GFM Network News

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Manitoba cautions on manganese in well water

About a third of wells exceed updated limits, province says

A significant number of wells in Manitoba may be carrying water with manganese levels well above new health standards, particularly for infants. The province on May 3 issued an advisory for owners of private wells that their water “may exceed a new health-based guideline” for the trace element. The element occurs naturally, and commonly, in […] Read more

Here’s where to find well water resources

There are workshops, fact sheets, videos, well records, and online tools to help you maintain good water quality

Reading Time: < 1 minute Alberta water well owners have access to a host of information, tools, resources, and experts to help them. The Working Well program ( offers province-wide, hands-on workshops for well owners to learn the basics of groundwater, well construction, common well problems, contamination risks, importance of well reclamation, and best management practices. The website also has […] Read more

Studio shot of glasses of water

We think we have water in abundance, but that’s just not so

We need to start appreciating how precious each 
litre of fresh water is, and how much of it we are using

Reading Time: 4 minutes The dry spring brought to many parts of Alberta the stark reality of the importance of rainwater. But all water usage is getting stretched beyond that which falls from the sky. And although this province is technically a semi-arid climate, Albertans have often thought of themselves as “water abundant.” Are we? Alberta has 2.2 per […] Read more

Saline seeps don’t have to be as serious as this eight-acre one in southern Alberta 
to cause major yield losses, says agronomist Jack Payne.

Wet-dry cycle drives up salinity and cuts yields

Invisible soil salinity affects 22 million acres on the Prairies, cutting yields by a quarter

Reading Time: 3 minutes Another dry spring could leave producers feeling salty over increased salinity in their soil. “This year and part of last year, we’ve started to see more salinity showing up,” said Jack Payne, western Prairies regional agronomist with Farmers Edge. “Saline seeps tend to form more readily after we’ve had a series of wet years followed […] Read more

This is what a properly capped well should look like.

You may not want to know what lies below — but you should

Experts say too many rural Albertans aren’t properly caring for their wells — and the price for neglect can be steep

Reading Time: 3 minutes Imagine finding mouse fur in your tap water. Or your house blowing up because of a buildup of methane in your water system. Brandon Leask has seen both. Although extreme examples, those are just two of the many risks that come with not paying attention to water wells, said the agricultural water engineer with Alberta […] Read more

Tile drainage, long common in Ontario and the U.S. Midwest, is now attracting more attention in Alberta.

Both pros and cons to tile drainage

Being able to remove excess moisture is a big plus, but there are a lot of factors to take into account

Reading Time: 3 minutes It wasn’t long ago that if you asked most Alberta producers if they used tile drainage, they likely wouldn’t know what you were talking about. A common practice in Ontario and the U.S. Midwest, it’s only in recent years that Alberta growers have warmed to this system in which subsurface tubes remove excess moisture from […] Read more

The lowdown on short-term manure storage

Provincial specialist Chris Ullmann says producers need to review the rules before using short-term manure storage

Reading Time: 2 minutes Short-term manure storage allows producers to manage their manure and field activities, but can raise issues, says a specialist in confined feeding operations with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “It’s also an activity that often generates questions,” said Chris Ullmann. “Short-term storage can be concerning to neighbours if the rules are not followed or if […] Read more