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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Research Students  /  Daniel Lapworth

Daniel Lapworth


Lapworth picture.JPGI am a full-time Senior Hydrogeochemist at the British Geological Survey with 14 years postgraduate research experience. I am currently also a part-time PhD student at UCL within the Department of Geography.

Contact details:

Dan Lapworth
British Geological Survey
Maclean Building
Wallingford, OX10 8BB, UK

Phone: +44(0)1491 692327

Prof. Richard Taylor (UCL)
Dr Willy Burgess (UCL)


PhD Reseach

PhD title: Hydrogeological responses to intense groundwater pumping in the Indo-Gangetic Basin: Evidence from environmental tracers


WP_000483.jpgGroundwater is a critical resource for hundreds of millions of people in the Indo-Gangetic Basin (IGB) who rely on it for drinking water, agriculture and industry. Groundwater exploitation has sustained growth and development across the IGB, providing an accessible and reliable source of water. There is a growing body of research investigating the sustainability of current trends in groundwater use and future trajectories both globally and in the IGB. However, there is currently a limited understanding of the degree of confinement in the deeper part of the sedimentary aquifer systems in the IGB and their sources of recharge. A better understanding of the vertical age profiles and water quality variations within the layered sedimentary aquifer system is needed to inform and support a thorough assessment of the vulnerability of the deeper aquifers to 1) the downward migration of contaminants from shallow sources and 2) the mobilisation of natural sources of contamination.

A major challenge to understanding the impact of pumping on groundwater resources in the IGB has been a lack of evidence from field studies in zones of contrasting pumping regimes which:

1) characterise vertical hydrochemical profiles  with depth (0-200 m) within the sedimentary aquifer system of the IGB;

3) characterise vertical age profiles using a range of dating techniques;

3) profile vertical (0-200 m) and temporal changes in hydraulic head;

My PhD uses a suite of environmental tracers will be used alongside hydraulic data, to assess vertical variations in age, water quality, redox geochemistry, recharge sources and organic matter characteristics. A key component of this research will be use multiple residence-time indicators (e.g. CFCs, Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), 14C) from a common set of observation points to characterise vertical age profiles. The goal of this thesis is to use environmental tracers to characterise the degree of anisotropy of sedimentary aquifers in two regions, with contrasting depositional environments, which have a historical legacy of intensive pumping of deep groundwater: the coastal fluvio-delta sedimentary system of Bangladesh and West Bengal, and the alluvial sedimentary system of the Plain aquifer of NW India. Specific objectives are to:

1) To constrain the groundwater residence times and recharge sources within the thick sedimentary aquifer systems in areas of contrasting pumping histories;

2) To assess aquifer anisotropy and response to intensive abstraction in two case study areas with contrasting depositional environments (i.e. lithological controls) with varying long-term groundwater level response to intensive pumping;

3) To characterise the vertical changes and controls (0-200 m) on water quality; specifically in relation to the inorganic hydrochemistry, including geogenic trace elements, anthropogenic contaminants and saline groundwater;

4) To characterise the vertical changes (0-200 m) in the sources, nature and reactivity of dissolved organic matter profiles within the thick sedimentary aquifer systems using fluroescence EEM techniques.

Funding: This PhD is funded by BGS.

Short CV


Appointed to BGS, NERC              Scientific Officer, September 2001

Higher Scientific Officer, July 2007

Current position                               Senior Hydrogeochemist, September 2011


Education and languages:

MRes Earth and Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, 2001

BSc (Hons) Environmental Chemistry, University of Reading, 2000

Chartered Chemist, 2011

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Member of the International Association of Hydrogeologists

Languages: French, fluent


Impact metric:

Current H-Index: 14, >850 citations, 740 since 2010

>35 peer reviewed ISI journal papers

>40 scientific reports

>30 conference presentations


Key experience:

I have been a hydrogeochemist for over 14 years within the BGS Groundwater Science Programme. I have extensive UK and international experience, my areas of experience and expertise include:


•Impacts of climate change and intensive abstraction on groundwater resilience

•Groundwater recharge processes and tracing groundwater residence times

•Groundwater quality including risks from pathogens and organic contaminants

•Nutrient biogeochemistry in aquatic systems

•Peri-urban hydrogeology in floodplain systems

•Training professionals and undertaking geochemical surveys; UK, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Zambia, India and Bangladesh

•Laboratory and field based studies and development of analytical methods



A full list of publications can be found here:

Some recent journal papers (2015):

Gooddy, D.C, Lapworth, D.J, Ascott, J, Bennett, S, Heaton, T.H.E, Surridge, B, 2015. An isotope fingerprint for phosphorous in drinking water supplies. Environmental Science and Technology – Just accepted: DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01137

Sorensen J.P.R., Lapworth, D.J., Marchant, B.P., Nkhuwa, D.C.W., Pedley., S. et al. 2015. In-situ tryptophan sensing: a rapid, predictor of faecal contamination in groundwater. Water Research, 81, 38-46.

