Key Researcher(s):  B. J. R. Hayes, Geoscience BC, J. Sui

Project ID(s):  2010-007, 2010-008, 2010-MNT001

Key Research Organization(s):  Geoscience BC, Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd., University of Northern British Columbia

Project Location:  Northeast BC

Strategic Focus Area:  Water


The Montney Shale Gas Play in northeast British Columbia is a world-class unconventional natural gas resource. Operations in the Montney are moving into development drilling, which will increase the demand for water and deep sites for the disposal of fluids. Provincial, First Nations and local governments, industry, communities, and environmental groups all want to ensure that water sources are carefully managed during natural gas development.

Montney Water Project AreaIn response to this challenge, Geoscience BC met with industry and government in early 2010 and began planning for a collaborative project to undertake water studies in the Montney area.

The Montney Water Project is designed to provide a comprehensive inventory of water sources and potential for deep geological disposal sites in the Montney Gas Play area, by creating a comprehensive database of surface water, ground water and deep saline aquifers in the Montney area.

Water is an essential component of shale gas development, and is used for drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing or fraccing is a process where a mixture of water and sand is injected into the deep shale at a high pressure to create small cracks in the rock which allows gas to flow.

Collaborative Geoscience for Resource Development and Resource Management in the Montney Gas Play, Northeast British Columbia Phase I of the project focuses on collecting, analyzing and interpreting available water information in the Montney region. This phase includes three components: surface water, water in unconsolidated materials and shallow bedrock, and deep bedrock aquifers and disposal zones. The latter component is designed to assess the availability of non-potable deep saline aquifers for natural gas development (this is a water source that is not suitable for other uses such as drinking water or agriculture), and the usefulness of these aquifers for disposal of fluids.

Data and results from this project will be made publicly available. If required, a second phase of the study will focus research on addressing remaining data gaps.

The Montney Water Project is a collaborative effort by Geoscience BC in partnership with seven companies active in the Montney Play, with support from the BCOGRIS, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport and the Northern Health Authority and contributions from the Kiskatinaw River Watershed Project being undertaken at the University of Northern British Columbia in partnership with the City of Dawson Creek.

Montney Water Project Partners  
Publicly Available Data
Lead Organization
Access Location
Geoscience BC Website Project Summary
Montney Water Project Brochure
Technical Article: Overview of the Montney Water Project: A New Geoscience BC Initiative in Northeastern British Columbia (NTS 093P, 094A, B) /SummaryofActivities2010/ SoA2010_Brown.pdf
Technical Article: Deep Aquifer Characterization in Support of Montney Gas Development, Northeastern British Columbia (Parts of NTS 093, 094): Progress Report SummaryofActivities2010/ SoA2010_Hayes_etal.pdf
Technical Article: Investigation of land-use change and groundwater--surface water interaction in the Kiskatinaw River watershed, northeastern British Columbia SummaryofActivities2012/ SoA2012_Saha.pdf
Community Meeting Posters: - Hudson's Hope- Dawson Creek Hudson_Hope_poster_rev02Jun11.pdf Dawson_Creek_Poster_v14Mar11.pdf
Watershed Posters
Deep Subsurface Aquifer Characterization in support of Montney Tight Gas Development: Geological Report
Examining Present and Future Water Resources for the Kiskatinaw River Watershed, British Columbia Geoscience BC Report 2013-19
BC Ministry of Energy and Mines Preliminary bedrock topography and drift thickness of the Montney Play area by A.S. Hickin (BC MEM) Cartography by M.A. Fournier (MAF Geographix)
Compilation of Geological Survey of Canada surficial geology maps for NTS 94A and 93P by A.S. Hickin (BC MEM) and M.A. Fournier (MAF Geographix)
BC Ministry of Environment New Water Well and Aquifer Data - Ecocat
WELLS database indexreports.jsp
Ministry of Environment Aquifer web page plan_protect_sustain/groundwater/ aquifers/index.html
Aquifer Classification Guidance Document plan_protect_sustain/groundwater/ aquifers/reports/aquifer_maps.pdf
Web based mapping applications for aquifers and water wells - iMAP - BC Water Resources Atlas