GULL LAKE WATERSHED AQUIFER PROJECTCategory: 2013, Community Grant, Completed, Grant, Water
In 2010 the four municipalities in the Gull Lake watershed passed the Inter-municipal Development Plan (IDP). A key theme is that future developments should have no net negative impact on the lake. There is still substantial developable land in the watershed; each development requires water; the current source is wells. Developers must demonstrate that their water well(s) have sufficient capacity to supply the requirements of the associated development without negatively impacting nearby users (others’ water wells). The well application process does not consider whether the aquifer they intend to draw from is hydraulically connected to the lake. Therefore, the wells could be indirectly drawing water from the lake. Drawing water from aquifers connected to the lake could lead to long term lake level reduction and thus negatively impact the lake, the very resource that drives the desire to develop in the area. It should be noted that the Alberta Water Science branch has studied the lake and concluded that a substantial amount of water in the lake comes from aquifers.
The objective of the project is to identify and map those aquifers that are hydraulically connected to the lake and provide this tool to the four municipalities in the watershed and Alberta Environment. Ideally this would result in development controls that ensure that water wells are drilled primarily into aquifers that are not hydraulically connected to the lake. Long term success will be a lake that remains about the same size (quantity of water) and the same or improved health.