Proof of Water - Subdivision
In processing subdivision applications, staff have found that groundwater information furnished by subdivision applicants is not always consistent with the Province’s Guidelines for Conducting Pumping Tests. This has led to conflict between staff, applicants and their consulting engineers. Staff believe that greater clarity around required information will minimize conflict. Additionally, the Salt Spring Island Watershed Protection Alliance (SSIWPA) has identified “Proof of Water” as a priority project to enhance water sustainability on the Island. To this end, the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee has directed staff to undertake work to better protect groundwater resources and groundwater users by improving the quality of groundwater information provided by subdivision applicants.
The project charter for this project is available here.
Project update: Staff met with the SSIWPA Technical Working Group twice over the summer of 2020. Staff used those meetings to inform development of draft bylaw amendments to Section 5.5.5 of the Salt Spring Island Land Use Bylaw. These amendments are currently with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development for preliminary review and comment.
Groundwater Recharge Potential
The Salt Spring Island Groundwater Recharge Potential Mapping Report was released in October 2019.
This report is based on a new approach to determining aquifer recharge potential and considers spatial variability of precipitation, surplus, land cover, soil and geology, slope, and faults and contacts between bedrock strata. The report describes the potential for groundwater recharge for defined community aquifers on Salt Spring Island. Lithology, land use land cover, precipitation and slope were determined to be the most influential factors controlling recharge potential, followed by lineament density, soil type and drainage density. The report maps aquifer recharge potential on Salt Spring and shows a high contrast between areas with low recharge potential and areas with moderate to high recharge potential.
Groundwater Well and Lake Monitoring Pilot Project
Currently, work is ongoing on a pilot groundwater well and lake monitoring project funded in part by a Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia Grant that has 12 volunteered domestic groundwater wells and 5 island lakes under observation with automated monitoring equipment. These monitors are measuring water level fluctuations and temperature changes. The well monitors are also measuring salinity. This monitoring will help inform how natural and anthropogenic changes will impact watershed hydrological function and water use on Salt Spring Island.
Results of this pilot project will be reported out to the community in March 2020.