Hatfield’s report on groundwater demand and sustainability in the West Coast Region published in the Government of BC’s Water Science Series
Apr 29, 2021
Hatfield’s report analyzing groundwater use in the West Coast Region of British Columbia was recently published in the BC Government’s Water Science Series, a technical publication focused on the management of BC’s water resources. The Hatfield study estimates the potential number of groundwater users and groundwater demand by water use and aquifer. The study was funded by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNR).
Groundwater is a profoundly important resource in the West Coast Region of BC, a region that consists of Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii, the Gulf Islands, numerous small islands, and a portion of the central coast of mainland BC. Wells throughout the area serve several purposes including municipal and residential water supply, agricultural, aquaculture, commercial, and industrial uses. In some of these regions, groundwater is the primary source of freshwater. Groundwater is also necessary for stream flow, as well as ensuring aquatic habitat remains healthy throughout the year. With the implementation of the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) in 2016, groundwater users are now required to obtain a license from the Government to use groundwater for specific purposes. The study looked at the potential number of groundwater users (i.e., number of potential groundwater license applicants) and estimated groundwater demand by purpose, and within each aquifer and water precinct.
The team also ranked the largest water use types, and aquifers and precincts by total groundwater demand, and relative groundwater use (i.e., demand as a percentage of estimated aquifer recharge). The results suggest that the majority of the groundwater use may be associated with aquaculture, water supply systems, and agriculture; and that 75% of the Region’s total groundwater demand is associated with four water precincts. The results also suggest that some aquifers are at higher risk of overexploitation, as demands may be higher than recharge. Hatfield also provided recommendations to improve the estimates of groundwater demand.
Read the full report in Water Science Series titled Analysis of Current Groundwater Use in the West Coast Region, or learn more about Hatfield’s Hydrogeology work here.