Salt Spring Island Groundwater Wells Inventory Project – complete
The Ministry of Environment receives and processes groundwater data and information related to the construction, alteration, and decommissioning of groundwater wells and stores that information in the GWELLS database. Prior to the release of the BC Water Sustainability Act on February 29, 2016, domestic groundwater well registration was voluntary and hundreds of drilled wells on Salt Spring were not registered. Islands Trust coordinated this project with Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources, and Rural Development to improve the GWELLS registry.
As part of Salt Spring Island Groundwater Wells Inventory Project, Islands Trust collated over 150 professional groundwater reports from subdivision applications from the past 30 years discovering nearly 400 unregistered groundwater well records. These well records were included in the GWELLS system to improve the overall functionality of the registry and to inform groundwater resource management and watershed protection.
Salt Spring Island Groundwater Wells Monitoring
Groundwater supplies approximately half of the water needs for Salt Spring Island community and is an ecological component of our watersheds. Long-term monitoring of groundwater levels is integral for watershed protection and management of groundwater resources.
The Salt Spring Island Groundwater Wells Monitoring Pilot Project was conducted 2018-2020 with the following objective:
- To coordinate monitoring and analysis strategies to address how natural and anthropogenic changes will impact watershed hydrological function and water use for Salt Spring Island.
With the support of agency staff and the SSIWPA coordinator, Islands Trust was awarded a Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC) Freshwater Sustainability grant to undertake the Salt Spring Island Groundwater Wells Monitoring Pilot Project. The REFBC funds were matched by contributions from CRD, Islands Trust and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
This project expanded monitoring to aquifer regions of Salt Spring Island not currently covered by the three Provincial Groundwater Observation Network monitoring locations.
Twelve volunteered domestic groundwater wells across the island were installed with automated groundwater monitoring equipment to measure water level fluctuations, groundwater temperature changes, and salinity in selected wells. Four lake monitoring stations were installed with similar equipment.
As part of this pilot, Islands Trust contracted the development of a data analysis and data management tool to manage the wealth of monitoring data being collected ongoingly from this project.
Pilot project reporting to the public was completed with a presentation at Salt Spring Island Public Library in December, 2019 and reporting to funders was completed in May 2020.
Data collection and analysis from stations established in the Salt Spring Island Groundwater Wells Monitoring project will continue into the future for the benefit of Salt Spring Island freshwater management, policy development and decision-making.