Mid-Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society

Groundwater and Surface Water Interaction in the Englishman River Watershed

Englishman River AquifiersGW Solutions has worked with the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES) to collect information on the presence and behaviour of aquifers in the Englishman River (ER) watershed, to define aquifers, to assess the elevation of the water table in the aquifers, to estimate the groundwater regime (groundwater flow path), and to define the interconnection of the aquifers and the ER.

The work during Phase 1 was community-based and 36 private wells were used to collect information on the depth to the water table and its seasonal fluctuation.  The community was also involved in the gathering of information at 20 stations on the ER during several events where data on pH, electrical conductivity, temperature, and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) was collected.

Phase 1 of this community-based watershed characterization project was completed between June 2009 and April 2010 and the results were presented in a report by GW Solutions “Lower Englishman River Watershed Groundwater and Surface water Interaction”, dated April 2010 available below.

The completion of Phase 1 proved that a community–based study can be an economical way of collecting valuable information and involving the population residing in the studied watershed.  This is an important step in having the local population taking ownership in the management of the watershed and understanding the dynamic of the water movement and the interaction between surface water and groundwater.  This is also an important premise for potential future behaviour changes required to better conserve and protect water resources.

The team has been successful in receiving a $70,000 grant from the Royal Bank of Canada Blue Water Project in June 2010 to continue the work started in 2009.

Phase 2 was completed in 2011.  The final report is available below.

The work has also been presented in a series of video presentations viewable below.

In 2013-14, GW Solutions has focused its effort in better understanding the role played by the bedrock aquifers (Mountain Block Recharge) in supplying water to the Englishman River. This was done in collaboration with MVI and the local community. The results were presented in a report (Phase 3 report) issued in October 2014.

Part 1 focuses on the identifications of aquifers in the lower Englishman River Watershed and the methodology used for the study.
Part 2 focuses on the assessment of the flux of groundwater discharging to the Englishman River. It provides new and creative images illustrating the interaction between the Englishman River and the aquifers along its banks.
Part 3 describes the role played by groundwater flowing in the bedrock aquifers and the fact it is still predominantly unknown. It also provides a water balance for the Englishman River during periods of low flow, and it reveals that aquifers are the main source of water in the Englishman River in the summer and fall.
Part 4 describes the link between the Englishman river, the aquifers in its watershed, and the land where aquifer recharge takes place. It presents a new and innovative way of illustrating with “butterfly” images the connection between the land, the aquifers, and the river.
This study was made possible by the grants provided by RBC Blue Water Project, The Real Estate Foundation of BC, GW Solutions Inc, Living Rivers, the Regional District of Nanaimo, TD Friends of the Environment, and Pacific Salmon Foundation, and by the volunteers who participated in the project. For more info please visit www.mvihes.bc.ca