Environment Agency undertakes monitoring and assessment of different aquifers locally, based upon the potential risk of groundwater flooding. A system of groundwater flood alerts and warnings is provided through our incident response procedures for those communities most vulnerable to potential groundwater flooding.

The groundwater situation currently varies widely across the country, with higher than average and exceptionally high groundwater levels in parts of Cumbria, Yorkshire, Wessex, East Hampshire and Sussex whilst across the rest of southern England groundwater levels are around average or below average for the time of year.