Provincial Groundwater Inventory Program

Provincial Groundwater Inventory Program

The Provincial Groundwater Inventory Program (PGIP) was launched in 2008 to map and inventory groundwater resources in Alberta. PGIP is a joint partnership between Alberta Environment & Parks (EP) and the Alberta Geological Survey (AGS) of the AER. The key questions to be answered by PGIP are

  • how much groundwater is present for allocation in Alberta under a spectrum of water conversation and policy frameworks for all industrial sectors and ecosystems,
  • how vulnerable is the groundwater resource to pollution given changing land uses, and
  • how might groundwater best be managed under the Land-use Framework.

PGIP also supports the three main goals of the Government of Alberta’s renewed Water for Life Strategy: safe and secure drinking water, healthy aquatic ecosystems, and reliable quality supplies for a sustainable economy. The ongoing projects of PGIP are critical to the future of Alberta’s groundwater supply. The program will enable the Government of Alberta to

  • report on the quantity and quality of groundwater,
  • forecast the effects of groundwater developments on Alberta’s water system, and
  • develop water policy and regulations to meet government objectives for the safe and sustainable use of water in Alberta.

Groundwater mapping tells us how much groundwater is available and the location, geometry, and distribution of Alberta’s aquifers and aquitards. This information is very important when assessing how to meet new demands for groundwater.

Understanding Alberta’s aquifers and the geology around them can

  • direct new water users to additional groundwater sources, limiting the depletion of sources already under pressure;
  • provide a scientific basis for protecting groundwater sources and areas that replenish groundwater;
  • help us create models for groundwater flow in Alberta to assess and understand cumulative effects of development;
  • support sustainable groundwater use; and
  • assist all levels of government in making informed decisions about protecting groundwater.

PGIP delivers inventory by geographic region in Alberta in three phases. Phase 1 describes the natural hydrogeology, maps aquifers and flow systems, and documents natural groundwater chemical quality. Phase 2 uses numerical simulation to quantify natural water balances and transfers between deep and shallow groundwater systems and between shallow groundwater systems and surface water. Phase 3 creates groundwater-management products for decision-makers. Study regions are selected in consultation with the AER and EP, recognizing trends in energy resource development as well as high demands for water resources.

The first large area of PGIP was the Edmonton-Calgary corridor. Phase 1 is complete and a groundwater atlas was produced.

Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects are also underway at;