Skip to main content

Groundwater-surface water interactions in Canada

Consideration of groundwater-surface water (GW-SW) interactions is becoming increasingly important to the integrated management of hydrological and ecological systems and, more broadly, for land use planning. This presentation provides an overview of GW-SW interactions in Canada as a
contribution to the 'Groundwater Resources of Canada' volume.
Historically, GW-SW interactions have been considered from a wide range of perspectives within multiple disciplines and at different temporal and spatial scales. A broad review of the literature integrates traditional hydrogeological approaches with key hydrological and ecological concepts. The
review discusses the types of GW-SW interactions and the nature of interactions with different surface water features and groundwater systems. It also highlights the value of understanding processes at the watershed scale rather than only focussing on processes that occur in riparian or hyporheic
Although the understanding of GW-SW interactions processes has greatly improved, there are few data of GW-SW interactions available for most of Canada. Despite the scarcity of data and interpretations of GW-SW interactions in Canada, these interactions need to be considered in numerous applications.
Since it is unrealistic to quantify GW-SW interactions across Canada, a more pragmatic approach is to develop conceptual models of GW-SW interactions. Three examples will be presented where integrating the existing literature allows for consideration of the nature and key controlling factors of
GW-SW interactions in specific Canadian settings. Examples of GW-SW conceptualization in regions of permafrost, permeable glacial sediments and mountainous areas will be considered.
Improved understanding of GW-SW interactions will be necessary for Canadians to make informed decisions that lead to sustainable use of our water and aquatic resources. Specific challenges for both the scientific community and decision-makers in Canada are identified.

In progress
Project URL
Start Date
End Date

The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Research Inventory is an
interactive, Internet-based, searchable database created as a tool to collect and disseminate
up-to-date information about research projects in the
Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region.