How secure is our water future with long-term pumping from this well?

A short-term pump test from a confined aquifer such as Middlebrook’s will provide no information about the cumulative effect of years of pumping. Further, the science cannot assure long-term water security for the Township since the required municipal Water Supply Master Plan and Tier 3 Risk Assessment have not yet been completed.

What is unique about this well?

Middlebrook is unlike typical wells. The well is drilled to a depth of 110 metres through layers of solid bedrock to open cavities at the bottom where the water is under tremendous pressure. When the well is opened, the water naturally shoots up 15 metres above the ground.

Why is the water under such pressure?

There are several factors. The water is moving through confined fissures or connected narrow cave systems from water sources at a much higher elevation. The weight of overlying rock exerts pressure, and the flow passage may be restricted.

Where does the water come from?

No one knows the source of the water that is supplying this well. There are varying professional opinions. Its recharge area could be the moraine system and stream recharge area north and west of the well, or it could be much farther away, towards Grand Valley or Shelburne. Wherever the water originates, it is part of the catchment area of the Grand River, which has been at below-target water levels for several years.

Is there a danger of contamination?

If hydrogeologists knew the source of the water, they would be able to estimate contamination risk. As it stands, this is unknown and the possibility of contamination seeping into this well and into municipal wells is a serious issue.

What will the pump test tell us?

The test is designed to determine if the water is of the quality and quantity that Nestlé wants for their operation. The municipal wells and a number of private wells will be monitored, but currently for this deep aquifer no geological or hydrological maps or models exist for the monitoring data to be plugged into. One test cannot adequately determine long-term sustainability of this potential extraction.