PRRD Groundwater Baseline Project-FAQ’s

What is this project about? – FAQ’s

The PRRD Groundwater Baseline Project will establish a comprehensive understanding of regional groundwater resources and share that information with PRRD residents.  The Project will consist of understanding where groundwater is present in the subsurface, and how it moves in permeable soil layers (aquifers) and in fractured bedrock. The first step of the project will primarily be based on putting together information from the provincial water wells database, available mapping, and interacting with provincial agencies and other partners regarding other related groundwater studies now being conducted in the region. Further study and analysis will be determined once the initial analysis is complete.

The project will deliver maps and 3D images describing the aquifers and the groundwater regime.  This has never been done before for the region.   It will also provide a regional description of the water quality; also a first for the region.

How is the GW Solutions different from the GeoScience study that was announced in March 2015?

The Geoscience study is an airborne geophysical survey. It will involve a fly-over of the Peace region and the collection of electromagnetic data to a depth of approximately 300 metres below the earth’s surface.   The collected data, correlated with other surface and subsurface data  (already available or to be collected in the future), will help in identifying the presence of water in the subsurface. The GW Solutions study is compiling and analyzing existing data (bedrock geology, soils, water wells data) and using softwares to clean, sort, and format the data.  In a final stage, the study creates images of the groundwater – where it is and how it flows.

The data from the two studies can ultimately be used together to create a better understanding of groundwater in the Peace.

How is the GW Solutions study different from the PRRD study with Simon Fraser University and the Province of BC?

The GW Solutions study is drawing on previously established databases as well as the new wells testing data that is currently being conducted by SFU and the Province. The projects are collaborating to create comprehensive information. The GW Solutions study may identify areas where data gaps exist and will endeavor to address these with new testing. All of the data will be used to create the 3D images of the surface and subsurface water of the region.   The GW Solutions study will be public, transparent, and accessible through the PRRD website.  By comparison, it is unknown how public and transparent the SFU/MOE/FLNRO results will be, and how quickly they will be released.

How can/should I be involved? What do you want from me?

The GW solutions team wants to incorporate all available data into its study.  We welcome the contribution of all wells testing data. The team may also want to test additional wells in select areas where data gaps exist and may ask permission of well owners.

How will the information be used?

The primary objective of the study is simply to establish a baseline understanding of groundwater in the Peace today – where it is and how it flows, and share it with the residents in a way which is easy to understand.  Ultimately this information can be used to inform water management and land use planning.

Who will have access to the information once the study is complete? Will it be a searchable database format? Where will it be located?

The information will be publicly available and should serve as a tool for municipalities, First Nations, industry and water stewardship, community and resident groups.

The source data will be available to the public.  It will be searchable using commercially available software (Excel, GIS, etc.).  It will reside in PRRD data base system.

The only exception will be where data has been provided by provincial data bases that are not yet available to the public. In this case, the data has been accessed and will inform models, but the source data will be released at a later date as determined by the Province.

The maps and 3D images produced by the project will be publicly available in free and open source viewer software.  They will be available from the PRRD website.

How will this study help groundwater in the PRRD?

The more we know and the better we understand the nature, quantity and quality of water, the better we will be able to responsibly manage it and ensure its long term supply and quality.

The original TOR calls for wells sampling. Where is this sampling being done? How much will be done?

The first phase of the study is a compilation and analysis of existing data. Once that phase is complete – likely in late 2015, we will identify possible areas for further study and sampling. The sampling may be done in coordination with BC MOE/FLNRO.