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Map highlights groundwater flood risk

A groundwater flood risk map of the UK is being made widely available for the first time. Created by JBA Consulting and available online from aerial mapping company Bluesky, the map is designed to help home owners, developers and risk management authorities understand the threat of groundwater flooding.

The new colour-coded hazard map complements other flood maps and geographic datasets already available from the Bluesky Mapshop.

Groundwater flooding occurs when the groundwater table in permeable rock types rises to enter basements and cellars or presents as excess water emerging at the ground surface. Often overlooked or confused with other causes of flooding, it can pose considerable economic and social threat. 

As groundwater levels are generally highest following prolonged periods of rainfall, groundwater flooding is a growing threat as the UK is expected to experience considerably higher amounts of rainfall because of climate change.

“Groundwater flooding tends to be more persistent than surface water flooding and can result in significant damage to property,” said Rachel Tidmarsh, managing director of aerial mapping company Bluesky. “As weather events become more severe bringing longer periods of heavy rainfall, so, therefore, does the threat of groundwater flooding.” 

The new Groundwater Flood Map was created by JBA Consulting and provides comprehensive coverage of all aquifers in England, Wales and Scotland. Created using a range of data, including known locations of past groundwater flooding events, rainfall measurements and aquifer properties, the new map provides classification of hazards on a 5m grid using a simple traffic-light system. A three-tiered methodology, used to create the map, allows for quick and efficient updates and refining of the map for local areas of interest.

“These maps will support flood risk management activities at a national or local scale, and will assist risk management authorities in meeting their responsibilities under the Flood and Water Management Act,” said Dr Maxine Zaidman, technical director for hydrology and hydrometry at JBA Consulting. 

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