Groundwater supply during droughts workshop

Monday 1 July 2019
Location: Priory Rooms, Birmingham
Registration: Online registration

Aims of the workshop

Groundwater supply during droughts: image of draft programme
Groundwater supply during droughts: draft programme

As part of the UK Drought and Water Scarcity Programme funded by NERC, we are planning a one-day workshop for groundwater professionals with an interest in water supply. The workshop will be held at the Priory Rooms in Birmingham on Monday 1 July. The aim of the workshop is to generate evidence and take guidance from the community for the production of two outputs. The first output will be a short policy brief on groundwater drought planning and management in the UK, similar in form to the Houses of Parliament POSTnotes series. The second output will be a longer commentary-style article for the peer-reviewed literature on the current state-of-the-art related to groundwater drought planning and management practices and an assessment of future applied research directions and requirements.


We believe that opportunity to reflect on the status of the UK’s current groundwater drought planning and management practices and on future research needs is timely given a range of recent government and industry initiatives. Reducing the risk of harm to people, the environment and the economy from natural hazards, including drought, is one of the core goals of the Governments’ 25 year plan to improve the environment that was published last year. In England, water supply companies are just completing revisions to their Water Resource Management Plans and Drought Plans and will soon be preparing for the next planning cycle. In addition, over the last couple of years there have been a number of significant technical developments, for example publication of the UKWIR Drought Vulnerability Framework in late 2017; outputs from the NERC-funded UK Drought and Water Scarcity Programme, and the opportunities offered by the publication of the UKCP18 data.


We envisage that the workshop will be of interest to a wide range of groundwater and water resource professionals. Such as water company hydrogeologists responsible for groundwater aspects of drought management planning and operational water resource issues (e.g. groundwater resource situation reporting and forecasting); environmental regulators with responsibilities for groundwater resources, such as Environment Agency staff; and, consultants and academics with an interest in groundwater supply and drought.


Registration for the workshop is online and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note places are limited so early registration is encouraged. The draft programme is available to download.
Workshop convenors: Matt Ascott, John Bloomfield and Rob Ward (British Geological Survey)

Contact: Matt Ascott at British Geological Survey email: phone: 01491 69 2408

Draft programme

The draft programme is available as a PDF download: draft programme.

About Drought research to feature at RGS-IBG annual conference

Innovative work from the DRY (Drought Risk & You) Project including storying drought, drought media and communication triggers for changing water use, will be presented at the prestigious annual RGS-IBG (Royal Geographical Society with the Institute for British Geographers) international conference. The conference is being held at the Royal Geographical Society in London from 27th to 30th August 2019.

Prof Lindsey McEwen, Professor in Environmental Management at UWE Bristol

The session is titled ‘Linking new interdisciplinary research into UK drought risk to explorations of the summer 2018 drought impacts’ and is being organised by Prof Lindsey McEwen, Professor in Environmental Management at UWE Bristol & Lead PI Project DRY, and Rebecca Pearce, Research Fellow, University of Exeter & About Drought Social Science Coordinator. The draft programme is due to be published this month.

Contributing papers and authors (including non-presenting authors) are:

  • ‘Daylighting the hidden’: interdisciplinary reflections on theory and practice of storying drought – Lindsey McEwen (University of the West of England, UK) (presenter), Liz Roberts (University of the West of England, UK), Antonia Liguori (Loughborough University, UK) and Mike Wilson (Loughborough University, UK)
  • Drought media – Joanne Garde-Hansen (University of Warwick, UK) (presenter)
  • Achieving water efficiency in the public sector through social norms – Kevin Grecksch (University of Oxford, UK) (presenter)
  • Changes in household consumption during the extreme summer weather in 2018 – Rob Lawson (Artesia Consulting, UK) (presenter)
  • Understanding the hydro-climatic conditions of the 2018 drought: experiences and lessons from the UK livestock sector – Gloria Salmoral Portillo (Cranfield University, UK) (presenter), Tim Hess (Cranfield University, UK) and Jerry Knox (Cranfield University, UK)
  • Unexpected Impacts of the 2018 drought in Cornwall: What has changed since 1976 and what does this tell us about future droughts? – Rebecca Pearce (University of Exeter, UK) (presenter)
  • If you can’t take the heat, get out the kitchen – when heat and water impacts of drought combine – Sarah Ward (University of Exeter, UK) (presenter), Kimberly Bryan (University of Exeter, UK) and Timothy Taylor (University of Exeter, UK)

Full programme details will become available on the RGS-IBG website and booking is open.

About Drought experts at EGU General Assembly 2019

Experts from across the UK’s £12m drought and water scarcity research programme – About Drought – will be sharing insights at EGU2019, including Dr Katie Smith who has been invited to present a keynote talk.

Droughts and water scarcity jointly pose a substantial threat to the environment, agriculture, infrastructure, society and culture in the UK, yet our ability to characterise and predict their occurrence, duration and intensity, as well as minimise their impacts, has often been inadequate.

