Montney Water Project

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)
Technical Article: Deep Aquifer Characterization in Support of Montney Gas Development, Northeastern British Columbia (Parts of NTS 093, 094): Progress Report
Technical Article: Investigation of land-use change and groundwater--surface water interaction in the Kiskatinaw River watershed, northeastern British Columbia
Community Meeting Posters:
- Hudson's Hope

- Dawson Creek
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

- Example Well Construction Report *

- Aquifer Classification Mapping Report *
WELLS database
Ministry of Environment Aquifer web page
Aquifer Classification Guidance Document
Web based mapping applications for aquifers
and water wells
- iMAP

- BC Water Resources Atlas

* Web browser "pop-up blockers" may restrict access to example well construction and aquifer classification mapping reports

2010: Collaborative Geoscience for Resource Development and Resource Management in the Montney Gas Play, Northeast British Columbia
(pdf, MB)
Posters and Presentations
2012: Examining Water Sources in Northeast BC in Support of Responsible Development of Unconventional Gas
- Presentation to the British Columbia Water and Waste Association (BCWWA), March 2012 (pdf, 7.3 MB)

2011: Montney Water Project: Watershed Posters - Geoscience BC Report 2011-12

Geoscience BC: Northeast British Columbia Water Studies - Partnerships in Water Research with Industry, Government, Universities & Communities for Responsible Natural Gas Development
- 2011: Dawson Creek Community Watershed Information Meeting Poster (pdf, 2.1 MB)
- 2010: Hudson Hope Community Open House Poster (pdf, 7.2 MB)

Technical Articles
2011: "Deep aquifer characterization in support of Montney gas development, northeastern British Columbia: progress report"
- Summary of Activities 2010, Report 2011-1 p. 189-194 (pdf, 6.7 MB)

2011: "Overview of the Montney Water Project: a new Geoscience BC initiative in northeastern British Columbia"
- Summary of Activities 2010, Report 2011-1 p. 195-200 (pdf, 3.1 MB)

News Releases
October 19, 2011: Montney Water Project: Watershed Posters
June 16, 2011: Montney Water Project Update - Publicly Available Data
April 05, 2011: Geoscience BC Releases Two Publications at the BC Unconventional Gas Technical Forum
October 14, 2010: Geoscience BC Announces Montney Water Project

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