By: Geoff Kovacik
“Very often as an entrepreneur, the business opportunities you should look for should speak to a global trend. And right now, a predominant global trend is sustainability”
Daniel Hatfield – Edge Growth
Figure 1: East Duvernay – Haynes Member Aquifer Isopach with Watershed Basin Boundaries
The East Duvernay Shale Basin (EDSB) has the potential to be a world-class resource play and has untapped opportunity for frac water management companies. From a water sourcing perspective, the East Duvernay play is challenging since it spans three surface watershed basins: the Red Deer River, North Saskatchewan River and Battle River basins (Figure 1). Under the Water Act, transfer of water between major basins in Alberta is not permitted except by special provisions. This means that considerable science and thought needs to be undertaken prior to constructing a Water Hub due to the high density of stakeholders and large frac water volumes (55,000+ m3). The concept of our EDSB Water Hub design is based on sustainable sourcing using low-quality groundwater and wastewater to provide a “treated & blended” water supply (Figure 2). Ultimately, the golden rule of EDSB Water Hub placement will be the mantra of: Location, Location, Location.
The Paskapoo aquifer system is the largest bedrock aquifer in Alberta and consists of three members from youngest to oldest (the Dalehurst, Lacombe and Haynes). It is important to note that the Paskapoo thickness ranges from 0 to ~750 metres and confined aquifers do not have the same extent as major surface watershed basins. In March 2018, Connate Water mapped, drilled and open-hole logged a test hole to 150 meters within the Ghostpine area. While this test hole was not economically viable, the methodology and process for collecting this valuable bedrock aquifer data was successful. Given the proper venture funding, we believe greater understanding of deeper bedrock units of the Paskapoo formation can be completed through transmissivity mapping and test hole drilling into the Haynes member. Low quality groundwater (i.e. 3,000 – 10,000 mg/L TDS) has the potential to sustainably provide top-up supply, blending and sourcing adjacent to centralized storage.
Commitment by industry and private investment to advance innovative water sourcing projects is required to help bridge the knowledge gap for a centralized EDSB Water Hub. Two important questions to consider at this early stage are: where are the sustainable sources located and who will take the leap to bring an EDSB Water Hub to market?
Let’s start a conversation about your Groundwater Strategy?
Geoff Kovacik M.Sc. P.Geo.
Founder and Principal Hydrogeologist
Connate Water Solutions Inc. | 204 -1001 1st St SE | Calgary, AB T2G 5G3
Connate Water Solutions LLC. | 18911 Hardy Oak Blvd | San Antonio, TX USA 78258