Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program
Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program
- Groundwater is an important resource for people and for maintaining natural ecosystems in the Columbia Basin.
- This program is collecting groundwater level data in partnership with well owners throughout the Basin to increase our understanding of groundwater systems.
- Data from the Program are available publicly on the BC Real-time Water Data Tool and the Columbia Basin Water Hub.
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 hourly groundwater level measurements to determine how levels change seasonally and from year to year;
2. Share data publicly for others to use; and
3. Engage citizens in data collection and share data in easy to interpret formats to increase knowledge and awareness around groundwater.
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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.
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View and download the Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program data, reports and resources from the Columbia Basin Water Hub here.
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).
FIND THE DATA ONLINE
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, Selkirk College in Castlegar, Playmor Water Utility, Regional District Central Kootenay, Village of Canal Flats, Village of Radium Hot Springs, Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it First Nation, and private landowners throughout the Basin.
Data & Field Manager
Provincial Partner - Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
- John Pogson
- ʔaq̓am Community Lands Department
- West Kootenay Program Technician
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.
Status - Active
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News and Updates
- Monitoring shows variability in response to drought conditions – E-KNOW.ca, Aug 19 2023
- Equipping college students to tap into the groundwater field – E-KNOW.ca, May 5 2023
- College students do a deep dive into groundwater monitoring – Living Lakes Canada, Jan 9 2023
- Women in Groundwater Podcast & Article (pg. 14) – Ground Water Canada Magazine, Fall 2022
- Taking a deeper look at groundwater well conditions – Living Lakes Canada, Aug 22 2022
- Spring tour of the groundwater monitoring wells in the Columbia Basin – Living Lakes Canada, June 27 2022
- Our Changing Groundwater – Ground Water Canada Magazine, Winter 2022
- The Need for Monitoring – Ground Water Canada Magazine, Winter 2022
- Summer 2021 saw drop in groundwater levels in BC’s Columbia Basin – Ground Water Canada, Sept 20 2021
- Columbia Basin groundwater data now available in report form and online – Living Lakes Canada, Mar 10 2021
- For a complete list of news features, visit our In The News page!
- 2021 CBWM Film Series – Groundwater Monitoring
- Wells, Water Levels, and Windermere Creek: Exploring Current Groundwater Data and 3D Modelling (2021)
- Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program Informational Handout
- 2023 Data Download Instructions for Well Owners
- 2021 Memo: Groundwater Levels to Date for Living Lakes Canada Volunteer Observation Wells
- 2021 Windermere Preliminary Hydrogeological Characterization
- 2021 Windermere 3D Model and Viewer Instructions
- 2020 Data Collection Summary
- 2020 Program Overview Video
- 2019 Program Data Summary