Water resources management is evolving, with an increased need for regional scientific understanding that spans political boundaries, is scientifically defensible, and that can be readily incorporated into the planning or decision making process. Since 2001, a number of Municipalities and Conservation Authorities situated in south-central Ontario have been collaboratively conducting regional hydrogeological investigations. This regional understanding then provides input and context for the wide range of issues that these agencies must address, ultimately allowing for an integrated and consistent set of planning policies related to water resource protection. The technical hydrogeological program of this collaborative involves three main components:
- A database of all geologic and water information including borehole, well, streamflow, climate, water use and water quality information. The program database consists of data obtained from other agencies (e.g. Water Survey of Canada, Ontario Ministry of the Environment) along with data collected by members of the program. Data collected under the program is intended to fill data gaps in critical areas and supplement the existing information with higher quality data;
- A three-dimensional hydrogeological interpretation including development of conceptual geologic and hydrogeological model(s)
- Numerical flow modelling tools to help analyse the regional and local flow systems and to help make predictions of how the flow system may change over time (e.g. climate change). All components are updated and refined as new information and understanding is obtained. The figure below conceptually shows the program elements and how they contribute to the overall goal of improved planning and decision making at the various partner agencies.
Council of Canadian Academies. 2009. The Sustainable Management of Groundwater in Canada. Report of the Expert Panel on Groundwater.254 pages. Sharpe, D.R., M.J. Hinton, H.A.J. Russell and A.J. Desbarats.