Christine Rivard

Research Geoscientist

Modeling and project management related to groundwater resources characterisation and to the study of potential impacts of various factors that may affect groundwater.

Current research and/or projects

What is the focus of your research? 

I have been working as a research scientist in hydrogeology for the Geological Survey of Canada since 2001. My work is primarily focused on regional hydrogeological characterisation, in order to quantify aquifer properties and the different components of the hydrological cycle to better understand subsurface flow systems. I am especially interested in recharge assessment, which is the quantity of water that infiltrates the ground and reaches the water table. In the last few years, I have also studied the impacts of predicted climate change on aquifer recharge. I currently have a project on the potential impacts of shale gas development on aquifers, with a study area near Quebec City.

What is the significance of your research?

My research will contribute to better managing groundwater resources, and avoid groundwater depletion and contamination. In Canada, about 30% of the population uses groundwater for its water supply.  In the agricultural regions, that percentage reaches more than 90%. Groundwater is of critical importance since it represents the earth’s largest freshwater reservoir (30.9%, vs 0.4% for surface water and 68.7% for glaciers) and it supplies most of the rivers, lakes and wetlands. However, aquifers are fragile systems and their characteristics are often unknown in Canada since the majority of the population lives close to large bodies of water. One of the objectives of the Groundwater Geoscience Program of the Geological Survey of Canada is to characterise 30 of the key regional aquifers in the country by 2030. Knowledge of the succession of geological formations (stratigraphy), aquifer properties, and the amount of recharge received annually in a given region is essential for the sustainable management of groundwater. Moreover, understanding the direct and indirect impacts of factors such as climate change and oil and gas production will allow us to better plan for the future of water resources in Canada.  

Education and awards

PhD: Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), Québec, (1998-2001) 

Master: École Polytechnique de Montréal (Civil Engineering), Québec, (1992-1994)

Key publications

Research facility

490 rue de la Couronne
Québec, QC G1K 9A9


Adjunct professor: INRS-ETE