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Canwell 2004 Kelowna, April 24, 2004 Overview of groundwater information found on the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection web site By Kevin Ronneseth.

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Presentation on theme: "Canwell 2004 Kelowna, April 24, 2004 Overview of groundwater information found on the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection web site By Kevin Ronneseth."— Presentation transcript:

1 Canwell 2004 Kelowna, April 24, 2004 Overview of groundwater information found on the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection web site By Kevin Ronneseth Water, Air, Climate Change Branch Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection

2 Outline BC’s groundwater web site Water well data (and data entry) Groundwater reference library Observation Well and Ambient Groundwater Quality Monitoring networks Fact Sheets Aquifers and the Internet Mapping Application

3 BC’s Groundwater Web Site Over View Provincial database initiated in the 1960’s Province started using the Web to display groundwater information in the mid 1990’s The key web address to note is: ml ml Today, Web strategy and e-government are key service plan objectives of the Province’s mandate

4 Water Well Data Water well data input –Free software (well drilling data capture system) to enter groundwater data into a database Water well data output –Using word search criteria to access water well data –Using maps to access water well data

5 Water Well Data Input The Well Drilling Data Capture System –designed to provide drillers with a database that is compatible with the Province’s database, –developed with the cooperation and assistance of the British Columbia Groundwater Association, –drillers are able to organize and maintain their own water well data, print out water well records for customers and export data selected by the driller to the WELL database.

6 The Well Drilling Data Capture System

7 Number of Wells on File To date, over 80,000 wells entered in the Wells Data base ≈ 65,000 with a geographic location ≈ 1800 new wells drilled each year

8 How to Access the Water Well Data Different types of word search criteria are used to access water well data –Well Tag Number, –BCGS Number, –Geo Reference (e.g. Street, Legal), –BCGS Geographic Grid,


10 The BCGS Map Grid is used to Identify the Area of Interest in the Province

11 Then further refine the search by identifying the 1:20,000 map sheet (e.g. 82E.083)

12 Other Types of Geo-referencing Include: Street Names and Legal Descriptions

13 Water Well Data Output Water well data can be printed out in the following formats: –Summaries of well logs –Detailed well logs –Lithology of well logs –Specialty outputs

14 Well Log Summary

15 Well Log Lithology

16 Detailed Well Log

17 Water Well Data Output by BCGS Number Specialized output for Aquifer Classification Studies

18 Specialized Lithology Output for Aquifer Vulnerability Studies

19 Water Well Data Output Mapped Based Aquifer and water wells web site:

20 Aquifers and Water Wells







27 Detailed Well Log

28 Groundwater Reference Library


30 Example References Code of Practice for Construction, Testing, Maintenance and Closure of Wells, BC Evaluating Long-Term Well Capacity for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity Glossary of Hydrogeologic Terms Guide to using the Aquifer Classification Maps for the Protection and Management of Groundwater in BC Framework for a Hydrogeologic Study in support of an Application for an Environmental Assessment Certificate under the Environmental Assessment Act and Regulations Unit Conversion Table

31 Groundwater Reference Library Groundwater Report NTS Filing System –for listing of Groundwater Reports on File with the Water, Air and Climate Change Branch in Victoria. NTS.082, NTS.092, NTS.093, NTS.094 NTS.102, NTS.103, NTS.104 NTS Consultants ReportsNTS.082NTS.092NTS.093NTS.094 NTS.102, NTS.103, NTS.104 NTS Consultants Reports



34 Observation Well and Ambient Groundwater Quality Monitoring Networks

35 Groundwater levels monitored by the Observation Well Network (established in 1961). Many Observation Wells also periodically (every few years) sampled for baseline water chemistry. Ambient groundwater quality monitored in developed, highly vulnerable aquifers by the Ambient Groundwater Quality Monitoring Network (initiated in 1986). Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection (Water, Air, Climate Change Branch responsible for groundwater monitoring in BC).


