Team A: Water Availability

A combination of a dry, variable climate, and heavily managed landscape make it difficult to disentangle from observational records (e.g. streamflow time-series) those factors that control response of Prairie catchment water budgets and fluxes to climate change and land-use choices. Specifically, how agricultural water management, including wetland drainage, and climate influence flood frequency is of particular interest to our stakeholders.

Moreover, groundwater is receiving consideration as a viable source of freshwater on the Canadian Prairies when surface supplies are scarce; however, there is poor characterization of some aquifers and their linkages with surface waters. There is also increasing demands by industry placed on these resources. A regional assessment of how surface waters interact with shallow groundwater is absent, as is an understanding of how shallow and deep groundwater interact.

Team A (Water Availability) will make more formal, structural linkages between previous surface hydrology modelling, shallow groundwater recharge modelling and mapping, and assessment of the role and vulnerability of deeper water reserves in order to address these above needs. Integration will enable production of information and products on the interaction of these water cycle components useful for our stakeholders, such as watershed managers, utility providers, and regulators and government.

Explore Team A

Diogo Costa, Grant Ferguson, Masaki Hayashi, Andrew Ireson, Jen McIntosh, John Pomeroy, Kevin Shook, Chris Spence, Andrew Watson

  • Watershed managers
  • Consultants
  • Utility providers
  • Regulators and governments

A1:  Identify how land-use change, including wetland drainage, and climate change alter streamflow, contributing areas, snow cover, and groundwater recharge regimes

A2:  Develop a framework to determine the strength of connections between deeper groundwater sources and the rest of the hydrologic cycle (i.e. potential for recharge, groundwatersurface water interaction)

A3:  Identify those aquifers at risk from climate change, overexploitation and contamination

Creating Virtual Watersheds to explore future climate change and land management scenarios

Evaluation of the impact of climate change and land cover on groundwater recharge rates across Alberta and Saskatchewan

Hydrology Toolbox: Developing hydrology, hydrallics, and water quality models for water managers

Identify aquifers most at risk from climate change, overexploitation, contamination

Prairie watershed classification

Virtual Watershed setup and prototyping

Spatial groundwater recharge modeling of topographic depressions in Alberta

Assess the capacity of select aquifer systems in the Prairies to support current and future uses with a focus on connections between shallow and deep aquifers

Condon, L.E., K.H. Markovich, C.A. Kelleher, J.J. McDonnell, G. Ferguson, and J.C. McIntosh. (2020) Where is the bottom of a watershed? Water Resources Research. 56(3). DOI: 10.1029/2019WR026010

Ferris, D.M., G. Potter, and G. Ferguson. (2020) Characterization of the hydraulic conductivity of glacial till aquitards. Hydrogeology Journal. DOI: 10.1007/s10040-020-02161-7

Costa, D., H. Baulch, J. Elliott, J. Pomeroy, and H. Wheater. (2019). Modelling nutrient dynamics in cold agricultural catchments: A review. Environmental Modelling and Software. 124: 1-16, DOI: 10.1016/ j.envsoft.2019.104586

Costa, D., J. Pomeroy, H. Baulch, J. Elliott, and H. Wheater. (2019). Using an inverse modelling approach with equifinality control to investigate the dominant controls on snowmelt nutrient export. Hydrological Processes. 33(23): 2958-2977, DOI: 10.1002/hyp.13463

Pavlovskii, I., M. Hayashi, and E.E. Cey. (2019) Estimation of depression-focussed groundwater recharge using chloride mass balance: problems and solutions across scales. Hydrogeology Journal. 27: 2263-2278. DOI: 10.1007/s10040-019-01993-2

Pavlovskii, I., S.L. Noorduijn, J.E. Liggett, J. Klassen, and M. Hayashi. (2020) Quantifying terrain controls on runoff retention and routing in the Northern Prairies. Hydrological Processes. 34: 473-484. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.13599

Wolfe, J.D., K.R. Shook, C.J. Whitfield, and C. Spence. (2019) Watershed Classification for the Canadian Prairies. Hydrology and Earth Systems Sciences. 23: 3945-3967. DOI: 5194/hess-23-3945-2019