We propose a well-balanced stable generalized Riemann problem (GRP) scheme for the shallow water equations with irregular bottom topography based on moving, adaptive, unstructured, triangular meshes. In order to stabilize the computations near equilibria, we use the Rankine–Hugoniot condition to remove a singularity from the GRP solver. Moreover, we develop a remapping onto the new mesh (after grid movement) based on equilibrium variables. This, together with the already established techniques, guarantees the well-balancing. Numerical tests show the accuracy, efficiency, and robustness of the GRP moving mesh method: lake at rest solutions are preserved even when the underlying mesh is moving (e.g., mesh points are moved to regions of steep gradients), and various comparisons with fixed coarse and fine meshes demonstrate high resolution at relatively low cost. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.