How and where does Guelph obtain its drinking water?

the provision of sufficient, clean drinking water
major competing uses for groundwater water originating from the aquifers now supplying the Guelph population

How and where does Guelph obtain its drinking water?


This week we are returning to local issues – the provision of sufficient, clean drinking water. Most drinking water comes from freshwater that is in limited supply. This limitation is most acute for areas relying on groundwater sources.

Guelph, Ontario, relies on groundwater to supply drinking water for the population of nearly 132,000 people. The city is located about 100 km west of downtown Toronto. Its population has increased by 8.3% between 2011 and 2016. Guelph is located in the “Guelph Drumlin Field” formed during glaciation (a land form similar to that of the Oak Ridges Moraine). The drumlins are well drained areas of sandy silt till and the esker is comprised of welldrained sand and gravel. Both allow for shallow groundwater recharge and pumping for drinking water.

Groundwater for drinking water is also pumped from underlying bedrock of the Guelph-Amabel formation. To supplement these naturally occurring groundwater sources, Guelph has developed an engineered system in which the city artificially recharges the shallow Arkell Spring Grounds using water from the nearby Eramosa River. The city then draws shallow groundwater from the Arkell Spring Grounds. Several debates and concerns have been raised about the sufficiency of the future drinking water supply coming from groundwater, to meet the needs of the population of Guelph. These concerns include future land development that could impeded groundwater recharge and water-taking for the purpose of producing bottled water.


What considerations need to guide the provision of sufficient, clean drinking water for Guelph into the future?

Your task is to develop components of a groundwater management plan.

Your Assignment

1. How and where does Guelph obtain its drinking water? Use three sentences to describe the source(s) of

Guelph’s drinking water supply. You need to cite at least one reference in your explanation.

2. Identify two major competing uses for groundwater water originating from the aquifers now  supplying the Guelph population. Cite at least one reference to substantiate the information you obtained for each competing


3. Identify two solutions intended to maintain a continued supply of sufficient, clean drinking water for the Guelph area for now and into the future (say 2050, which is within you lifetime!). You could identify one supply-side solution and one demand-side solution. Your solutions need to be realistic and feasible. They can originate from other locations that obtain groundwater or that experience water scarcity. Summarize each solution in three sentences that include one reference each.


Citations: You need to substantiate each statement of information with a citation. You need to cite the source within the sentence that makes use of that information. Please give the full details of the citation at the end of

your answers under the heading: “References Cited”. Please use the APA style for citations.

Example: Freshwater supplies are under severe pressure due to many competing uses, compounded by increasing populations and demands (Gerten et al., 2013).

References Cited Gerten, D, Hoff H, Rockström J, Jägermeyr J, Kummu M, Pastor AV. 2013. Towards a revised planetary boundary for consumptive freshwater use: role of environmental flow requirements. Current Opinion in Environ Sustain 51: 551-558.


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