Successful management of freshwater resources requires an understanding of the exchanges of water between the atmospheric, surface-water, and groundwater environments.
To conduct a hydrogeological characterization of the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor (ECC), an average annual water budget was determined. Climatic and hydrometric data from Environment Canada were used to generate grids for each of the major components of a hydrological budget, including precipitation, evapotranspiration (potential and actual), maximum runoff, minimum base flow, and groundwater recharge.
Basic watershed analysis was performed on streamflow data to assign base-flow and runoff characteristics to a given drainage basin. Geostatistical modelling of atmospheric water fluxes was used to interpolate climate data across the province from discrete data points to determine the spatial distribution of precipitation and evapotranspiration within the ECC.
Mapping results provide a simple and robust overview of the hydrology across a large region of the province.