Living Lakes Canada’s Carol Luttmer leading the charge for women in groundwater

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Carol Luttmer teaching students about groundwater

Carol Luttmer teaching Selkirk College students about groundwater at the on-campus volunteer observation well. LLC Photo

With the growing climate crisis, surface water supplies are becoming less reliable. We need a greater understanding of our groundwater systems. Carol Luttmer has been growing this understanding through our Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program. And her efforts recently received nation-wide attention.

The latest edition of Ground Water Canada’s magazine recognized key women who are leaving their mark in the male-dominated groundwater industry. For their inaugural “Women in Groundwater” program, there was an overwhelming response as nominations poured in from coast to coast. Living Lakes Canada was excited to learn that Carol was selected as one of four honourees. 

Carol regards her work with Living Lakes Canada as an opportunity to “work on understanding scientifically difficult questions while also working with community members at the grassroots level.” During her four years as program manager, she’s successfully grown the groundwater monitoring program from 7 volunteer observation wells in 2018 to 29 in 2022.

The program partners with well owners to establish volunteer observation wells. Water level sensors and data loggers are installed and maintained in the wells to collect hourly water level measurements. All the data are made publicly available on the Columbia Basin Water Hub and the BC Real-time Water Data Tool. Carol, on behalf of Living Lakes Canada’s Groundwater program, has successfully collaborated with First Nations, municipalities, water supply system operators, ranchers, land trusts, post-secondary education institutions, and private landowners to collect and share groundwater level data.

“It was an honour to be recognized by Ground Water Canada, alongside women leaders in the well drilling industry, for my work with our non-profit Living Lakes Canada.” Carol continues, “Our Groundwater Program facilitates community engagement by partnering with other organizations and well owners to track changes in groundwater levels over time, to generate long-term records about our groundwater resources. Being recognized by Ground Water Canada allows us to share the community-based work we’re doing here in the Columbia Basin with a national audience.”

The expansion of groundwater monitoring is needed to meet the demand for sustainable water management. As Carol told Ground Water Canada, “there is a growing interest among the public who wish to know if their water supply is secure and how climate change is impacting water supplies.” 

 Although groundwater is out of sight, Carol agrees that it certainly shouldn’t be out of mind. “We need all hands on deck to figure out how to manage water in perpetuity for future generations, both for human needs and for the ecological services it provides,” she said. 

 Listen to Ground Water Canada’s podcast interview with Carol to learn more about her work with Living Lakes Canada or read the story

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