Project Summary

The Region of Waterloo is one of the largest municipalities in Canada to rely heavily on groundwater for water supply.  One of their key challenges is to ensure that the groundwater volume they are extracting is sustainably balanced with the needs of the surrounding natural environment, particularly in the face of a growing population, urbanization, and climatic changes.

Our Role

Matrix led a team of consultants (Golder, Stantec, Blackport, SSPA) to characterize the regional setting, quantify the resource, and evaluate the sustainability of the region’s current and planned pumping.  Sustainability was evaluated using state-of-the-practice modelling tools, which once calibrated, were applied to quantify the flow of surface and groundwater through the region under various pumping, development, and climatic conditions.

Challenges

The key challenge for the success of this work was to achieve a balance between the required water volumes for drinking water supply as well as the needs of the natural environment.  This balance was achieved by optimizing the pumping rates and approaches across the Region’s more than 100 municipal pumping wells.  Recognizing the uncertainty in predicting future conditions, the range of uncertainty in model predictions was quantified to ensure solutions are pragmatic.

Outcome

The analysis completed by Matrix helped the region develop a sustainable pumping approach that will continue to support growth in the municipality as well as maintain a healthy ecosystem.

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