This report describes a new approach to mapping groundwater yield in Alberta that is based on an aquifer-yield continuum). The aquifer-yield continuum classifies groundwater yield along a spectrum that helps define total groundwater availability and is bound by two extremes: non-use and maximum mining.
We applied the aquifer-yield continuum method to near surface bedrock formations containing nonsaline groundwater across approximately 120,000 km2 in central Alberta between Slave Lake in the north and Calgary in the south. We constrained the study area based on a combination of watersheds on the ground surface and subsurface geological boundaries.
The study area contains multiple river basins, including the Peace, Athabasca, North Saskatchewan, Battle, Red Deer and South Saskatchewan. It also includes the following geological boundaries; the western edge of the Paskapoo Formation, the northern edge of the Wapiti Formation, the eastern edge of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation and the southern edge of the Scollard Formation. The major geological units include the Paskapoo Formation (54% of the study area), Horseshoe Canyon/upper Wapiti Formation (29%), Scollard Formation (9%) and lower Wapiti Formation (8%).
Klassen, J. and Smerdon, B.D. (2018): First-order groundwater availability assessment for central Alberta; Alberta Energy Regulator, AER/AGS Open File Report 2017-07, 28 p.