Groundwater Recharge in the Prairies (GRIP)

As surface water resources are becoming more scarce, groundwater use in the prairies of Alberta is expected to increase over the next several decades. To ensure the sustainability of groundwater resources, it is important to know how much groundwater we can extract without depleting the resources and harming groundwater-dependent ecosystems. The basis of sustainability assessment is the rate of groundwater replenishment, called recharge. To understand the groundwater recharge processes within the unique hydrologic cycle of the Canadian prairies, we started a project called Groundwater Recharge in the Prairies (GRIP). In this project, we are measuring meteorological fluxes including evapotranspiration (photo), soil moisture dynamics, groundwater levels in aquifers, and surface water - groundwater interaction at several instrumented sites in the agricultural region of Alberta. Main goals of GRIP is to understand the effects of land use including agriculture, and climate change on groundwater resources in the prairies, and build scientific foundation for groundwater management policy development. This project is conducted in collaboration with Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Eddy flux measurement

Evapotranspiration measurement over a crop field