Vulnerability of shallow groundwater resources to deep sub-surface energy-related activities (VoGERA) gathered scientific evidence to investigate the relationship between industrial activity in the deep sub-surface and shallow groundwater resources, in a European context. The project considered 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 were developed using this evidence, and the in-depth understanding gained was 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 ensured an approach that was fit-for-purpose and had maximum impact. Conceptual models of shallow groundwater vulnerability to deep sub-surface energy activities were developed using existing data and information and experience of GeoERA partners and from previous projects, and were validated at a number of pilot study sites. These weree in different hydrogeological settings across Europe and used a range of physical, chemical, isotopic and intercalibrated geophysical methods to identify and characterize contaminant pathway properties and their influence on groundwater vulnerability.

Project facts:

Project duration: 1 July 2018 – 31 October 2021.
Project Lead: Marco Bianchi, British Geological Survey (BGS).
Project page on GeoERA website: