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New opportunities to flow in expansion of groundwater centre at U of G

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site of the new Morwick Groundwater Research Centre at the University of Guelph. Ken Hashizume/CJOY

A new building at the University of Guelph aims to further protect groundwater from contamination.

Ground broke on the Morwick Groundwater Research Centre on Thursday which will be located next to the current Bedrock Aquifer Field Facility at the north end of the campus off College Avenue East.

The building will sit on a bedrock aquifer in the Grand River watershed that will allow for unique research on groundwater. There will be classrooms that will provide hands-on teaching on managing and protecting groundwater resources.

This is part of the Morwick G360 groundwater research institute that was established in 2007. It is led by Dr. Beth Parker, a professor in the School of Water Resources Engineering, who was one of the people on hand for the official groundbreaking ceremony.

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“My group is very much focused on field research,” said Parker. “We’re drilling holes in the ground, and characterizing the aquafers that are part of this groundwater flow system. It is the connector between soil and surface water.”

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Parker explained the intricacies of groundwater and how this new research centre will allow them to further explore methods to protect water sources.

“We don’t see it, it is below ground surface,” Parker said. “It also has a very long residence time relative to surface water. That lag time between cause and effect creates another level of mystery that isn’t intuitive to humans.”

The research centre and institute is named after Edward (Ted) Morwick, an alumnus of the University of Guelph, who donated $10 million to the institute in 2021. He was also at the official ceremony on Thursday.

“As a kid growing up on a farm… we were both raised with a sense of groundwater being a source of water and how important that is for agriculture and so on,” said Parker.

 

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