Largest airborne groundwater mapping project in BC will help protect water resources for future generations of British Columbians

January 20, 2016 - Geoscience BC has completed the initial stage of British Columbia's largest airborne groundwater mapping project in northeastern B.C., referred to as the "Peace Project". The Peace Project is generating vital information that will help First Nations, local communities, governments and the resource sectors make more informed decisions on the sustainable use, management and protection of the province's valuable water resources.

Last August, Geoscience BC completed an airborne electromagnetic survey of an 8,000 square kilometre area in the Peace region between Hudson's Hope, Fort St. John and Pink Mountain - an area equivalent to a quarter of the size of Vancouver Island - to map the 3D configuration of fresh water aquifers and bedrock topography. This leading edge technology, which operates much like a CAT scan, shows the location of groundwater to a depth of 350 meters below the surface. The information generated will guide the placement of new groundwater monitoring stations allowing for transparent and effective water management for all users in the northeast.

"Good decisions about water management requires accurate information," said Carlos Salas, Vice President for Energy at Geoscience BC. "This research will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the region's shallow groundwater resources for First Nations, local communities, governments, and the resource sectors. The ultimate goal is to gain a new understanding of groundwater to improve water management decisions through the use of sustainable groundwater management models."

Dallas Smith Geoscience BC Board Member and President of the Nanwakolas Council said, "I'm very pleased to be involved with Geoscience BC. I have seen first-hand the value of their earth science work to provide important and vital knowledge for First Nations and communities to better understand our resources and make better land use management decisions."

Accurate groundwater mapping and sustainable groundwater management is particularly important for northeastern B.C. where natural gas exploration is underway. B.C. contains a large percentage of North America's known natural gas reserves, and northeastern B.C. produces more natural gas than any other area of the province. The province's reserves are among the largest in the world with a current estimated lifespan of over 100 years.

The Peace Project is a collaboration between Geoscience BC and ConocoPhillips Canada, Progress Energy Canada Ltd., the Northern Development Initiative Trust, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers through the BC Oil and Gas Research and Innovation Society, the BC Oil and Gas Commission, and the Province of British Columbia.

Download the backgrounder here or visit Peace Project webpage for more details.

Media contact

Kylie Williams, Communications Manager at Geoscience BC 604.662.4147

Geoscience BC is an independent, non-profit organization that works to build the British Columbia economy through generating, interpreting and publicly distributing earth science information for everyone. Visit  
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