TV programme explores Canada's water resources

Jean-Christophe Comte, Senior Lecturer in Hydrogeology, at Aberdeen University recently appeared on 'Decouverte' ('Discovery' in English) - a popular science and technology TV series from the federal Canadian TV CBC/Radio-Canada.

Canadian researchers from the University Laval and the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS) had asked Jean-Christophe Comte, to contribute to a documentary on water resources management in the Magdalen Islands,Quebec.

Commenting on the issues under discussion in the programme, he said: “Managing water resources in islands is a great challenge. Fresh water resources are mostly located in underground aquifers. They are floating above seawater, and are in equilibrium with it through a mixing interface. Excessive groundwater pumping can lead to seawater intrusion in wells (upconing) and aquifer salinization, and compromise freshwater resources for years to decades.

“The Magdalen Islands, in Eastern Canada, are subject to increasing seasonal water consumption due to growing tourism in the summer, which poses high risk of salinization from over-abstraction and a great management challenge by local water authorities. 

“My contribution to the programme, along with the scientists from Laval and INRS who lead current research in the islands, related to the explanation of the physical process of saltwater intrusion, the history of previous hydrogeological studies in the Magdalen Islands and how scientific tools such as geophysics and groundwater models can be used to help safer operation and sustainable management of water supply boreholes.” 

Programme link (documentary started 1315hrs):