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Aquifers in British Columbia

Query the Aquifer Database ~ View the Aquifer Image Portfolio

Groundwater provides 23 percent of the Province's population with drinking water, comprises 9 percent of total water consumption in the Province and represents 25 percent of the groundwater use in the nation ( Hess, 1986 ). It has been recognized for a number of years that a greater understanding of the existence and characteristics of aquifers in British Columbia is essential. The 1993 discussion paper "Stewardship of the Water of British Columbia" proposed that a program for classifying and mapping aquifers in groundwater management areas be initiated.

In 1994, a map based Aquifer Classification System was developed for the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks "Water Management Program" to identify, map and categorize aquifers using data from the provincial water well database. The objective of this aquifer classification system is to inventory and prioritize aquifers for planning, management and protection of the Province's groundwater resource. To date, over 438 aquifers have been delineated. Individual aquifers in the format as shown by the example of the Duncan Aquifer to the lower left are displayed through a query of the aquifer image portfolio.

Status of Aquifer
Classification Mapping

(Click map for larger view)

Large BC Aquifer Map

If you have ArcInfo capability this is the FTP link to digitized aquifer polygons in ArcInfo export format.

Example of an Aquifer at Duncan

(Click map for larger view)

Duncan aquifer

Classifying aquifers in our Province is of vital importance. In some areas groundwater is the only viable and economic source of water supply for individual and community water supply systems as well as augmenting agricultural and industrial uses. Groundwater often maintains base flows in rivers and streams during periods of drought and is critical to fisheries habitat and spawning areas. With increasing demand and reliance on groundwater from a growing population comes the need to increase efforts to protect and manage the resource. Aquifer classification mapping provides an appropriate tool for optimizing water resources decisions affecting use and resource protection. There is more information on the BC Aquifer Classification System by Kreye et al, (1994) in the Reports section of this home page.

Aquifers and Water Wells in BC

This interface to groundwater aquifers and water well locations is under development and now replaces other methods of delivering groundwater data to the public, consultants and water well drillers.

Hard copies of water well location mapping are no longer available as this service has been replaced by Aquifers and Water Wells in BC .


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