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Current Winner - 2023

Synergy Award for Innovation

Beth Parker

Synergy Award for Innovation

Category: University Partnerships

University of Guelph
City of Guelph, WSP, Matrix Solutions Inc.

Guelph is one of the largest cities in Canada that is totally dependent on groundwater for drinking water. Unfortunately, threats of contamination, climate change and a rising demand from Guelph and its neighbours are putting the sustainability of their shared aquifer at risk. An innovative partnership between Dr. Beth Parker, the City of Guelph and two environmental engineering firms is managing risks to the City’s water supply by building an innovative multi-level monitoring well network and developing novel characterization and forecasting methods for the management and protection of bedrock groundwater flow systems.

The water supply aquifer, a dolomite bedrock formation, is one of the largest in the country and one of the most difficult to study due to its fractured bedrock structure. Responding to the City’s urgent need to understand and develop a risk management plan for contaminated sites, Parker and her team of collaborators transformed Guelph into a real-world groundwater protection field laboratory to develop the knowledge and capabilities needed to predict the magnitude and timing of potential impacts to the water supplies. This partnership has promoted and disseminated knowledge of effective, high-resolution methods for characterizing groundwater and contaminant behaviour in fractured bedrock to scientists, practitioners, and the community.

The results from Parker’s research and the City’s efforts have supported the continued safe operation of Guelph’s water supply wells, saved the City millions of dollars in potential water infrastructure costs, and made significant advancements for the protection of groundwater locally, nationally and globally.

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