Water resources for PEI

A Conservation Strategy for Atlantic Salmon in P.E.I.

With this note: There is reference in this report to the impact of irrigation and the importance of headwaters for spawning of salmon but would apply also to brook trout.

Resources from the Watershed Alliance’s Workshop on Groundwater Extraction, November 30, 2013

The Groundwater Extraction Workshop held by the PEI Watershed Alliance on November 30, 2014 allowed various groups to put forward their research and their views on groundwater extraction on Prince Edward Island. The presentations are available through the PE Watershed Alliance website:

The Water Beneath Our Feet: Understanding the Groundwater Resource (Kerry MacQuarrie) http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/PEI_watershed_alliance_presentation_Nov30.pdf

A modeling tool for assessing the impacts of groundwater extractions on stream flow in PEI  (Yefang Jiang)http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/modeling-impacts-by-GW-extractions-in-PEI1.pdf

Water Extraction Policy for PEI (Department of Environment, Labour & Justice) http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/PEI-Water-Extraction-Policy-G-Somers-Nov-30-2013.pdf

Irrigation on PEI: The On Farm Perspective ( Innovative Farms Group) http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Irrigation-On-PEI-The-on-farm-perspective-1.0.pdf

What Supplemental Irrigation can do for the PEI Potato Industry (Cavendish Farms and the PEI Potato Board) http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/cavendishHCwells2013PPTVIEW.pdf

Why Fish Need Water – Cool, Clean, Abundant Water (Daryl Guignion) http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Why-fish-need-water-November-30-2013.pdf

Understanding the Potential Impacts of Water Abstractions on Stream Ecosystems of PEI  (Allen Curry and Wendy Monk)http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/pdf_Nov30_2013_PEIAbstractionWebinar.pdf

The following letters from the Watershed Alliance and watershed groups expressing concerns over the deep well ground water extraction for irrigation were forwarded to Minister Sherry after the workshop.

Letter to Minister Sherry from the PEI Watershed Alliance:

(The Watershed Alliance received the same reply that others did)

Letter to Minister Sherry from the Central Queens Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation:

Letter from Prince County Chapter Trout Unlimited:



These are notes from Steven MacKinnon’s evaluation of science references sent to him by the Department of Environment, typed up by Edith Ling, February 13, 2014 — it is also attached to this e-mail




P.4 –  Aquifer is recharged at a rate of 20 – 40% of annual precipitation (1100 mm).


–  Groundwater discharge to streams 60-70% of annual flow and nearly 100% in summer.


–       Island-wide groundwater extraction is 1.4% of total recharge.  In certain watersheds it is

40% of recharge.


P.5  –  Flow is least from July to end of October


P.6  –  U.K. protocol – maximum extraction of 15-35% of natural flow and 7.5-25% in

ecologically  sensitive rivers.


P.9  –  Zero impacts near headwaters are impossible under continuous groundwater pumping ….

the impact of pumping on stream flow is very challenging.


P.11  –  Permits will generally be issued in allotments of 400 or 800 igpm.  Previously only

permits for 400 igpm were issued.



Potential Impacts of Surface Water Withdrawal on Stream Ecosystems of PEI – March 31, 2006


P.4  –  In recent years, increase in potatoes, municipalities, industry & tourism ….. the relevance

of these three potential effects on stream ecosystems is unknown for P. E. I.


P. 17  –  There is a greater severity of potential impacts on physical habitats when  water levels

decline by 10 cm. during low water conditions …. Specific habitat requirements for

brook trout in P. E. I. have not yet been determined.


Understanding the Potential Impacts of Water Abstractions on Stream Ecosystems on PEI -October 1, 2008


P. 18  –  The surface water abstraction was predicted to reduce brook trout habitat up to 20% ….

But the model is provisional and requires more data to be properly validated.


P.19  –  The immediate question for P.E.I. streams arising from our studies remains “is a 20% loss             of habitat in  a P.E.I. stream biologically significant?”


Planning and Managing for Surface Water Abstraction on P.E.I. – October 1, 2009


P.1 –  Numerous studies have demonstrated that reductions in flow of streams can have

significant negative impacts on stream biota.


P.18  –  ……. however, uncertainty about impacts on ecosystem health has not yet been

overcome, i.e. there is no simple model that we can presently provide for the

appropriate environmental flow requirements of rivers.

–       how the whole population responds to multiple years of abstraction …. (acute and

sublethal effects, not yet tested)


–       It remains to be determined if these results can be applied to smaller streams.


P. 20  –  The potential cumulative effects of multiple pumping in a single stream are unknown.



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