Abstract - GeoMontreal 2013

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Hydrogeological Characterization of the Cold Lake Beaver River Basin, Alberta
Session: Regional Aquifer Characterization
Authors: Nevenka Nakevska, Joseph Riddell, Dan Palombi
Even though Alberta is fortunate in its plentiful supply of fresh water, variations in geography,
climate, and increases in population and industrial use is generating a rising demand and reliance
on groundwater. Alberta’s groundwater resources need to be protected and managed to secure a
sustainable water supply for the future. Groundwater management requires understanding the
hydrological cycle, quantifying surface water – groundwater interactions and undertaking
regional aquifer characterization in order to assess and evaluate water quantity and quality to aid
in the development of water policy and regulations. Hence, the Alberta Geological Survey and
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development have partnered to enhance
management of the province’s water resources by investing in groundwater mapping and aquifer
characterization.
The Provincial Groundwater Inventory Program (PGIP) is aimed to provide a physical evaluation
of the quantity, quality, and the thresholds between sustainable and unsustainable use of
groundwater resources in Alberta. The Cold Lake Beaver River Basin study area is the second
area to be mapped following the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor due to the use of groundwater for
domestic and industrial purposes. The first phase of this project is to complete a groundwater
atlas that provides a simplified analysis of existing information on the geology above bedrock
and hydrogeological attributes of the area for stakeholders and the public. Regional
hydrogeological mapping in the atlas includes: potentiometric surfaces of all the mapped aquifers
above the top of bedrock, mapping of the water table surface, recharge and discharge areas,
vertical gradients, total dissolved solids as well as aquifer susceptibility maps produced using the
DRASTIC method. The results from the first phase of PGIP is meant to guide future work at
finer scales of investigation with the intent to provide support for numerical flow modeling,
monitoring activities as well as building a scientific framework to be used for groundwater
management decisions. The content of the Cold Lake Beaver River Basin Groundwater Atlas can
also be used to assist in a number of additional applications that could benefit from this work
including: resource exploration, municipal planning, water budget studies and groundwater risk
analyses.
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