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Data collection on Exshaw groundwater study to finish by October

“They are going to do the last of the data download this month. They will also be removing all the instrumentation. They don’t want to leave it out in the wintertime because it is very delicate and can be damaged.”
MD of Bighorn office 1
MD of Bighorn Office. RMO file photo

MD OF BIGHORN – A groundwater study that was commissioned by the MD of Bighorn is closer to completion.

Residents of Exshaw are eagerly waiting for the data to be released to see what the MD will be doing in the future to mitigate the issues related to groundwater flooding.

Throughout 2022, groundwater levels have been monitored at nine monitoring well locations and four surface water locations.

“They are going to do the last of the data download this month,” said Ron Ellis, CAO of the MD of Bighorn. “They will also be removing all the instrumentation. They don’t want to leave it out in the wintertime because it is very delicate and can be damaged.”

The equipment is owned by the MD, but Matrix will be removing and storing it.

After October, the data will be assessed, which involves three steps. If results provide Matrix with a high confidence in understanding the groundwater system, there would be no need for a second step.

The first is a complete review of water level data collected during the monitoring program.

“It is possible that the water level data by itself is informative enough to understand the relationship between surface water levels and ground levels in the hamlet,” said Nathan Green, hydrogeologist for Matrix, in correspondence submitted to MD council.

If needed, the second step would be completing an additional data assessment, which would include compiling and analyzing data related to precipitation data and snowpack.

The third step, implemented after either step one or step two, would be the complete numerical modeling.

“Numerical modelling might be advisable to further inform/understand the interaction effects between surface and groundwater,” Green said.

Currently, the total estimated cost to complete all field programs and modelling activities, based on a proposal submitted to the MD in September 2021, is between $167,700 and $182,370.

“The budget is healthy,” Ellis said. “They are right on target for their budget.”