37 Observation Well Network Since 1960, 350 observation wells have been established. Today, there are 163 active observation wells in the Network; some Observation Wells have close to 50 years of record. Observation Wells classified into three categories: –Monitoring groundwater levels in developed aquifers, –Specific engineering and research projects, and –Monitoring for forecasting and baseline data.

38 Observation Well Network: Distribution Most Observation Wells located in the southern half of BC, in major groundwater regions. 3/4 monitor sand and gravel aquifers; 1/4 monitor bedrock aquifers. Typically establish 1- 3 new Observation Wells per year. Policy to establish an Observation Well in all “IA” aquifers.

39 Observation Well Network: Data collection 2/3 of the Observation Wells are equipped with recorders; 1/3 of are manually read on a monthly basis. Currently converting Stevens F68 recorders to Thalimedes data loggers; storage of data in the Ministry’s WIDM database. Historic chart data in hard copy format. Historic charts for 26 Observation Wells have been digitized by Environment Canada in 2002. All month-end reading (recorders and manual) are entered into Excel. Data from Observation Wells reported in numerous ways

40 Data from Obs Wells are used to Characterize Groundwater Conditions in British Columbia

41 Observation Well Data are Reported in the Provincial Snow Survey Bulletin 10 Key Observation Wells reported regularly in the Snow Survey Bulletin for flood and drought forecasting. Web site: ca/rfc/river_forecast/b ulletin.htm

42 Reporting of Observation Well data: Snow Survey Bulletin (continued) Observation Well No. 2 Abbotsford-Sumas Aquifer


44 Observation Well Data are Reporting in the Province’s State Of Environment Reports Status and Trends in Groundwater Supply: (


46 Access to Month-end Data View hydrographs on the web. Download month-end groundwater level data from web. Web site: wellindex.html

47 Monitoring groundwater levels has identified extent of temporal and spatial declining regional groundwater levels in the Lower Fraser Valley

48 Monitoring groundwater levels has allowed a better understanding of pumping behaviour in sand and gravel as well as fractured bedrock aquifers, to allow development of provincial well testing guidelines /gwdocs/eval_well/toc.html

49 Ambient Groundwater Quality Monitoring in British Columbia: Objectives Examine groundwater quality concerns in the province and monitor trends with time. Groundwater Quality Concerns in BC : –Nitrates and phosphates –Synthetic organic compounds including pesticides –Coliform bacteria –Heavy metals –Hydrocarbons including gasoline –Landfill leachate –Saltwater including seawater intrusion

50 Regional Water Quality Issues and Areas VANCOUVER ISLAND - saltwater, fluoride, hydrogen sulphide, bacteria LOWER MAINLAND - nitrates, saltwater, fluoride KOOTENAY- heavy metals, sulphate NORTHERN BC - arsenic, radioactivity SOUTERN INTERIOR - nitrates, fluoride, arsenic, sulphate, uranium, mercury

51 Criteria for Selecting Areas for Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Groundwater used as water supply. Areas with large community wells. Large amounts of groundwater extraction. Significant land use activities. Shallow water table aquifers vulnerable to contamination. Alternative water sources not readily available. Groundwater contamination discharging to surface water.

52 AGWM location Surveyed area Monitoring and Survey Areas Prior to 2002 Cowichan Estuary Lower Fraser Valley Osoyoos Grand Forks Armstrong Merritt Keremeos Oliver Identify Patterns of Concern (NO 3 -N, NaCl)

53 Monitoring of ambient groundwater quality has identified significant water quality trends NO 3 -N versus time, Site A 100-foot monitoring well, Grand Forks, BC

54 Monitoring of ambient groundwater quality has allowed better understanding of the occurrence and distribution of NO 3 -N in this aquifer NO 3 -N > 30 mg/L NO 3 -N > 10 - 30 mg/L NO 3 -N distribution in the Grand Forks Aquifer NO 3 -N = 3 – 10 mg/L NO 3 -N < 3 mg/L

