The ICAN Water Security Team is collaborating with the We Wai Kai Nation and others concerned with understanding the freshwater system on Quadra Island. This will let us prepare for hotter summers and increased droughts predicted with climate change and water needs associated with development. Ultimately, we are working with the community to develop climate adaptation strategies and freshwater management plans for sustained resilience of human and ecological communities on the island.
Unlike many other Salish Sea islands, Quadra’s aquifers appear to be sufficient for current levels of human use, but we may be drawing down our aquifers. In fact, the Provincial observation well on the island is listed as having a large rate of decline.
We are collecting information on groundwater, surface waters, and their relationships and ultimately will develop a model to evaluate the predicted impacts under different scenarios of climate change and development.
- We have installed automatic equipment in a selection of wells to monitor seasonal and multi-year changes in water levels – this will tell us if we are drawing down our aquifers.
- We will use weather data to estimate the amount of water entering watersheds and, in coordination with the We Wai Kai Guardians and the Salmon Enhancement Society, we monitor streams to estimate water leaving them.
- We will map watersheds and wetland plant communities.
- Because participation is essential to stewardship, we will host community meetings, workshops, and invite volunteers to be part of field studies.
- We hope to soon start working on issues surrounding shallow/dug wells and will keep people updated, but a good place for people to start learning is the following site: Best Practices for Dug Wells (gov.bc.ca)
This effort relies on collaborations.
We work with volunteers, We Wai Kai Guardians, Salmon Enhancement Society, faculty and students from Vancouver Island University, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and in-kind support from the community and outside groups.
If you want to learn more about any component of our efforts, contact any member of our team:
Bernie Amell – firstname.lastname@example.org
Colin Chapman – Colin.Chapman.Research@gmail.com
Lee Gass – email@example.com
Claire Hemingway – Hemingwayca@gmail.com
Curt Latham – firstname.lastname@example.org
Eileen Mackay – email@example.com
Jason Price – firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Sargent – email@example.com
You might be interested in resources to explore further:
Aquifers – General information concerning what an aquifer is and BC relevant resources can be found at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/groundwater-wells-aquifers/understanding-aquifers
The Provincial database GWELLS (apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/gwells/aquifers) outlines boundaries and characteristics such as size, geology, and vulnerability of the aquifers that have been mapped.
The BC government categorizes the Observation Well on Quadra to be in a “large rate of decline” at 0.12m/year. s3.ca-central-1.amazonaws.com/aquifer-docs/00700/AQ_00751_Aquifer_Factsheet.pdf
Registering Your Well – This helps ensure that your general use is considered in decision making and during times of water scarcity. Wells that were drilled after Feb. 2016 have normally been registered by the well driller. If your well was installed prior to this, check if it is registered at apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/gwells. If it is not, you can register your well by filling in an on-line form (www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/air-land-water/water/water-wells/well_registration_form.pdf) and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Climate Change – The BC government predicts climate change will bring longer and warmer dry summers and warmer and wetter winters and springs to our island. Our efforts will tell us how these changes will affect the island aquifer. For more information on BC Climate Change see: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/agricultural-land-and-environment/climate-action/adapting-to-climate-change
South Quadra Water-bearing Geological Formations – A 3-D model by Dr. J. Lesemann and his Vancouver Island University students represents the extent, shape and relationships of the confined aquifer, unconfined aquifer areas, and impermeable aquitard areas in South Quadra. You can find this report at: storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/59cfd835e462477fa8f2d92a7bd16c60
In the News
How the We Wai Kai / Water Security Team partnership came into being
Monitoring Quadra Islands Wells
Small island community launches big effort to develop water security