Rural Water Resources Planner: Alberta

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The Groundwater Evaluation Guidelines  (PDF) document details the information required when submitting an application for groundwater exploration or development activities under the Water Act.
The process for licencing agricultural use water wells (less than 10 cubic meters/day) is available at the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Licencing Water Wells for Agricultural Water Use up to 10 cubic meters per Day page.

Well Data

The Alberta Water Well Information Database website provides information on individual groundwater wells and associated groundwater data. The data base contains about 500,000 records that have information about individual water well drilling reports, chemical analysis reports up to the end of 1986, springs, flowing shot holes, test holes and pump tests conducted on wells.

The Groundwater Observation Well Network (GOWN)is a network of groundwater wells that are monitored for groundwater levels and water quality. The network was started in 1957 and 200 wells are currently monitored. Historical water levels can be extracted and some wells in the network also monitor a variety of groundwater quality parameters.

The map Groundwater Well Density in Alberta (2001) (PDF) shows the density of groundwater wells.

Groundwater Studies / Assessments

Regional groundwater assessments have been completed for much of the province that provide information to determine the status of the groundwater resources in an area and what steps should be taken to best manage the resource. They also can be used to help identify constraints to and opportunities for rural economic development. Information the Regional Groundwater Assessment Reports and other studies are available at:

Groundwater Quality

Publications on protecting groundwater from contamination due to agricultural activities are available on Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development's Soils and Water Publications (Soil & Water Conservation section) page. Topics include:
  • Managing Nitrogen to Protect Water Quality (FS576-1)
  • Managing Phosphorus to Protect Water Quality (FS576-2)
  • Managing Feedlot Runoff to Protect Water Quality (FS576-3)
  • Managing Cow-Calf Operations to Protect Water Quality (FS576-4)
  • Protect Groundwater Quality - Minimize the Risks (FS576-5)
  • Manure Management to Protect Water Quality (FS576-6)
  • Hog Production and Water Quality: Minimizing the Risks (FS576-1)

Water Quality, Chapter 2.6 of the Best Management Practices, Environmental Manual for Crop Producers in Alberta discusses the transport of agricultural contaminants to surface and groundwater sources.

On their Water Supply Documents page Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development has information on dealing with dissolved gases and iron bacteria in wells. 

Aquifer Vulnerability

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development has information on the vulnerability of groundwater to contamination from surface sources:

Well Construction and Maintenance Resource Material

The Water Wells That Last Generations workbook provides well information in twelve modules starting at understanding groundwater, through the planning, design and construction phases, to maintenance and decommissioning.

On their Water Supply Documents page, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development has a number of publications related to water systems and wells, including:

  • pumps, yard hydrants, pressure tanks
  • spring development
  • licencing wells for agricultural use 
  • monitoring wells using an electric sounder

The Alberta Environment Aquifer Pump Tests factsheet discusses the use of pump tests on wells to determine an aquifer's hydraulic parameters. 

The Water Well Restoration and Replacement Program provides funding for the repair or replacement of water sources damaged by energy related activities. The program is funded by energy company levies paid to the Energy Resources Conservation Board. 

Groundwater Related Associations

The Alberta Water Well Drillers Association website provides technical information related to shock chlorination, and contact information for the well construction and development industry.