55 Current enhancement of the Ambient Groundwater Monitoring Network : Expanding to all IA Aquifers * In 2002, increase existing AGWQM Network from Lower Fraser Valley, Osoyoos and Grand Forks to other parts of BC. Use BC Aquifer Classification System to identify high priority aquifers; expand AGWQM Network to all IA aquifers. Establish a handful of monitoring sites in each IA aquifer. * for information on IA aquifers and the BC Aquifer Classification System, see:

56 Access and Reporting of Ambient Groundwater Quality Monitoring Data Technical reports and conference papers Development of water reporting strategy Water Quality Trends in Selected British Columbia Waterbodies Development of restricted web access to EMS

57 Summary of Well Monitoring Networks Groundwater level monitoring – Observation Well Network. Groundwater quality monitoring – Ambient Groundwater Quality Monitoring Network. Importance of networks in understanding human and natural impacts on aquifers and developing policies to manage and protect them. Issues: data assurance, storage, access and analysis and reporting; new business needs, staff training.

58 Groundwater Quality Groundwater Quality Fact Sheets There are seven fact sheets that provide general groundwater quality information on: – total and fecal coliform bacteria; –nitrate; –arsenic; –fluoride; –sodium; –iron and manganese; and –hardness.

59 Location of Groundwater Quality Fact Sheets

60 Contents of the Nitrate Fact Sheet What is nitrate? What are the known sources of nitrate? What are the environmental health concerns? Where have high nitrate levels been found in BC well water? What can well owners and water purveyors do about nitrate contamination of well water? Well water testing and source protection, and Other government information sources on Nitrates.

61 Example of a Groundwater Quality Fact Sheet

62 Aquifers and the Internet Mapping Application BC’s Aquifer Classification Mapping Program was developed in 1994, Search for aquifers by using aquifer characteristics developed, Gif. files of individual aquifers established, Aquifers available in an internet map based format in 2002

63 BC’s Aquifers Classification Mapping System Turn data into information for decision makers to use Build an inventory of aquifers in BC Develop map-based products so others can “see” aquifers Use the information to assist in management and protection of the resource

64 BC Aquifer Classification System Level of Vulnerability Level of Development Classification Component Ranking Component Aquifer Classification System Inventory of Aquifers Level of Vulnerability

65 Classification Component Level of Development Level of Vulnerability

66 Ranking Value Component

67 Example Applications of Aquifer Classification System As a local government, where should we be most careful to ensure rural development and use of septic systems do not impact groundwater quality? As a health official, which areas are most susceptible to nitrate contamination in groundwater used for drinking water? As a home owner, can I develop a well water supply?

68 What the Aquifer Classification System does not do Does not provide specific information about groundwater availability, direction or rate of flow nor aquifer capacity Does not show variability of properties across an aquifer (e.g., productivity, vulnerability) Does not reveal interactions with surface water Does not show trends over time (static)

69 Status of Aquifer Mapping 608 aquifers currently completed Approximately 660 aquifers by the Summer of 2004

70 Status Of Aquifer Mapping

71 Mapping the Aquifers around the Chemainus River

72 Guide to Using the BC Aquifer Classification Maps Assist people in interpreting and using the maps, Explains the System, Discusses assumptions underlying its design, the interpretation of the info. presented, and the appropriate use of the maps.

73 Main Aquifer Web Page

74 Web Page for Conducting Aquifer Enquiries

75 Web Page for Displaying a Graphic file of an Aquifers

76 Example of Bedrock Aquifer #124.gif file

77 Web Page for the Internet Aquifer Mapping WEB Site





82 Future Mapping on this Internet Site will Include Aquifer Characterization Maps (e.g. the occurrence and distribution of NO 3 -N in the Grand Forks Aquifers NO 3 -N > 30 mg/L NO 3 -N > 10 - 30 mg/L NO 3 -N distribution in the Grand Forks Aquifer NO 3 -N = 3 – 10 mg/L NO 3 -N < 3 mg/L

83 Future Mapping on this Internet Site will Include Cross Sections and other Information for Specific Aquifers

84 Summary The provincial web sites will increasingly become a valuable source for more groundwater information; More of the existing groundwater data will become groundwater information and posted on the provincial web sites; The provincial web sites are to become more user friendly.

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