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Living Water Smart Blog

Protecting Our Groundwater

Protecting the safety and security of groundwater is essential for communities, as many of us drink water from underground aquifers, and for the environment. Groundwater is important to our economy because it is extracted for commercial, industrial and irrigation uses. Groundwater also sustains stream flow during dry periods and is critical to the function of streams, wetlands and other aquatic environments, and salmon habitat.

For too long we’ve taken our groundwater for granted. The use of groundwater in B.C. is currently unregulated and uncontrolled. This cannot continue, particularly in areas where there is pressure on limited water resources or where particular activities have potentially large impacts. Visit the new Water Sustainability Act site to find out what changes are being proposed in the Water Act Modernization project.

What can you do?

  • Be aware of your responsibilities under the Ground Water Protection Regulation [PDF 221KB] including having your well permanently closed if it is no longer in use.
  • Ensure your well has a secure cap.
  • Do not store hazardous or toxic substances such as fertilizers, solvents or fuels near wells.
  • Test your water quality regularly and when necessary seek advice from the local Drinking Water Officer.
  • Brochures and factsheets are available for groundwater quality, well disinfection, flood preparation, how to find a septic tank and much more. This information will help you better understand the groundwater resource and how to keep your well water supply safe.
  • Conserve water – for ideas see easy actions to do page or visit

Did you know?

  • Groundwater in B.C. is generally of a high quality and constant temperature as it has spent time being naturally filtered and insulated by the earth.
  • Groundwater is generally less expensive to develop and treat because you don’t have to pipe water into an area.
  • Groundwater occurs in sand and gravel as well as fractured bedrock (see image below for an example).
  • More than 750,000 British Columbians use groundwater as their main drinking water source and there are more than 900 developed aquifers in B.C.
  • B.C. uses more groundwater than any other province except Ontario. Much of it is actually used for sustaining the province’s economy (e.g., commercial, industrial irrigation and aquaculture uses).

Find more information on groundwater here.

Close Tooltip A large well may have different cut-off points depending on the water supply, connections to surface waters and demands. For example in the Gulf Islands a large well would have more than five connections.