Groundwater Modelling in the Sylvan Lake Sub-Basin

After the completion of the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor Groundwater Atlas in 2012, the Sylvan Lake sub-basin (SLSB) was selected to undertake a numerical modelling study because of its high population, increasing water supply needs, popularity with tourists, industrial activity, and the presence of two large, recreationally popular lakes.

Figure 1: SLSB groundwater model area

In 2014, a new hydrostratigraphic model of the SLSB was developed by the AGS. This included mapping of the coarse-grained Quaternary-Neogene units above bedrock and of potentially permeable sandstone bodies within the bedrock units.

In 2015, Deltares (whom the AER-AGS have partnered with to share and gain knowledge on the scientific challenges related to groundwater resource characterization and quantification) completed a preliminary groundwater flow model of the SLSB using the iMOD software platform that uses USGS MODFLOW. The current SLSB project aims to further develop the groundwater model to produce a calibrated simulation which can be used to help evaluate possible impacts of regional-scale changes to the groundwater regime in the Sylvan Lake area. The groundwater flow model will be released to the public in 2016 so that it may be used as a tool for groundwater management in the SLSB.

Figure 2: SLSB groundwater model. Different colours represent different geological units.