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Groundwater

Water Matters aims to build awareness of the need to improve understanding of groundwater in Alberta.

Beneath the Alberta landscape, trapped in the spaces between soils and rocks, is groundwater. Groundwater supplies a variety of uses across the province including drinking water, agricultural uses, and commercial and industrial sectors needs.  Groundwater resources play a vital role in "recharging" Alberta's rivers, tributaries and other water features during the dry summer and winter months.

Groundwater IllustrationWhile most people are familiar with images of freshwater lakes and rivers, most of North America's water lies underground in aquifers. Some of this water has been underground — clean and slow moving — for 10,000 years.

As more research unfolds, our understanding of the significant hydrological connections between surface water and groundwater grows. For example, wetland prairie sloughs are often fed by groundwater. Yet, instead of caution, we are forging ahead with new developments across all sectors that look to groundwater for their source.

We should be concerned poor land-use planning, oil and gas development, deforestation, contamination, and withdrawals are occurring in an information vacuum that The lack of knowledge about groundwater processes and the mismanagement of groundwater - through poor land-use planning, oil and gas development, deforestation, contamination, and withdrawals — is cause for concern.

Illustration credit: Turner, R.J.W., Franklin, R.G., Grasby, S.E., and Nowlan, G.S., 2005: Bow River Basin Waterscape; Geological Survey of Canada, Miscellaneous Report 90, 2005.