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Groundwater: Groundbreaking?

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) studies and monitors the physical, chemical and biological processes on which our planet and life itself depends. Their website is of interest to those of us curious about whether or not we should be worried about rising water levels along England's South Coast. These may be a long way off, but surely those studying and providing our infrastructure should factor in possibilities to help sustain those living here. It appears that we should all be waiting for not just our local studies but Scientists' research to be completed.

David Macdonald, a senior hydrogeologist at BGS Wallingford, is part of a team working to shed light on groundwater flooding. Of course here on Hayling Island we are perhaps more preoccupied with the possibilities of forecasted sea level rises and the extent to which any infrastructure - including that built in the near future - can protect us from inevitable flooding. However groundwater flooding must surely go together with any consideration of increased building on lands where, traditionally, rainwater was able to sink - albeit slowly - into the ground.

Returning to the NERC website page that includes David Macdonald's personal experience of his own Oxford property's 'flooding', it might be worth noting that drastic flooding is and has been occurring in relatively modern homes and housing estates around England. What does this suggest about the effectiveness of even modern day drainage systems in coping with our weather patterns?

"Our knowledge has come a long way in the last 15 years," says David. "But we're not there yet. There's still plenty to do in terms of collecting data, quantifying risk, improving forecasts and raising awareness of the potential danger to homes, businesses, communities and critical transport and other infrastructure." Surely this is particularly relevant to anyone planning building here on Hayling and especially to those granting that building.

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