2013 Technical Session 14 - Source Water Issues & Watershed Management

Tuesday, April 23, 8:00 - 11:40 am, Skeena Room

 
Moderator: Glen Brown, Ministry of Community, Sports and Cultural Development

 

14.1 Adaptive Management of Groundwater Resources: An Example from the Athabasca Oil Sands

14.2 Aquifer Storage and Recovery- A "New" Water Source

14.3 Bedrock Wells Losing 90% of their Capacity... This Could Happen To You!

14.4 Developing Capacity for Source Water Protection Planning in Remote Northern Indigenous Communities

14.5 Groundwater Protection Planning: Leadership at the Community Level, District of Highlands, BC

14.6 Watershed Wise - Source Protection of Drinking Water Through Watershed-Based Planning and Management

 

 


Source Water Issues / Watershed Management | 8:00 am - 8:30 am
14.1 Adaptive Management of Groundwater Resources: An Example from the Athabasca Oil Sands

 

Presenter: Margaret Scott, M.A.Sc, E.I.T., WorleyParsons Canada Services Ltd., Burnaby, BC
Additional Contributors: Jos Beckers, Ph.D., P.Geo., WolreyParsons Canada Services Ltd., Burnaby, BC; Jon Fennell, M.Sc., Ph.D., P. Geol., Integrated Sustainability Consultants Ltd., Calgary, AB; Matt Webb, M.Sc., WorleyParsons Canada Services Ltd., Burnaby, BC

 

 

 



Expanding BC’s natural resources sector is a primary objective to meet the goals established by the BC Jobs Plan (September 2012). These growth targets raise concerns regarding potential environmental effects and impacts to resources such as groundwater. These concerns are being addressed through the Living Water Smart BC water plan in which the Province has committed to modernize BC’s water laws (preparing the Water Sustainability Act), develop groundwater protection regulation and regulate groundwater use across the province. Within the proposed policy for the new Water Sustainability Act, the Province promotes an area-based approach to water management that incorporates such factors as climate change, competing demands, cumulative effects and population growth. Detailed investigations will be required for moderate to high risk regions in which water resource assessment and watershed sustainability plans may be necessary to mitigate the risks. Both Alberta and Ontario have applied area-based approaches to manage their water resources and assess and mitigate risks to water security (quantity and quality). This presentation will focus on a regional-scale application within the Athabasca Oil Sands (AOS) of Alberta. The rapid growth of oil sands development within the AOS has raised concerns that mining and in-situ oil extraction processes may negatively affect regional and local groundwater quality and quantity. The principal goal of this project was to understand and manage cumulative effects from human activities using a systematic, science-based approach. As a result, adaptive management tools were developed including a first-of-its-kind stewardship document for Alberta’s groundwater resources using risk identification and performance monitoring to support sustainable development of the natural resource. This methodology and the developed tools are adaptable for applications within BC. The intent of the presentation is to inform water managers of the key learnings from this study and empower them to successfully fulfill the objectives of the proposed Water Sustainability Act.

 Presentation PDF


Source Water Issues / Watershed Management | 8:35 am - 9:05 am
14.2 Aquifer Storage and Recovery – A “New” Water Source
Presenter: Keith Kohut, M.A.Sc., P.Eng., Associated Engineering (BC) Ltd., Burnaby, BC



North Americans, for the most part, have ready access to safe drinking water. Many of us, particularly in Canada can also say we have access to an abundant supply of water. However, without question, there is increasing pressure on this the most precious of our resources. Competing needs for water supply such as industrial use and power generation; regional population growth and associated demands; and climate change impacts on surface and groundwater supplies are all contributing to this pressure. What if we could save water for a rainy day? Or perhaps better posed, what if we could save water for a sunny day? Or perhaps more precisely asked, what if we could store drinking water underground during the cool fall, winter and spring months and recover that water during hot dry summers? There is a way. At over 100 wellfield sites in North America, a water management strategy called Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) is currently being practiced. ASR has many diverse applications in addition to seasonal storage such as providing peak or emergency water, restoring groundwater levels, water temperature control and deferral of treatment plant capital expenditures. This presentation will provide an overview of ASR as a water management strategy. Technical aspects of ASR including hydrogeological considerations and design of ASR wells will be presented. Potential applications from a Canadian perspective will be outlined and finally, we will present some information on an ASR investigation and pilot project in the Parksville area on Vancouver Island which has been underway since 2011.

Presentation PDF


Source Water Issues / Watershed Management | 9:10 am - 9:40 am
14.3 Bedrock Wells Losing 90% of their Capacity... This Could Happen to You!
Presenter: Gilles Wendling, Ph.D, P.Eng., GW Solutions Inc, Nanaimo, BC



Six (6) bedrock wells were drilled in the early 1990s and a water system was designed and rated in 1993 through 1996 to supply a residential subdivision on a rocky hill near Ladysmith, BC. In 2009 and 2010, Woodley Range experienced a lack of water in the mid summer, thus requiring trucking of water. The 2011 spring study by GW Solutions revealed that little was known about the long term response of the aquifer to pumping, mostly under summer conditions when the water table drops and when there is no recharge through precipitation for several consecutive months. The initial goal was to determine whether the water supply shortage was a result of low aquifer levels, excessive well head losses, a control problem, distribution network leaks or a combination of these factors. The pumping rate of each well was thoroughly monitored over the summer and fall of 2011 for up to 65 days. Drops of pumping levels of over 80m were recorded. A drop of discharge rate with time was observed for all the wells.  This was particularly drastic for one of the main producer, which saw its discharge rate drop by more than ninety percent! In 2011, the lowest elevation of the water table was reached in early November.  This means that the actual period of the year without recharge can be long, most likely longer than the 100 days considered for testing wells in BC.

