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Sub-program 2.3.2

Groundwater Geoscience


Groundwater provides up to 80% of the rural Canadian population's drinking water and is an essential component of ecosystem health. In the face of growing pressures on water resources due to urbanization, economic expansion and growing energy demands, Canada needs a consistent and coordinated approach to groundwater management. NRCan conducts groundwater mapping and assessment activities on key aquifers to better understand the extent of groundwater systems, their dynamics and vulnerability using common protocols, standards and methods. NRCan also collaborates with its provincial partners to ensure data and approaches in different jurisdictions are harmonized. This information is disseminated through a collaborative, national inventory used by other levels and departments of government, planners and land-use professionals for decision-making. The Sub-program’s comprehensive groundwater information resource and expertise contributes to sustainable land-use decision-making and groundwater management activities, which in turn support responsible development of Canada’s natural resources.

Non-Financial Performance Information
Expected Result Performance Indicators Targets
Government and industry have access to groundwater geoscience through a national inventory to support a consistent and coordinated approach to groundwater management Number of knowledge citations (e.g., aquifer maps, plans and reports) using NRCan's groundwater maps and assessments 10 by March 31, 2014
Financial Performance Information ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Main Estimates
3,511 3,511

FSDS Theme II – Maintaining Water Quality and Availability

FSDS Goal 3 – Water Quality

Protect and enhance the quality of water so that it is clean, safe and secure for all Canadians and supports healthy ecosystems.

FSDS Target 3.1 – Fresh Water Quality

Complete federal actions to restore beneficial uses in Canadian Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes by 2020.

FSDS Implementation Strategy

3.1.9 Manage/deliver Great Lakes results federally-provincially, between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. (EC, NRCan)

How Activity Supports FSDS Target

With nearly one third of all Canadians, and up to 80% of the rural population, depending on groundwater supply for drinking water, Canada is increasingly reliant on this source for sustained quality of life. The Government of Canada is collaborating with the Province of Ontario and other areas to set standards and complete mapping and assessment requirements for the Great Lakes region. This scientific research will contribute to sustainable management of this highly populated key region. Thus, efforts under this Sub-program contribute indirectly to FSDS Target 3.1 – Fresh Water Quality.

FSDS Goal 4 – Water Availability

Enhance information to ensure that Canadians can manage and use water resources in a manner consistent with the sustainability of the resource.

FSDS Target 4.1 – Water Resource Management and Use

Promote the conservation and wise use of water to effect a 30 per cent reduction or increased efficiency in water use in various sectors by 2025 (based on 2009 water use levels).

FSDS Implementation Strategies

4.1.4 Improve the knowledge of water, its nature, extent, availability, sector use and best management practices such as Integrated Watershed Management to Canadians. (EC, NRCan)

4.1.5 Provide web- and print-based information on the science and knowledge of water to Canadians in a comprehensive and timely manner to enable responsible decision. (EC, NRCan)

4.1.9 Continue the development and implementation of Water Availability Indicators. (HC, EC, NRCan)

4.1.10 Complete 15 assessments for Canada’s 30 key regional aquifers and produce a national groundwater inventory to help Canadians better understand and manage underground water resources. (NRCan)

How Activity Supports FSDS Target

In order to further the knowledge of water – its nature, extent, and availability – federal-provincial-territorial collaboration on aquifer mapping and assessment standards and tools is required. Under this Sub-program, NRCan partners with provinces and territories in order to develop standards in the mapping and assessment of groundwater. NRCan is working with Health Canada to determine the geoscientific information necessary for the development and implementation of Water Availability Indicators. NRCan supports this endeavour with its Groundwater Inventory Network and work on the development of maps, assessments and common standards for Canada’s transboundary aquifers. NRCan delivers open files, a national network, journals and other geoscientific information, including maps, standards and assessments, to various levels of government in a comprehensive and timely manner for consideration in decision-making around Canada’s groundwater. In particular, NRCan is carrying out mapping and assessment activities on 7 key regional aquifers. These standardized assessments and other data can be used as the foundation of water management strategies, and contribute to effective underground water resource management. Thus the initiatives under this Sub-program contribute indirectly to FSDS Target 4.1 – Water Resource Management and Use.

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