Geoscience BC is planning the Peace Project to research groundwater in the Peace Region, the organization announced in its 2014 annual report.
The project is “aimed at gaining a better understanding of regional aquifers in northeast BC, especially where few water wells exist north of the Peace River,” read the report.
The impetus for the program was the Water Sustainability Act, announced in March of last year and starting this spring. The act will regulate groundwater usage in response to growing public and First Nations concerns about quality.
To that end, over the coming year aquifers — underground layers of extractable water — will be mapped out over 31,000 square kilometers using airborne geophysics. The electromagnetic survey will look down to 350 meters below the surface of the earth to discover aquifers and measure the quality of the water.
This information will serve to discover the best places for groundwater observation wells for the monitoring of water quality.
Other uses for the survey include finding non-potable sources of water that the energy sector could use rather than relying on surface water sources as well as mitigating the effects of a spill by providing reliable
The project will have multiple government partners including the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the BC Oil and Gas Commission and the Ministry of Natural Gas Development.
On the industry side, Progress Energy Ltd., Conoco-Phillips and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers are involved. It also has support from the Peace River Regional District’s Water Stewardship Committee.