The Upper Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program is increasing our understanding of groundwater systems to ensure long-term water sustainability for nature, communities, and watershed stakeholders. The program facilitates the collection, management and sharing of groundwater level data. Information, data, training needs, priority areas, and suitable wells for monitoring are identified in collaboration with watershed stakeholders. Existing wells are monitored in partnership with the well owners. The Program secures, installs, and maintains monitoring equipment, provides training, field support, and data management and analyses. Data are shared publicly so they can be used to effectively inform water management and protection and ensure human and ecological needs can be met under changing climate conditions.
- Long-term groundwater data could inform aquifer response to drought – Sept 25, 2020
- Groundwater monitoring equipment installed in Radium on World Water Monitoring Day – Sept 22, 2020
- Groundwater level monitoring now underway in three new wells – July 23, 2020
- Upper Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program expands – June 21, 2020
- Our water stewardship work continues amid COVID-19 – Apr 23, 2020
- Columbia Basin groundwater level data captured in new report – Mar 20, 2020
- Groundwater Management is crucial in the Upper Columbia Basin – Feb 12, 2020
Program Goals & Objectives
The goal of the Upper Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program is to increase knowledge about groundwater resources to effectively inform sustainable water management and meet the needs of people and nature.
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 by engaging partners and citizens in the collection of data, providing training, and sharing knowledge;
3. collaborate with watershed stakeholders, decision makers, and water users to ensure data are informing on-the-ground action, policy, and decisions, and
4. share data publicly so they can be used by water users, water managers, researchers, decision makers, policy makers, and others to protect and manage water resources.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).
- Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program 2-page Brochure – suitable for online viewing
- Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program Tri-fold Brochure – suitable for printing
- 2019 Data Summary Report
- Data are available from:
- Data View & Download Instructions – for well owners and volunteers
Volunteer Well Owners
The foundation of the Program are the well owners who volunteer their wells for monitoring. These include municipalities, First Nations, and private landowners. To date, Volunteer Observation Wells have been established in collaboration with ʔaq̓am, City of Castlegar, City of Cranbrook, District of Invermere, Kala Geosciences, McDonald Ranch and Lumber, Nature Trust of British Columbia, Playmor Water Utility, Regional District Central Kootenay, Village of Canal Flats, Village of Radium Hot Springs, and private land owners throughout the Columbia Basin.
Program & Data Manager
Provincial Partner – Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
- John Pogson
Funders & Partners
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
- Groundwater level monitoring and the importance of long-term water level data – Publication by the US Geological Survey
- Mountain Block Recharge: A review of current understanding – A summary of our understanding of groundwater flow from mountains to valley bottoms.
- BC Groundwater Wells and Aquifers – Provincial databases of wells and aquifers in BC and links to provincial groundwater information.
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada well monitoring – Information on assessing the operation and condition of your well.
- Important information for well owners in BC – Information for well owners on if they need to register or license their wells.
- BC Groundwater Protection Regulation – Information on the regulations to ensure activities related to wells and groundwater are performed in an environmentally safe manner.