Groundwater resource allocation in British Columbia: challenges and ways forward

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Tom Gleeson, Diana M Allen


Groundwater allocation in British Columbia is facing a number of important challenges as groundwater is licensed under the Water Sustainability Act and potentially included in modern treaties. These challenges include acknowledging the importance of groundwater in supporting environmental flow needs and human water use, the uncertainty and irrelevance of annual recharge estimates, and the under-appreciated importance of aquifer drainage, while tackling cumulative impacts in watersheds using adaptive management with clear sustainability goals. We summarize these challenges and then suggest ways forward so that we can more robustly, holistically and sustainably allocate groundwater resources. Some of the proposed ways forward are based on sound science and are already being implemented partially or in some regions. Not implementing these ways forward risks permanent over-allocation of groundwater resources that would impact stream ecology, endanger rural livelihoods and challenge reconciliation with First Nations.



Environmental Engineering, Hydrology, Sustainability, Water Resource Management


groundwater allocation, groundwater resources, Water management, water policy, climate change


Published: 2022-06-24 04:11

Last Updated: 2022-06-24 11:11


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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