Undercurrents: beneath the obvious

March 22, 2007

Hidden river could provide drinking water

Filed under: Canada,Great Lakes News — nemo @ 4:15 pm

The Guelph Mercury (Guelph and Wellington, Canada) carries this article on searching for an underground river to tap as a source of groundwater :

Scientists may begin drilling around Waterloo Region in search for an ancient underground river valley they say could one day be a source of drinking water for parched municipalities.

Millions of years ago, a river cut through bedrock as it ran from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. It passed along the southwestern edge of what’s now Cambridge, Kitchener and St. Clements.

More than 10,000 years ago, the glaciers came. These moving mountains of ice slowly buried this waterway under millions of tonnes of earth. That’s what experts from the Grand River Conservation Authority will have to get through to find their old river.

Gregg Zwiers, a senior hydrologist with the conservation authority and the man leading the study, said if the river valley is narrow and deep enough and filled with loose material, it could be tapped as a source of groundwater.

The study could also help explain how wells are fed and how to better protect groundwater sources.

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