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A 3D unified geological conceptual model of the Milk River Transboundary Aquifer (Alberta-Montana)

The Milk River transboundary aquifer is located between southern Alberta (Canada) and northern Montana (United States), in a semi-arid region considered water short. This confined sandstone aquifer is a source for municipal supply and agricultural uses on the Canadian side, as well as for
secondary oil recovery on the US-side of the border.
The transboundary aquifer is part of the inventory of UNESCO ISARM-Americas initiative, which encourages riparian states to work cooperatively toward mutually beneficial and sustainable aquifer development.
Under this context, a unified geological conceptual 3D model of the aquifer has been developed. The unified conceptual model covers circa 70,000 square kilometres. The study area is limited to the North/Northeast and Southeast by gas fields. The unified conceptual model will form the basis for a
future 3D hydrogeological model of the Milk River aquifer across the Canada-US border.
The current interpretation of the conceptual model is leading us to the possible assessment of the aquifer using a two-phase numerical model to evaluate the impact of gas present in the aquifer.
The objectives of this study are to better understand the dynamics of the Milk River aquifer's in order to make recommendations for a sustainable management and its good governance by the two international jurisdictions, as recommended in the UNGA resolution 63/124 on the Law of Transboundary
Aquifers. These models constitute useful tools for informed decisions; they support scientists and managers from both countries in avoiding potential tensions linked to the water shortage context in this region.

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