The impact of increasing population and competing groundwater uses in the Sylvan Lake sub-basin is of concern to local stakeholders. A numerical groundwater flow model was developed in the United States Geological Surveys MODFLOW groundwater modelling software to improve the understanding of regional groundwater movement and availability, and to examine the effects of stresses on flow (e.g., pumping, change in groundwater recharge) and the broad-scale interaction of groundwater with surface water, including Sylvan and Gull lakes.
The numerical model simulates flow within 10 hydrostratigraphic units, from the base of the Wapiti Formation to the surficial NeogeneQuaternary sediments. Previous geological modelling of sandstone abundance in the uppermost bedrock unit (i.e., Paskapoo Formation) was incorporated in the numerical model to account for the heterogeneity and connectedness of areas potentially having higher hydraulic conductivity. Both steady-state and transient flow conditions were considered. In the transient model, Sylvan and Gull lakes were represented using MODFLOWs lake package in order to assess lakegroundwater interactions. The model was calibrated based on lake level and observation well data, although transient observation well data were limited. Model input files are available for water management planning, scenario modelling, and increasing the knowledge of groundwater flow in the Sylvan Lake sub-basin.
The model files are published in MODFLOW format as AER/AGS Model 2018-01: Numerical groundwater flow model of the Sylvan Lake sub-basin in the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor, central Alberta (multiple files, text format).
Ligget, J.E. and Singh, A. (2018): Numerical groundwater flow model of the Sylvan Lake sub-basin in the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor, central Alberta; Alberta Energy Regulator / Alberta Geological Survey, AER/AGS Report 96, 25 p.