Daniel Matthews 


I am of postgraduate researcher in the Institute of Applied Geoscience at the University of Leeds. I previously completed an Integrated Masters degree in Geology, also at the University of Leeds. Away from geology, I enjoy getting outdoors, watching West Bromwich Albion, and talking about cricket.


2014 – 2019: Integrated Masters in Geological Sciences, University of Leeds

Research Interests

My research interests are within the hydrogeological sciences and relate to the application of field methods to improve and refine the management of groundwater resources used for public water supply. I became alive to the challenges facing groundwater resource and quality management whilst working at the Environment Agency in the Thames Area, a highly water-stressed region of South-Eastern England.

Project Title

The impact of karst on public water supply abstractions in the Chalk, and recommendations for their management


Professor Jared West (Primary); Professor Simon Bottrell, Dr. Louise Maurice*, Dr. Andrew Farrant*, Alister Leggatt**
* British Geological Survey
** Affinity Water Ltd.


Panorama NERC DTP, 2020

Project outline

The research project is a study of the influence of karst on the hydrogeology and the groundwater quality of the Chalk of England. Karst is a broad term that describes terrain with distinctive landforms, hydrology and hydrogeology formed primarily through the dissolution of soluble rocks by water. Typical karst features include sinkholes, sinking streams, caves, and springs; and, in carbonate rocks, karst hydrogeology is characterised by rapid flow along dendritic, self-organised networks of solution-enlarged pathways.

The wide range of carbonate karst aquifers are well-represented in the UK. The Carboniferous Limestone is considered to be one end-member, characterised by numerous sinking streams and over 500 km of accessible cave passages. The other end-member is represented by the Chalk, in which caves are rarely observed and solution-enlarged pathways are generally between 10 and 1000 mm in diameter. Though karst in the Carboniferous Limestone has attracted significantly more investigation, experiments in both have demonstrated the potential for rapid flow (>1 km per day) over long distances (>1 km).

Groundwater supply in karst aquifers is vulnerable to water quality problems because of the potential for rapid transport of contamination from the surface to springs and/or abstractions, with minimal opportunity for natural attenuation. The Chalk is particularly vulnerable purely because of its status as the most important groundwater resource in the UK; for example at Southern Water, 70% of their supply is groundwater fed, of which 90% is from the Chalk. The resultant pressure placed on the supply infrastructure is huge and improving resilience by reducing the vulnerability of chalk abstractions through good science-led management is critical.

Despite this vulnerability, the influence of karst on hydrogeology and water quality in the Chalk remains poorly constrained. The aim of the research project is to address this knowledge gap by using field tests and secondary data analysis.