The Montney Play in British Columbia’s Northeast Region is a world-class unconventional natural gas resource. Water is an essential component of shale gas development and is used for drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fraccing or fracking, 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.
In 2010, the Montney Water Project began to complete an inventory and digital compilation of publicly available information on water in the Montney Play. This component of the work focused on unconsolidated geology and shallow (<250 m deep) groundwater resources.
The goals for this project were to:
- Provide digital compilation of surficial geology mapping
- Undertake field investigation and mapping of easily accessible outcrops
- Improve understanding of shallow aquifers in the area
- Improve database of publicly available well information
This project provided a better awareness of shallow groundwater current usage and availability for allocation of water.
This project took place in the Montney Play in BC’s Northeast Region.
This component included compilation of existing 1:250,000 scale surficial geology maps to cover the area, to present all data with a common legend, and updated to reflect the Geological Survey of Canada’s national surficial geology legend. This work was undertaken by the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines and MAF Geographix.
The Ministry of Energy and Mines also provided additional soil and surficial geology data through compilation of available data and additional field mapping of road-accessible outcrops in the area. This data was presented in five maps showing bedrock topography, drift thickness, modern, interpretation of paleovalleys, and density of bedrock contact point data. This data is useful for watershed analysis input, and also provides important information for identifying shallow aquifers and local geology.
The publicly available WELLS database (https://apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/gwells/) was updated. The Ministry of Environment solicited new groundwater data in the area. The data was primarily water well data, and included reports from drilling companies and the Northern Health Authority. Additional water chemistry data was integrated by Foundry Spatial into the overall Montney Water Project data compilation.
Aquifer mapping in the area was also updated as part of this project. Available hydrogeological information, including from previous studies in the area, was used to map and classify shallow aquifers in the region. This work was completed by Lowen Hydrogeological Consulting, Ltd. The work was used as input into the WELLS database, and in the BC Water Resources Atlas.