From the new ‘Shiny’ app to share and visualise data to a searchable archive of past drought impact information from diverse documentary sources going back 160 years, as well as podcasts and drought myth-busting videos, About Drought has brought together science and social sciences in a successful interdisciplinary approach that addresses current and future water scarcity challenges.

Four projects have been funded as part of this major programme with an additional final project – ENDOWS (known as About Drought) – focusing on engaging with stakeholders, practitioners and the public to involve them in the programme and to disseminate information about the findings, outputs and datasets that everyone can use. ENDOWS is also enhancing operational drought management through improved monitoring and early warning of drought which is being co-developed with stakeholders during the ongoing dry weather. Research also covers the impact of climate change and weather it is increasing the chance of events like the 1976 North West European drought occurring. The programme is funded by NERC, ESRC, EPSRC, BBRC and AHRC.

Although the programme does not wrap up until later this year, last year’s drought across Europe called  elements of its outputs into operational use ahead of schedule, by water suppliers, regulators and policy-makers. You can hear about this and other aspects of the programme during EGU2019 in Vienna, April 7-12.

The four projects are:

  • Historic Droughts – understanding past drought episodes to develop improved tools for the future.
  • IMPETUS – improving predictions of drought to inform user decisions.
  • MaRIUS – managing the risks, impacts and uncertainties of drought and water scarcity.
  • DRY – Drought Risk & You – bringing together stories and science to support better decision-making for drought risk management.

Katie Smith (Drought Analyst & Modeller, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford, UK)

Monday, April 8, 14:00-14:15 Room B

Keynote talk for session “Hydrological extremes: from droughts to floods” – What’s past is prologue: Reconstructing historic flow data to inform management of future hydrological extremes.

Read the abstract.

Follow Katie on Twitter @katieasmith26

Lucy Barker (Hydrological Analyst at Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford, UK)

Monday, April 8, 14:15-14:30 Room B

Session “Hydrological extremes: from droughts to floods” – UK Hydrological Droughts: how severe were historic events? Insights from a systematic event characterisation and ranking over the last 125 years. Read the abstract.

Monday, April 8, 16:15-18:00 Room -2.16

Session “Using R in Hydrology”. Lucy is a co-convenor and will be presenting her Shiny app, developed within the Historic Droughts project, as a demo of how you can use Shiny to share and visualise data. Read the abstract.

Follow Lucy on Twitter @lucybarkerjane.

Mike Bowes (Nutrient Hydrochemist & Group Leader on River Water Quality and Ecology, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford, UK)

The work Mike will be presenting is not directly funded through About Drought but the understanding of the causes / triggers of algal blooms in the River Thames will be used within ENDOWS this year to predict how the size and magnitude of algal and cyanobacterial blooms may change under future climate scenarios / future droughts.

Monday, April 8, 14:00-14:15 Room 2.31

Session “Advancing understanding of hydrochemical and ecological processes controlling fate of natural organic matter, nutrients and pollutants in freshwater and engineered systems using state-of-the-art methods” – Utilizing high-frequency, automated monitoring to determine nutrient sources, fates and impacts on microbiology in the River Thames catchment, UK. Read the abstract.

Nikolaos Mastrantonas (Research Associate Hydrologist, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford, UK)

Nikos is contributing to development of stakeholder bespoke visualisation schemes for sub-seasonal/seasonal forecasting of river flows and in the development of nationally consistent datasets, aiming to enhance resilience in the UK public water sector.

Friday, April 12, 16:15-18:00 Hall X3 Poster 85

Session “Extreme meteorological and hydrological events induced by severe weather and climate change” –Drought Libraries: a nationally consistent toolkit for improved resilience in the UK public water supply sector – poster presentation. Read the abstract.

You can follow Nikos on Twitter @NikMastrantonas.

Find out more from About Drought:

Watch a news report from the About Drought Showcase

View our drought myth-busting videos featuring water users, regulators and About Drought experts:

Listen to our podcasts featuring audio anecdotes with people recalling the 1976 drought, gardening, wildfire, media coverage of drought and water saving campaigns.

Browse this About Drought website to discover more about our research, latest events and sign up to the About Drought newsletter.

Follow us on Twitter: @AboutDrought

Thank you: Drought and Water Scarcity: addressing current and future challenges, International Conference

Thank you to all the guest speakers, presenters, poster pitchers and delegates who joined us from the UK and around the world for our Drought & Water Scarcity Conference on March 20-21.
The impressive range of data, topics, in-depth knowledge and communication insights demonstrated the breadth and interdisciplinary nature of the research that makes up About Drought.
We are preparing a post event e-pack that will feature content from the event and will be emailed to delegates.
Coming up we have workshops aimed at those using our research. If you would like to be notified of these and our other events, please subscribe to our programme newsletter via our homepage (bottom left) or email