Groundwater Levels and the Hopington AB Aquifer

As we welcome warmer weather, and see lush areas become drier, we often wonder about the effect this has on groundwater levels and well water supply.

The Hopington AB aquifer is a source of water for residents in the Salmon River area.  This aquifer is shallow and unconfined, meaning it is close to the surface and can fill up when it rains.  Currently, the water level in the Hopington AB aquifer may look lower than usual.

Naturally, aquifers have inflows and outflows. In an average year, the amount of water flowing into the aquifer is equal to the amount leaving it. In years that are wetter, the amount of water filling the aquifer is more than what goes out and in a dry year, the reverse is true.

So far this spring, the area has seen less rain than usual, with March and April being some of the driest on record. While these kinds of variations can affect local water levels, levels measured at a Township monitoring point in April was only slightly lower than the past ten year average.

Similarly, with more residents home than usual these days, residential water use has increased. Even domestic water use such as cooking and washing can affect overall aquifer water levels.

A spring is a location where groundwater flows in an amount large enough to form a pool or stream-like flow. Springs emerge underground and can discharge fresh water onto the ground surface or directly into the beds of rivers or streams.

Earlier this year, a spring emerged on the slope of the Salmon River and resulted in slope failure on private property. The Township is working with the property owner to ensure a timely repair of the slope is completed, in accordance with Provincial and environmental requirements.

Typically, localized springs do not have a significant impact on water levels in an aquifer. Water levels in aquifers are most influenced by major inflows and outflows, including precipitation and water use. The Township has retained a third-party qualified professional to assess concerns regarding the spring’s impact on aquifer water levels.

For more information on water resources in the Township, visit Water Management.

Engineering Division