WSA Smoky Burn A and B
Observation wells WSA Smoky Burn A and B were constructed in 1970 to observe natural groundwater level fluctuations at the northeastern limit of the present agricultural development in Saskatchewan and to study the local vertical hydraulic gradient. WSA Smoky Burn A was constructed to a depth of 37.12 metres in fine to medium grained sand of the bedrock Mannville Group. This is overlain by about 15 metres of Colorado Group shale which was eroded by glacial activity and upon which glacial drift was subsequently deposited. Smoky Burn B is completed to a depth of 6.25 metres in fine to very coarse grained shallow sands within the drift.
The wells are located in a depressional recharge area with water levels in Smoky Burn B continuously 10 metres or more higher than in Smoky Burn A. Water infiltrates down through the glacial drift and Colorado Group into the Mannville Group and then moves laterally towards the Saskatchewan River.
As expected due to its shallow depth Smoky Burn B shows much greater seasonal fluctuations than Smoky Burn A. The water level fluctuations in Smoky Burn B are the highest seen in the network and while they may be less than a metre, one to two metres is common with some years showing approximately three metres. Seasonal minimums are typically reached in March-April while maximums typically occur in May-June. The hydrograph’s lowest point of about 313.2 metres occurred in 2004 after five years of little recharge. Following that, strong recharge occurred with over 3 metres of water level recovery occurring in 2005. In the fall of 2010 water levels reached a record high of about 318.5 metres, which is marginally higher than levels reached in several other years. Water levels remain high.
Annual water level fluctuations in Smokey Burn A range from 0.04 to 0.40 metres with minimums typically occurring in April and maximums in June-July. The record high level of about 304.2 metres occurred in 1972, but following that water levels showed a long term decline until a record low level of 302.8 metres was reached in 2003. Water levels have recovered significantly and are now in the range of 303.8 metres.
Water from Smoky Burn A is of the sodium-bicarbonate/chloride/sulphate type with a sum of ions concentration of approximately 1940 mg/L. Smoky Burn B is of the magnesium/calcium-bicarbonate/sulphate type with a sum of ions concentration of approximately 1270 mg/L.