Lapworth D.J.; Baran N.; Stuart M.E.; Manamsa K.; Talbot J. 2015. Persistent and emerging micro-organic contaminants in Chalk groundwater of England and France. Environmental Pollution, 203, 214-225. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2015.02.030

Sorensen J.P.R.; Lapworth D.J.; Marchant B.P.; Nkhuwa D.C.W.; Pedley S.; Stuart M.E.; Bell R.A.; Chirwa M.; Kabika J.; Liemisa M.; Chibesa M. 2015. In-situ tryptophan-like fluorescence: A real-time indicator of faecal contamination in drinking water supplies. Water Research, 81, 38-46. 0.1016/j.watres.2015.05.035

Khamis, K.; Sorensen, J.P.R.; Bradley, C.; Hannah, D.M.; Lapworth, D.J.; Stevens, R. 2015. In situ tryptophan-like fluorometers: assessing turbidity and temperature effects for freshwater applications. Environmental Science Processes & Impacts, 17, 740-752. 10.1039/c5em00030k

Sorensen, J.P.R.; Lapworth, D.J.; Nkhuwa, D.C.W.; Stuart, M.E.; Gooddy, D.C.; Bell, R.A.; Chirwa, M.; Kabika, J.;Liemisa, M.; Chibesa, M.; Pedley, S.. 2015 Emerging contaminants in urban groundwater sources in Africa. Water Research, 72, 51-63. 10.1016/j.watres.2014.08.002

Rhymes, J.; Jones, L.; Lapworth, D.J.; White, D.; Fenner, N.; McDonald, J.E.; Perkins, T.L. 2015. Using chemical, microbial and fluorescence techniques to understand contaminant sources and pathways to wetlands in a conservation site. Science of the Total Environment, 511, 703-710. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.12.085

Technical reports:

Lapworth, D.J.Carter, R .C.Pedley, S.MacDonald, A.M.. 2015 Threats to groundwater supplies from contamination in Sierra Leone, with special reference to Ebola care facilities. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 87pp. (OR/15/009) (Unpublished)

Lapworth, D.J.; Gopal, K.; Rao, M.S.; MacDonald, A.M.. 2014 Intensive groundwater exploitation in the Punjab : an evaluation of resource and quality trends. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 34pp. (OR/14/068) (Unpublished)

Lapworth, D.J.; Surridge, B.; Williams, P.J.; Heaton, T.H.E.; Gooddy, D.C.. 2014 Method for analysing phosphate 18O/16O ratios for waters with high C:P ratios. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 10pp. (OR/14/067) (Unpublished)

Impact and other research

See my web profile page for details of other areas of research:

Selected projects from 2008 to date:

2015 -date           Principal BGS investigator on NERC-DFID funded project: Impacts of climate change on water resources in the Lake Victoria Basin

2015-date            Principal investigator on NERC funded project: Tracking faecal contamination in public supplies using in-situ fluorescence techniques

2013-2015            Principal investigator on DFID funded project; mapping impacts of urban development on groundwater quality in sub-Saharan Africa

2012-date            Researcher on NERC funded macronutrient cycles project (LTLS: Analysis and simulation of the Long-Term / Large-Scale interactions of C, N and P in UK land, freshwater and atmosphere)

2012-2015            Researcher on DFID funded project investigating resilience of groundwater in Indo-Gangetic-Plain to overexploitation and climate change

2011                    Visiting researcher (three months) at Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), France, investigating emerging contaminants in groundwater bodies

2011-date            Researcher on NERC funded grant and BGS research investigating the use of d18O-PO4 for P source determination in UK freshwater systems

2010-date            Principal investigator on a NERC funded project characterising anaerobic groundwater nanoparticles

2010-2012            Researcher on DFID funded project investigating resilience of groundwater in Africa to climate change and links to livelihoods

2010-date            Researcher on NERC funded project investigating hydrochemistry of the Oxford floodplain

2007-2011            Geochemist on two World Bank mapping projects in Nigeria and Madagascar