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The need for improved data collection to support 3-D hydrostratigraphic modelling: a Canadian perspective

Regional hydrogeological studies in Canada have traditionally relied upon water well records supported by limited targeted drilling and rare geophysical investigations. This approach has resulted in the iterative re-analysis of similar, relatively low-quality datasets, all of which
Inadequately address the variability and complexity inherent to geological successions, especially at depth. An improved approach involves collection of select, high-quality datasets (e.g., cores, seismic surveys, aeromagnetic surveys) and the use of basin analysis techniques, which allows
data-driven conceptual models to dscribe the geological history of the basin and provide a basis to predict hydrostratigraphic properties in data-poor parts of the basin.
Increasing land use pressures in many areas and competition between intense resource extraction industries (e.g. oil and gas) and conventional groundwater users (e.g. agriculture, potable water) requires much greater certainty in the geological framework. Many geological and geophysical data
collection methodologies and datasets have been seen as too expensive for municipal, watershed and even provincial water agencies to collect. This view is incorrect. It relates to poor cost-benefit analysis, and is sustained by inadequate in-house capacity and expertise for data processing and
analysis. Without these datasets, groundwater science in Canada will not advance.
Data collection methodologies employed by the Geological Survey of Canada for mapping and assessment of key Canadian aquifers is presented. This includes collection of hydraulic, hydrogeological, geological and geophysical data sets in a range of geological settings. Data range from point source
(e.g. borehole), transects (e.g. seismic profiles), regional (e.g. baseflow), and regional three-dimensional (e.g. aerial electromagnetic). Datasets are integrated to develop a geological framework and allow the application of the play concept to aquifer mapping and assessment. Historically,
improvements in hydrostratigraphic understanding have been been linked to new data sets. In the future, collaborative inter-agency relationships and cost-sharing plans will be required to advance our understanding of the hydrogeology of Canada.

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