Preliminary results from GeoScience’s groundwater study are in

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PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — GeoScience BC has the preliminary results of a massive survey on groundwater sources completed last summer in the Peace Region.

The so-called ‘Peace Project’ entailed an airborne electromagnetic survey, which was completed last August. Geoscience BC surveyed an area of 8,000 square kilometre area in the Peace region by helicopter, to map the 3D configuration of aquifers and topography.

The area surveyed ranged from Hudson’s Hope to Pink mountain, also stretching to Fort St. John.

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A media briefing scheduled for this morning in Prince George to go over the first known details of the findings had to be cancelled. However, Vice President for Energy at Geoscience BC, Carlos Salas, was able to speak to Energetic City by phone this morning, calling the results ‘very interesting.’

“The quality of the data is very good, we were able to make a quick analysis of the ground water, such as where these aquifers are, location — it can even tell us the quality of the groundwater,” Salas said.

Results won’t be fully known until the end of this year, Salas says, but already some of the discoveries have been fascinating.

“What we’re finding is, in certain areas, you can certainly map out these aquifers down to depths of even deeper than we thought initially, down to 700 metres,” he adds. “It’s pretty exciting stuff.”

The work hasn’t stopped at surveying, either. Salas says GeoScience has been working with local First Nations to map out groundwater sources. After some research, some communities will likely be able to add a domestic well with the groundwater of high enough quality to drink.

GeoScience calls this data an ‘essential component of the Northeast Water Strategy,’ which was developed by the provincial and local governments, Treaty 8 First Nations and the resource sectors. It complements B.C.’s Water Sustainability Act, expected to debut shortly. It will enforce regulation on groundwater usaged in B.C.

Mayor of Fort St. John, Lori Ackerman, also spoke to Energetic City by phone to discuss the importance of this study’s finding, echoing the drive to act with sustainability in mind with our water.

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“The more we know about the quality and the quantity and the nature and water in our watersheds, the better we can plans as communities for where we are going to have access to water,” she said.

“There is always a competition for water, and it’s important that we can move forward. Communities can’t just pick up and move. We are there, we have these projects working around us all the time. Allocation of water in Northeast BC has become quite significant, so we’re very pleased to have been a part of these project and see it move forward.”

Some of the Peace Project’s partners include the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Ministry of Environment, the BC Oil and Gas Commission, the Ministry of Natural Gas Development, Progress Energy Canada Ltd., and ConocoPhillips Canada.

The project also received support from the Peace River Regional District, and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

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