Research & Science Note 9: Ground Water Quality Trends


Availability of safe, secure drink-ing water supplies is a part of the quality of life for Albertans. Water for Life is the Government of Alberta’s strategy for water. The strategy is intended to help manage both water quality and quantity issues, as well as envi-ronmental concerns. As a not– for-profit and charitable society mandated under the Water for Life Strategy, the MRWCC pro-vides a forum to engage com-munities, share information, discuss concerns, and imple-ment stewardship initiatives in the Milk River watershed.

The MRWCC has been working with partner organizations and stakeholders since 2007 to bet-ter understand groundwater quality in the Milk River water-shed. The data collected helped to establish a baseline ground-water quality data set for the watershed.

Monitoring was conducted in 2007, 2011, and 2016.

Samples were collected at each site, for bacteriological, routine chemical, and trace metal analy-sis. 40 sites were selected, approximately 10 per each county. The idea was to revisit and sample the same locations over the long-term trend, howev-er, circumstances beyond con-trol proved difficult for the sam-pling site consistency as some of the initial wells had been de-commissioned or changed own-

ership and the new owner didn’t buy into the program. This caused a small variation in the number and sampling locations over the years.

Groundwater quality can vary considerably across the water-shed, even though most of the wells are developed within the same aquifer. Local and areal variations in recharge, depth of completion, relation to ground-water flow path, and variations in the chemical compositions of glacial and bedrock deposits, can all contribute to the chemi-cal composition of groundwater.

Categories: Research and Science Notes
Tags: groundwater, monitoring, water quality
Author: K. Dykstra (AHS), M. Lupwayi (MRWCC), T. Romanow (MRWCC)