Groundwater resources in the UK

Water companies have recently submitted their draft 2019 Water Resources Management Plans. The data presented here is based on analysis of the final 2014 plans, and will be updated as more information from the new plans becomes available.

Groundwater provides almost a third of public water supply in England, and makes an important contribution in Wales and Scotland. Vast quantities of groundwater are also exploited for private supplies for domestic, agricultural and industrial use.

These web pages describe the current role of groundwater for public supply in the UK and look at pressures and impacts to 2040. We also take a brief look back at how groundwater exploitation has developed over time.

We have extracted information from the water companies' water resources management plans published in 2015, in order to provide a national picture. We hope that the resulting summary maps of the present situation and projections to 2040 will give a new perspective. The images are available for you to download and use, as long as the BGS is suitably acknowledged (see our terms of use). We have also produced some summary facts and figures.

Groundwater in 2015
The past and the future
Water resources management in the UK

Planning for the future

Water companies review their water resources management plans (WRMPs) every five years. During this process, they look ahead and identify pressures on the future public water supply — for example the size of population and how much water we are likely to need. They then estimate the size of the impact that these various pressures will have and consider what action they need to take to ensure security of supply for the next 25 years. The options appraisal process involves identifying possible options and then choosing the most viable given the various (e.g. economic, political) constraints.

Our water resources management page puts the WRMP process into the broader context of water resources management.

Links to further information on the WRMP process and links to water companies' plans are given on our links page.


Please contact Matthew Ascott for further information.