Access to groundwater level data

Measurements of the depth below the ground surface of the water table, or its height above sea level, are a key dataset for understanding groundwater.

Groundwater levels depend on aquifer properties, local geological conditions and a complex balance between recharge from rainfall, and discharges to rivers or pumped abstraction.

The data can be used to quantify resources, to understand the flow of groundwater and to measure the impacts of abstraction.

Original records

Drillers and geologists normally record water levels at the completion of drilling, and further opportunistic measurements may be recorded during hydrogeological site visits. These measurements are normally recorded on the paper well records.

Some boreholes may be selected for intensive monitoring to build a detailed picture of groundwater behaviour.The BGS hold data from national monitoring carried out prior to the 1970s. Subsequently, the UK monitoring networks have been run by the EA and SEPA, who hold their own data.

The BGS operate several small-scale monitoring networks as part of our research projects, and at our long term environmental monitoring sites.

Contours of water table elevations in major aquifers have been drawn up for various aquifers as part of the production of hydrogeological maps and for research.

Digital Information

BGS hold four distinct collections of digital water level data:

  • measurements from borehole completion reports in the WellMaster database
  • National Groundwater Level Archive (NGLA) holds a subset of actively updated national groundwater level monitoring data
  • groundwater level data from research sites and observatories, such as the observatory at west Oxford
  • digitised groundwater contours and model interpolations at regional and national scale

Data access

Access type Dataset Information

Online access

Groundwater level monitoring sites

Time-series graphs and background data in local hydrogeological conditions are available online for some sites

Groundwater level information

Monthly updates of surface water flows and groundwater levels, with a hydrological report

Geoindex onshore

Map based browser allowing access to indices of sites where water level data is held by BGS (water wells with water level measurements in the boreholes theme)

Licenced datasets


Some groundwater level data is held within the WellMaster database


Special request

Groundwater level data is not normally sold separately as a licensed product, but the BGS do have digital versions of groundwater contours from archive sources and model data  that may serve particular client needs
Contact Enquiries for further information


BGS Data Catalogue entry

Groundwater level archive BGS Data Catalogue entry is available


Contact Enquiries for further information