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ball.gif (4893 bytes) Water: Ours to protect

Ninety percent of rural Albertans rely on groundwater for their household water supply. In fact our reliance on this priceless resource continues to increase.

One source of water that supplies about 7500 households in the Peace Region is the Grimshaw Gravels Aquifer. This quality groundwater source covers approximately 595 square kilometers in the north central Peace region.

Aquifers are water bearing layers or formations that yield water to wells in usable amounts. Typical aquifers are made of sand, gravel or sandstone. These aquifers are both valuable and vulnerable resources. Shallow water table aquifers are especially susceptible to surface contaminants such as sewage, manure, pesticides and petroleum products. Proper well location and separation distances from potential contaminants reduce this risk.

An aquifer can be refilled directly from precipitation moving down through the soil and rock layers into the aquifer or from surface water sources such as lakes, rivers, creeks and sloughs. This refill (recharge) can be affected by human activities on the ground surface.

For example:

The draining of a slough may increase the movement of water off the land surface. This reduces the water infiltration that eventually becomes groundwater. A reduction in ground water recharge can seriously reduce the water level in nearby shallow wells.

The Grimshaw Gravels Aquifer is one of these shallow water table aquifer types. Understanding the factors that affect the groundwater quality of this aquifer will help you to make decisions about how to manage this resource.

A local stakeholder group, Grimshaw Gravels Aquifer Management Advisory Association (GGAMAA) has been studying the Grimshaw Gravels Aquifer since 1993. Their efforts resulted in being awarded the LB. Thomson Conservation Award from PFRA in 1996. This award recognizes outstanding achievements in soil or water conservation.

GGAMAA is nominated for the Emerald Award.

This nomination recognizes the community group for their positive achievements with the management strategy initiative which demonstrates the group’s commitment to the environment and production of measurable, positive change. The Award recognizes Albertans and Alberta businesses for environmental excellence in their efforts to protect, preserve, enhance or sustain the environment.

To learn more about this strategy document and the work of GGAMAA you can contact Judy Pimm, Chairperson for GGAMAA through the MD of Peace Office at 780-338-3845.

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