Presentation PDF


Source Water Issues / Watershed Management | 10:00 am - 10:30 am
14.4 Developing Capacity for Source Water Protection Planning in Remote Northern Indigenous Communities
Presenter: Leslie Collins, M.Sc. (Biology), Institute for Watershed Science, Trent University, Peterborough, ON
Additional Contributors: Craig Murray, M.Sc., Hydrologist, Institute for Watershed Science, Trent University, Peterborough, ON; Chris Metcalfe, Ph.D., Professor Environmental Resource Sciences Programme, Director, Institute for Watershed Science, Trent University, Peterborough, ON



Delivery of safe, potable water to remote northern communities is difficult, with limited resources for infrastructure and training, and the technological challenges caused by climate extremes. There is limited capacity within these communities to develop and implement Source Water Protection (SWP) plans. Through support to Trent University from a five-year RBC Blue Water Project Leadership Grant in 2009, the Institute for Watershed Science and Indigenous Environmental Studies Program at Trent have developed strategies for SWP in remote communities in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. The project goal is to develop training programs for community-based SWP planning that reduces reliance on technological solutions for providing safe drinking water and integrating Indigenous Knowledge (IK) into these training programs. In the first three years of this project, the project partners have developed and implemented training programs that combine northern IK with western science to create culturally relevant SWP training for northern Indigenous communities. These include a full college-level course  delivered through Yukon College, a partnership with the Department of  Environment, Government of the Northwest Territories to deliver community workshops in Inuvik and Yellowknife on SWP planning, curriculum  incorporated into the Environmental Management course offered by the Government of the Northwest Territories’ School of Community Government, and workshops for water operators delivered at the Northern Territories Water and Waste Association Annual Conference in 2010 and 2011. We are currently planning to implement similar community-based training initiatives for remote Yukon communities. This presentation outlines our approach to providing SWP training for remote communities.

Presentation PDF


Source Water Issues / Watershed Management | 10:35 am - 11:05 am
14.5 Groundwater Protection Planning: Leadership at the Community Level, District of Highlands, BC
Presenter: Mark Bolton, Senior Hydrogeologist, M.Sc., P.Geo., Golder Associates Ltd., Victoria, BC
Additional Contributors: Eric Bonham, P.Eng., Retired, BCWWA, Victoria, BC; Jillian Sacré, Principal and Senior Hydrogeologist, M.Sc., P.Geo., Golder Associates Ltd., Burnaby, BC

 



In the District of Highlands, the majority of the rural population of approximately 2,000 obtains drinking water from private, individual wells. When concerns were raised over groundwater quantity and quality, particularly in relation to future land use and potential impacts of climate change, the District took a leadership role and retained Golder Associates Ltd. to conduct a three-phase Groundwater Protection Study. In phase 1 of the study, Golder developed and calibrated a district-wide numerical hydrogeological model. The model was used to conduct water balance analyses to assess the sustainability of current and future groundwater withdrawals, together with the potential impacts of climate change. Phase 2 included compilation of a regional contaminant inventory to identify existing and potential hazards to water quality. Relative rankings were assigned to the identified hazards to provide the Highlands with guidance on prioritizing groundwater protection efforts.  Based on the results of the numerical model and the contaminant inventory, a groundwater quality and water-level monitoring program was implemented at strategic locations across the Highlands. In phase 3, a groundwater protection framework was developed to support stewardship in the community. The framework included measures for conservation, contingency planning, groundwater quality protection and emergency response. A variety of regulatory and non-regulatory mechanisms and market approaches were identified. Emphasis was placed on public education and opportunities were identified to encourage collaboration amongst stakeholders to implement tools that are applicable to the local context. The conservation and groundwater protection framework represents a key element in the District’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan.

Presentation PDF


Source Water Issues / Watershed Management | 11:10 am - 11:40 am
14.6 Watershed Wise - Source Protection of Drinking Water Through Watershed-Based Planning and Management
Presenter: Steve Litke, MRM, B.Sc, Fraser Basin Council, Vancouver, BC
Additional Contributors: Monte Staats, Sunshine Coast Regional District, Sechelt, BC



In BC, many watersheds are sources of community drinking water supplies and are also subject to pressures and threats from a variety of human activities. Forestry, mining, energy, recreation, agriculture and residential sectors are prominent in many BC watersheds. Each of these sectors comes with a range of activities, benefits and costs in relation to watersheds and the communities and ecosystems that depend upon them. Therefore, it is of vital importance that the variety of land, water and resource uses is managed on a watershed basis, implementing beneficial management practices to help protect water quality, quantity and overall watershed health. The Chapman Creek watershed supplies drinking water to roughly 90% of the residents on the Sunshine Coast. To enhance the protection of this invaluable resource, the Sunshine Coast Regional District is working with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority to develop a watershed management plan under the Drinking Water Protection Act. This process has included a watershed risk assessment that identified and rated the hazards to drinking water quality, the formation of a Technical Working Group, and the development of a draft Source Assessment Response Plan (SARP) that specifies actions and management measures that, once implemented, will mitigate the identified hazards and ensure that the risks to drinking water quality within the Chapman Creek watershed are minimized. The Fraser Basin Council and Sunshine Coast Regional District will co-present this session on the importance of watershed health and source protection generally, and specific planning tools to help protect drinking water quality.

Presentation PDF- Part 1

Presentation PDF- Part 2



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