CLOSED: Horn River Basin Surface Water Monitoring Study


Geoscience BC is pleased to issue this Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Horn River Basin Water Monitoring Study. Specifically, Geoscience BC is looking for proposals focused on determining the quantity and quality of surface water sources (i.e. rivers and lakes) in the Horn River Basin and its availability for shale gas development purposes.

For more details on this RFP and proposal specifications, please download the following PDF files:

Proposals should be submitted by e-mail no later than 12 pm (Pacific) on February 17, 2011. All questions and communication should be directed to Christa Sluggett, Project Geologist and Communications Coordinator, Geoscience BC.

Background on the Horn River Basin Aquifer Project The Horn River Basin (HRB) is a world-class shale gas play in Northeast British Columbia (please refer to Appendix 1 for a map of the HRB area). Estimates of the total gas-in-place remain preliminary; however, current estimates place the HRB among the largest natural gas plays in North America. Development of the Horn River Basin will provide significant economic and employment benefits for British Columbia over the next several decades.

As with all areas of the province, water is a vital resource in the HRB, supporting a variety of domestic and commercial uses and activities, as well as First Nation traditional activities. Natural gas producers developing the HRB require water for hydraulic fracturing operations to stimulate natural gas production and support drilling camps and infrastructure development. A wide range of stakeholders including provincial ministries and agencies, local governments, commercial water users and First Nations, as well as the general public, need detailed and unbiased information about existing water resources to make appropriate policies, regulations and permit decisions as well as to support public discussion on issues related to water use.

In collaboration with the Horn River Basin Producers Group (HRBPG) Geoscience BC recently completed Phase I of the Horn River Basin Deep Saline Aquifer Study to identify and evaluate subsurface saline aquifers. These saline aquifers may be able to serve as a fraccing water supply source and spent water disposal locations. However, suitable deep saline aquifers are not likely distributed evenly throughout the HRB, which may necessitate a range of water supply options including surface water, shallow ground water and deep aquifers. In addition, as the HRB develops and additional water is required, operators will require sustainable water supplies where and when it is needed.

To date, individual companies operating in the HRB are undertaking specific studies to better understand local surface and ground water. In addition, the Ministry of Energy recently completed an initial evaluation of surface and ground water resources in the HRB, undertaken by Golder Associates (please refer to Appendix 2). As surface water supply will undoubtedly play a key role in the development of the basin, there is a need to establish hydrological conditions in the key watersheds and sub-watersheds within the basin. This will provide government, the pubic, First Nations and industry with a better understanding of the basin-wide water supply sources being used for the development of the shale gas reserves.

The recent study completed by Golder Associates provided a preliminary assessment of surface water resources across the basin. As this was a desk based study using existing published data, there is a need to establish key monitoring stations so that current data is available to properly calibrate hydrologic and hydrogeologic models that may be required for assessing the impact of water use in the basin.

Geoscience BC and the HRBPG are seeking a proponent to undertake a surface water quality and hydrometric program. In addition, it is recognized that surface water may also be affected by shallow groundwater systems and therefore preliminary shallow groundwater assessment is also required.