This spring there were sites at Whelp Creek that showed extended periods of flow due to the active springs. It is suspected that groundwater level were raised from the exceptional wet spring from the year previous. Historically groundwater and surface water have been managed separately. Alberta, being abundant in surface water has drawn little from its groundwater and thus avoided much attention. Fortunately, groundwater pollution has been low but as water scarcity is a future reality It is beneficial to include groundwater in managing our water resources. Whelp Creek could perhaps function as a case study that groundwater does in fact play a critical role in the physical and chemical characteristics of the water flow.
Groundwater is a component of the hydrological cycle containing the water underground. Precipitation that falls on the surface perculates and is stored between the pore spaces of soil and rocks. Typically only six precent of precipitation becomes groundwater, but it can vary from zero to 30 precent. To be a reliable resource, groundwater must be present in aquifers, either as confined or unconfined.
The geology of a landscape has a key influence in the physical and chemical properties of the groundwater. Whelp Creek, like most of Alberta was covered in a glacial till of gravel, sand, silt and clay during the last age. Underneath this surficial deposit, is the bedrock, which are layers of sedimentary rocks. The upper bedrock layer in Whelp Creek is the upper Lacombe member, which is part of the Paskapoo formation. For our purposes, we want to focus on the area in the surficial deposits since this is the zone where surface and groundwater interact.
3.5.4. Regional Groundwater Assessment (RGA)
In 2001, hydrological consultants LTD. In collaboration with PFRA prepared a regional groundwater assessment for the Lacombe county. It was to help the county sustainably...