The Maritimes Groundwater Initiative (MGWI) is a large, integrated, regional hydrogeological study focusing on a representative area of the Maritimes Basin in eastern Canada. The study area covers a land surface of 10 500 km2, of which 9 400 km2 are underlain by sedimentary rocks. This sedimentary bedrock is composed of a sequence of discontinuous strata of highly variable hydraulic properties, and is generally overlain by a thin layer of glacial till(mostly 4-8 m thick, but can reach 20 m). Depending on the area, 46 to 100% of the population relieson groundwater for water supply, either from municipal wells or from private residential wells. The main objectives of this project were to improve the general understanding of groundwater-flow dynamics and to provide baseline information and tools for a regional groundwater-resource assessment. This bulletin presents the current state of understanding of this hydrogeological system, along with the methodology used to characterize and analyze its distinct behaviour at three different scales. This regional bedrock aquifer system contains confined and unconfined zones, and each of its lenticular permeable strata extends only a few kilometres. Preferential groundwater recharge occurs where sandy till is present. The mean annual recharge rate to the bedrock is estimated to range between 130 and 165 mm/a. Several geological formations of this basin provide good aquifers, with hydraulic conductivity in the range 5x10-6 to 10-4m/s. Based on results of numerical flow modelling, faults were interpreted to have a key role in the regional flow. Pumping-test results revealed that the fractured aquifers can locally be very heterogeneous and anisotropic, but behave similarly to porous media. Work performed at the local scale indicated that most water-producing fractures seem to be subhorizontal and generally oriented in a northeasterly direction, in agreement with regional structures and pumping-test results. Almost all residential wells are shallow (about 20 m) open holes that are cased only through the surficial sediments.
Additional publication details
Canadian groundwater inventory: Regional hydrogeological characterization of the south-central part of the maritimes basin