• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Waverley’s pristine water gets worked over

In Agencies
Oct 16th, 2018
At the flow -AWARE Simcoe photo

Professor Ian Clark of the University of Ottawa and graduate student Hamed Mozafari take water samples at the Elmvale flow.

By Kate Harries AWARE News Network

The pristine water that flows from the Waverley Uplands was the subject of brief but intense investigation earlier this month.

Scientists from the University of Ottawa, the University of Guelph and the Ontario Geological Survey toured the area for a day, collecting  samples of the water that was first identified as exceptional by Bill Shotyk, a local landowner and Bocock Chair for Agriculture and the Environment at the University of Alberta.

“Have you ever seen lower chloride concentrations?” Shotyk asked John Cherry, director of the University Consortium for Field-Focused Groundwater Contamination Research and an adjunct professor in the engineering department at the University of Guelph.

“Never,” Cherry replied, explaining that chloride is a good indicator of the impact of human activity on groundwater. “This is pristine water.”

Interviewed at the flow north of Elmvale, Cherry said there appear to be two types of water present – glacial age and present day.  He’s the team leader for a project that will try to determine why the water is so clean.

Cherry looked eastwards towards the Waverley Uplands. “The beauty here is that the recharge area, that upland area is obviously where much of this water is coming from. So we can study where it is going into the ground and we can study where it’s coming out.”

Scientists like simplicity, he said. “The full system is all here, the geology is not too complicated, it gives us hope of filling it all out in detail.”

As people who come to the flow for water they trust lugged heavy jugs past him, Ian Clark and a graduate student took samples. Clark, Director of Geochemistry and Isotope Laboratories in the Faculty of Science Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa, will lead research into the chemistry of the water.

Also present was Elizabeth Priebe, a hydrogeologist with the Ontario Geological Survey. She’s part of a major effort the OGS undertook in the wake of the Walkerton tragedy to map groundwater across southern Ontario with the goal of determining how protected the aquifers are.

OGS have been working in Simcoe County since 2011, she said. She was here because “we’re just interested in the area…. We’re interested in how it fits.”

OGS won’t be part of a study for which the scientists will be seeking funding but will work informally with them as the project unfolds, she said.


8 Responses to “Waverley’s pristine water gets worked over”

  1. Erin Archer says:

    FABULOUS Kate!!! Simply FABULOUS!!!

  2. Mary Jane Morgan says:

    It is sad that a major government would allow pristine water serving millions of citizens in South Central ONTARIO to be compromised, especially considering what is and has been happening with water in this Province. Nestle and others taking millions of litres, large off shore aggregate companies using this particular water to wash gravel. What government seems to worry about is buck a beer. If we don’t protect our water, there will not be water to produce the beer period. Good luck suds consumers. As someone said, ” the biggest threat to our water in this Province is our own MOECC “. Sad.

    • Ann says:

      I agree with you Mary Jane, it’s really sad that this precious water is not protected. The province needs to step up and protect our beautiful water NOW before it’s too late!

  3. It is genuine common sense that should dictate that this water should be protected at all cost.

  4. Meg Jordan says:

    I am absolutely delighted to hear that these approaches to the water in this region are taking place and that Canadian scientists will be seeking funding for further study. Hopefully this will pressure the government to designate this area for protection so that we can learn more in the ways John Cherry describes in this article. Excellent work Kate. I am encouraged.
    Rev Meg Jordan
    St. John’s United Church, Elmvale
    Moderator of Community Event called “Science and the Spirituality of Water.”

  5. joh Campbell says:

    can we get Bruce Stanton and Jill Dunlop involved ???

  6. Ann says:

    Good idea John.
    This could be Jill’s legacy if she convinces Doug Ford to protect this precious water for eternity.

  7. Linda French says:

    We must protect our water. Yes, I agree with John it is a great idea but, she would have a fight with Ford.

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