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A strategic programme for NERC Lowland catchment research
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An invisible water supply

view of Chalk farmland

Dry valleys, which are a feature of permeable catchments, were formed by meltwater at the end of the ice age when the land was frozen. LOCAR research in the Tern catchment found that water from aquifers flows through the layers of sand and gravel on the floor of dry valleys, feeding a considerable volume of water into the main rivers. This invisible underground flow helps to sustain aquatic environments during droughts, but also channels agricultural chemicals into rivers.

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