Vulnerability of Shallow Groundwater Resources to Deep Subsurface Energy-Related Activities (VOGERA)

Abstract

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.