CatchmentCARE Week - Bringing Groundwater to the Surface

Actions and Detail Panel


Event Information

Share this event

Date and time



Online event

Event description
Find out how monitoring of wells and springs is helping us better understand the role groundwater plays in keeping river catchments healthy.

About this event

The Catchment Care project is installing 50 groundwater monitoring points to better understand groundwater processes and groundwater quality in cross border catchments.

In this webinar you will hear about the processes involved in installing groundwater monitoring points, some of the knowledge gained from the installations and how we better communicate the role of groundwater in catchment management.

“Bringing Groundwater to the Surface” is one of six webinars organised as part of CatchmentCARE Week that explore integrated approaches to the protection, improvement and sustainable management of our water environment.

“Bringing Groundwater to the Surface” Tuesday 18th May 2021

9.30 Welcome from CatchmentCARE Project - Michael McGarvey, Director of Service

9.35 Introduction from Session Chair, Johanna Kula - Senior Scientific Officer for the Groundwater Resources Team, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)

9.40 “Installing groundwater monitoring stations - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” - Paul Wilson, British Geological Survey

Paul will describe the process of getting groundwater monitoring boreholes into the ground, which starts with site selection, getting permission from land owners, designing the boreholes and getting drilling contractors onsite. Every well drilled is a voyage of discovery and you have to expect the unexpected, such as unstable ground or overflowing groundwater. A borehole is a way of peering into the underground, and the information we get helps us to understand the hydrogeological processes taking place, and to make better decisions about how to manage the landscape to protect this valuable resource.

9.55 “A story of the catchments”, - Caoimhe Hickey, Geological Survey Ireland (GSI)

The geology in the Arney, Finn and Derg catchments is very different, and this has a strong influence on the way that water travels through the different river catchments – both over the surface as rivers and runoff, and underground as groundwater and interflow. Caoimhe will describe some of the main catchment features, highlighting the different water flow (hydrology) and natural chemical processes taking place. In many places in the Arney catchment, groundwater comes to the surface naturally at springs, which allows us to measure it in a different way than using boreholes. The springs are linked to a distinctive type of landscape called karst, which is being investigated together with a local CatchmentCARE funded community group.

10.10 “Communicating the story of groundwater” - Sean Burke, British Geological Survey

Groundwater is ‘out of sight and out of mind’ and can be hard to explain or understand. Sean will show how Virtual Reality technology from gaming software can be used to help to communicate what happens to water when it is underground and out of view. Some of our groundwater monitoring stations have real-time monitoring which can be viewed remotely by everyone. In a less high-tech way, but no less importantly, groundwater has been incorporated into view-point information boards to help visitors to the area understand the role of groundwater in maintaining catchment health. The information and education resources will be available after the project has ended, helping to promote the value of groundwater now and into the future.

10.25 Q&A

10.40 Wrap up/ Close Session - Session Chair, Johanna Kula

Speaker Profiles

Johanna Kula. Johanna is Senior Scientific Officer for the Groundwater Resources Team, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), within the Land and Groundwater Team Regulation Unit. Johanna is responsible for the monitoring, protection, regulation and sustainable management of groundwater in Northern Ireland.

Paul Wilson. Paul is a Hydrogeologist with the British Geological Survey (BGS) and is based in the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI) since 2008. He has worked on Water Framework Directive implementation for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency including the installation of groundwater monitoring boreholes and development of classification assessments. He has also worked on other BGS projects in Iceland and East Africa. His current role involves providing hydrogeological support, guidance, and training to Northern Ireland Government, including Northern Ireland Water, NIEA, and the Department for the Economy. He chairs the Northern Ireland Groundwater Resources Working Group and is the BGS local hydrogeologist on the CatchmentCARE project. He has a personal interest in functionality of hand-pumped boreholes and enjoys supervising drilling, pumping tests, and finding karst features (karst hunting).

Caoimhe Hickey. Caoimhe is a hydrogeologist with Geological Survey Ireland and has worked there since 2000. She has an Earth Science degree and a PhD in Karst Hydrogeology, both from Trinity College Dublin. Her passions are all things karst and caves and communicating the science of groundwater to the wider public. Caoimhe mostly works in karst landscapes and has undertaken extensive karst mapping and dye tracing experiments. She has worked on many different projects, including groundwater resource and source protection, groundwater vulnerability mapping, Water Framework Directive support, creating and maintaining national maps and databases and EU funded GeoERA projects.

Sean Burke. Dr Sean Burke’s expertise lies in surface water quality, hydrochemistry and resource protection through catchment management. His research interests have focused on the interdisciplinary catchment science that is needed to underpin catchment management for effective resource management.

Sean is a work package lead on the CatchmentCARE project. Sean also successfully developed Demonstration Test Catchments (DTC) in the UK, a major joint initiative between the Environment Agency and Defra. Along with DTCs and CatchmentCARE, much of Sean’s recent work has focused on protecting water resources from agricultural pollution and the development of cost-effective measures to reduce its impact.

About CatchmentCARE

CatchmentCARE (Community Actions for Resilient Eco-systems) is an INTERREG VA EU-funded project which aims to improve freshwater quality in cross-border river basins across three cross-border catchments. This is being done through the development of three water quality improvement projects in the Finn, Blackwater and Arney catchments and the installation of 50 groundwater monitoring stations across the region to better understand groundwater in the cross-border catchments and the interaction between groundwater & surface water bodies.

Share with friends

Date and time


Online event

Save This Event

Event Saved