Hydrography of the Oak Ridges Moraine

Hydrography Of The Oak Ridges Moraine

Hydrography of the Oak Ridges Moraine

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Preliminary research on the hydrology of the Oak Ridges Moraine began in the 1970s, but a broader research effort including the impact of urban development on the aquifer system and Great Lakes water quality was established in 1993. The research locus is the Geological Survey of Canada and the University of Toronto Groundwater Research Group, though other groups have made substantial contributions to this project.

The moraine serves to recharge streams and rivers in the surrounding region, acting as an underground reservoir. Rain and snow melt slowly soak into the moraine, being filtered and purified in its many sand and gravel aquifers. The cool, fresh water is discharged into the headwaters of streams and rivers which eventually flow into Lake Simcoe, Lake Scugog and Lake Ontario. The aquifers are also the water supply for some communities on the Moraine.


The moraine's hydrological system is inter-twined with a regional flow system not bound by the morphological limits of the moraine. For this reason, environmentalists and researchers promote an aggressive protection strategy extending beyond the moraine, thus ensuring a contiguously protected hydrological system.

A number of features comprise the hydrological system of the Oak Ridges Moraine:

  • permanent and ephemeral streams,
  • wetlands,
  • kettle lakes and ponds, and their catchment areas,
  • seepage areas and springs, and
  • aquifers and other recharge areas.


The Oak Ridges Moraine's hydrological...
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