Project: Vulnerability of Shallow Groundwater Resources to Deep Sub-surface Energy-Related Activities

Acronym VoGERA (Reference Number: GeoE.171.015)
Duration 01/07/2018 - 30/06/2021
Project Topic Vulnerability of shallow groundwater resources to deep sub-surface energy-related activities (VoGERA) will gather scientific evidence to investigate the relationship between industrial activity in the deep sub-surface and shallow groundwater resources, in a European context. The project will consider the possible impacts on groundwater from a range of sub-surface energy activities (geothermal energy, unconventional oil and gas exploitation, sub-surface storage and disposal of wastes) in a consistent manner. An approach to evaluating groundwater vulnerability from sub-surface activities that can be applied across Europe will be developed using this evidence, and the in-depth understanding gained will be used to improve awareness of these issues with decision makers and the public. This will aid better sub-surface spatial planning and policy development for deep sub-surface energy-related activities in relation to groundwater, thus allowing for the simultaneous protection of groundwater for future generations whilst recognizing the need for economic development. A strong link with stakeholders will ensure an approach that is fit-for-purpose and has maximum impact. Conceptual models of shallow groundwater vulnerability to deep sub-surface energy activities will be developed using existing data and information and experience of GeoERA partners and from previous projects, and will be validated at a number of pilot study sites. These will be in different hydrogeological settings across Europe and will use a range of physical, chemical, isotopic and intercalibrated geophysical methods to identify and characterize contaminant pathway properties and their influence on groundwater vulnerability.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
- Improved understanding of the relationship between deep energy activities and shallow groundwater resources, and in particular the contaminant pathways in a range of different hydrogeological settings. - A series of conceptual models to characterize groundwater vulnerability and identify potential contaminant pathways between industrial activities in the deep sub-surface (and associated infrastructure) and shallow groundwater resources (potable water and/or water for other human uses, less than 400m below ground level). - A series of groundwater vulnerability assessments for the pilot areas, with maps or 3D models showing relevant geological factors, such as the presence of faults and the vertical separation distance between shallow groundwater and targets for potential industrial activity in the subsurface (e.g. hydrocarbon source rocks, geothermal sources). - A consistent approach for assessing the vulnerability of shallow groundwater from deep industrial activities that can be universally applied across Europe the application of which will be demonstrated for the four pilot sites/areas.
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Network GeoERA
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Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 United Kingdom Research and Innovation (British Geological Survey) c United Kingdom
2 Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek Partner Netherlands
3 Vlaamse Milieu Maatschappij – Flanders Environment Agency Partner Belgium
4 Belgian Nuclear Research Centre Partner Belgium
5 Mining and Geological Survey of Hungary Partner Hungary
6 State Research and Development Enterprise – State Information Geological Fund of Ukraine Partner Ukraine
7 Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Partner Denmark