Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program

The Upper Columbia Basin Groundwater Level Monitoring Program is increasing our understanding of groundwater systems to ensure long-term water sustainability for nature, communities, and watershed stakeholders. Groundwater level data are collected and shared publicly to support resource management and protection and climate change adaptation and ensure human and ecological needs can be met. The Program partners with existing well owners (such as municipalities, First Nations, and private well owners) to install equipment to monitor groundwater levels. Living Lakes manages and shares the data.

Latest Updates

Program Goals & Objectives

The goal of the Upper Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program is to increase knowledge about groundwater resources in the Columbia to effectively inform groundwater protection and management and adaptation to climate change.

The objectives of the Program are to:

  1. collect groundwater level data across a range of geological, topographical, climatic, hydrological, and water use intensity conditions to determine how levels change seasonally and from year to year;
  2. increase knowledge and awareness about groundwater through outreach events and engaging partners and citizens in the collection of data; and
  3. Share data publicly so they can be used by researchers, water managers, policy makers, groundwater licensing officers, consultants, and citizens to protect and manage the resource.

Where We Are Monitoring

The Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program aims to monitor groundwater across a range of geological, topographical, climatic, hydrological and water use intensity conditions throughout the Basin. The Program complements the Provincial Groundwater Observation Well Network, which has a limited number of observation wells in the Basin. If you would like to monitor groundwater in your area contact us at


How the Program Works


Why Monitor Groundwater?

Groundwater is used in the Columbia Basin for domestic, agricultural, industrial, and commercial purposes. Groundwater helps maintain water levels and water quality in wetlands, streams, rivers, and lakes. It is vital for maintaining healthy ecosystems, including habitat for fish, waterfowl, and wildlife.  Careful management and allocation of groundwater is becoming increasingly important as populations continue to grow, demand increases, and pressures such as climate change intensify. 

We know that mountains are important sources of freshwater for lowlands. However, the storage and flow of groundwater in mountain environments is generally poorly understood. In the Basin, groundwater occurs in sediments (e.g., sand, gravel) and bedrock. Its distribution and supply are variable and depend on the geology, proximity to areas of recharge and discharge, and climate. In many areas within the Basin groundwater is hydraulically connected to surface waters and feeds wetlands, streams, rivers, and lakes.  Although the Upper Columbia Basin is only 15 percent by area of the larger entire Columbia Basin Watershed, it provides about 40 percent of the annual flow. 

Groundwater systems are dynamic and adjust to short and long-term changes in climate, groundwater withdrawals, and land cover. Data are needed to understand how groundwater responds to these changes and ensure supply is available for people and for flow to surface waters. Groundwater level data can be used to:

  • Analyze and forecast water level trends,
  • Monitor changes in groundwater recharge and storage,
  • Monitor effects of climate variability and groundwater withdrawals,
  • Understand groundwater-surface water interactions, and
  • Inform water management decisions (e.g. water licensing decisions) and direct conservation actions (e.g. identifying and protecting groundwater recharge and discharge areas for stream and river ecosystems that are dependent on groundwater).  

Program Resources

Our Team




  • Rob Fox 


The foundation of the Program are the well owners who volunteer their wells for monitoring. These include municipalities, First Nations, and private landowners. 



Contact us to discuss:

  • Volunteering your well
  • Your data needs
  • Partnership opportunities
  • Making a donation and receive a charitable tax receipt
  • Assistance accessing data
  • How to learn more about groundwater in your area




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