Modelling the Flow and Storage Components in the Lower Liard River Valley
Principal Investigator: Quinton, William L. (18)
Licence Number: 13207
Organization: Simon Fraser University
Licenced Year(s): 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2001
Issued: Jun 11, 2001
Project Team: Dr. M. Hayashi, Dr. A. Pietroniro

Objective(s): The objectives of the research team are to develop an understanding of the major processes affecting the flow and storage of water in the wetland-dominated discontinuous permafrost terrain of the Lower Liard Valley. This will lead to an improved representation of the processes controlling drainage in hydrological models, and will therefore improve the prediction of runoff and water storage levels. An improved understanding of the processes controlling the flow and storage of water will be beneficial to northern communities for several reasons. Clean, potable water is anticipated to be an increasingly valuable resource in years to come. Improved understanding of flow and storage processes will help reduce uncertainties regarding the influence of climate warming on the future availability of Northern water resources. Also, the delivery of water (including sediments, nutrients and biota) from headwater streams such as the Lower Liard is critical to maintaining the vitality of downstream ecosystems that often include important economic species. Proper water resource management requires that the sensitivity of runoff producing areas to perturbances be understood, since natural (e.g. climate) and human activities can influence the quantity and quality of water delivered to the rivers and lakes used as municipal water sources.

Project Description: The research team will install sensing equipment (water level recorders and rain guages), and stream flow measurements will made during a 5 day field program in June of 2001. An additional 5 day sampling program will occur in August, 2001. Approximately 5 soil samples will be collected in cylinders (30 cm x 10 cm) for the measurement of water transmission properties. Water samples (30 ml) will be collected from all water level monitoring sites. Once this equipment has been installed, a more extensive water sampling program, which will require the use of a helicopter, will be initiated in order to gather samples from the major runoff producing areas within the basin, including a wide variety of wetland types, lakes, and upland areas. It is anticipated that this extensive sampling program can be completed in one day. An additional day of helicopter flying will be needed to photograph and identify the ground-cover types within Scotty Creek. This process, known as "ground-truthing", is necessary for the interpretation of high-resolution satellite imagery of Scotty Creek that was acquired in the Fall of 2000.