Pump tests on water wells are currently the most common way to determine an aquifer's hydraulic parameters.
Pump tests are now mandatory in Alberta on all newly constructed wells or wells deepened to access a lower aquifer. Using pump test data a pumping rate or "safe yield" can be calculated. Alberta's safe yield is the rate at which a given well could pump continuously for 20 years.
In licensed applications involving larger volumes of water the proponent will drill one or more observation wells, in addition to the production well(s).
Pump test limitations
In some areas of Alberta, drillers frequently access two or more aquifers through one well for higher yield and greater reliability of supply. (This is done for domestic wells only where there is little water available.) Analysis of pump test data cannot simultaneously evaluate multiple aquifers. To determine a safe yield, each aquifer should have its own well and independent pumping test.