Groundwater Protection. What? Why? How?

Groundwater is one of Vancouver Island and the world’s most important natural resources, yet most of us do little to protect it. The fact is, most people on Vancouver Island rely on groundwater for drinking, domestic, agricultural and industrial uses. Our natural environment across British Columbia, such as streams, fish, and wildlife also depend on groundwater. While the state of groundwater in BC is relatively good, there is concern that not enough is being done to protect this valuable resource.

What is Groundwater?

Groundwater on Vancouver Island is all water below the ground surface.

Why is Groundwater important?

In most rural areas of Vancouver Island, groundwater is the only source of drinking water. In British Columbia, over 25% of the water used is groundwater. Streams rely on groundwater to sustain flows during the dry months. Safe groundwater is therefore important for the protection of both human health and our environment.

How can it get contaminated?

Groundwater on Vancouver Island is very susceptible to contamination, unless protected by a low permeability layer such as clay. Potential sources of contamination include:

  • Malfunctioning household septic systems
  • Careless disposal of cleaners, oil and antifreeze
  • Improper application of fertilizers and pesticides
  • Leaks from oil and chemical storage tanks
  • Industrial leaks and spills
  • Improper animal manure storage
  • Road salt
  • Landfills and garbage dumps

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to start protecting your Vancouver Island groundwater resource. The time to start is now!

For more information, please see:

British Columbian Groundwater Association
Ground Water Protection Regulation
What Private Well Owners Should Know!