Groundwater represents the world’s largest freshwater resource and provides drinking water for two billion people globally and over 10 million Canadians. Prince Edward Island is 100% dependent on groundwater for both irrigation and drinking, but this resource has faced compounding stresses in recent years due to the extensive agricultural industry and the impacts of climate change. Freshwater offshore aquifers located beneath the seafloor may represent a new and critical water resource for PEI.
The project brings together an internationally renowned and multidisciplinary research team to test the hypothesis that offshore aquifers are hosted in fractured consolidated clastic sediments, and that the dynamics of the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the last glacial-interglacial cycle(s) contributed to their recharge. Using state-of-the-art geophysical, oceanographic, and geochemical equipment, the team will focus on the continental shelf surrounding PEI to discover and map offshore freshwater aquifers. The new data will be used to understand how these aquifers evolve in response to water extraction and changes in climate and coastal environments. By providing estimates of offshore groundwater quality and quantity, this project will have a direct application for future sustainable development of PEI and other island and marine coastal settings worldwide.
More information about this project can be found here.