Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program

Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program
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 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.

This program's data is available on the Columbia Basin Water Hub.


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

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View and download the Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program data, reports and resources from the Columbia Basin Water Hub here.

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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).  



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

Program Hydrogeologist

Provincial Partner - Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

  • John Pogson

Program Technicians



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