SEE ALSO RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS
CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON WATER
Climate change and climate variability impact all components of the hydrological cycle. Our research focuses on impacts of climate change on water, encompassing changes in groundwater recharge and storage, stream flow and interactions with groundwater, as well as changes in coastal aquifers due to sea level rise and storm surge. The responses of these hydrological systems are examined at timescales of minutes to millenia (see Current Projects and Past Projects). Projects have been carried out in mountainous regions and coastal regions, by combining field studies and numerical modeling to further our understanding of the physical processes that control the response characteristics of these systems.
RISK TO WATER QUALITY AND QUANTITY
Source water protection strategies are ideally focused where the greatest amount of harm reduction can occur. This process of risk management requires an assessment of the spatial variability of risk to water. Our previous research developed new approaches for assessing the susceptibility of aquifers to contamination in fractured rock environments, and applying local scale indices for vulnerability assessment. We developed a Water Security Risk Framework, and applied the framework to map risk to groundwater quality from surface sources of chemical contaminants (see Past Projects). Recent research aimed to further risk assessment approaches for coastal aquifers, specifically targeting climate change hazards, as well as risks to water security in areas experiencing rapid development, such as Northeast British Columbia's shale gas development (see Current Projects). In addition, we are carrying out field studies on the impacts of pumping on streamflow.
Major, minor and trace element geochemistry in combination with isotope geochemistry can be used to track the evolution of water through the hydrologic cycle and to detect mixing of various water types allowing us to characterize the evolution of water and fingerprint potential sources of contamination (e.g., saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers, agricultural contamination from nitrates, acid rock drainage (ARD) at mine sites (see research projects). A variety of projects related to hydrogeochemistry have been completed (see Past Projects) or are currently underway (see Current Projects).