Aquifer Mapping Study - Town of Gibsons

The Aquifer Mapping Study is part of a long-term initiative by the Town to sustain and protect Aquifer 560 (Gibsons Aquifer), which provides most of the Town’s water supply.

Aquifer Mapping Study Update – 2021/2022

On June 7, 2022, a presentation on the Aquifer Mapping Study Update (a comprehensive update to the data collected in the first mapping study) was presented to Council by Waterline Resources, the lead consultant on the project.

As part of its work, Waterline Resources updated the Aquifer 560 Map and Numerical Model; added new drilling location info and environmental layers into the model; and simulated several groundwater use scenarios for various pumping conditions from the existing water source well network under present day and climate-affected conditions (i.e. below average precipitation and sea level rise) in order to determine different water use requirements determined by Town staff.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Since 2013, considerable progress has been made in better understanding the movement and cycling of water in Aquifer 560, due to the Town’s successful implementation of a comprehensive groundwater monitoring program;
  • Aquifer 560 appears to comprise three separate “lobes” which are hydraulically disconnected from each other beneath the ground, but which share a common recharge area;
  • Predictive modeling indicates Aquifer 560 can meet future demand as the Town’s population grows to approximately 10,000 at full buildout.

Waterline also made several recommendations for future initiatives including: assessing the artesian overflow from Town Wells #1 and #4 that occurs when these wells are not pumping; installing two shallow monitoring wells in Lower Gibsons; and collaborating closely with the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), Ministry of Forests and other stakeholders to proactively monitor the Aquifer and protect shared watersheds.

Work is underway to implement the recommendations made in the recent report, and to share the updated data with all stakeholders.

Read the Aquifer Mapping Study Update June 2022 here.

Read Press Release: 2022-06-07 Town Releases Aquifer Mapping Update.

Aquifer Mapping Study – 2009 to 2013

In 2009, the Town received a $400,000 grant for this program. From 2009 to 2013 the Town also committed an additional $100,000 bringing the total available funds to $500,000. Waterline Resources Inc. was contracted to conduct the study and the final report was presented to Council on May 16, 2013, by Waterline’s Principal Hydrogeologist, Darren J. David, M.Sc., P.Geo. The meeting was well attended and provided the public an opportunity to ask questions and comment on the findings.

Key outcomes from this study are:

  1. establishment of the limits of Aquifer 560;
  2. identification of the aquifer recharge area;
  3. determination of the ultimate sustainable supply capacity of the aquifer;
  4. analysis of how climate change, drought and pumping are anticipated to affect the aquifer;
  5. completion of an initial groundwater sampling program;
  6. recommendations showing where the Town needs to take action to ensure adequate funding is in place to manage this natural asset in an appropriate manner; and
  7. a communication strategy.

For those unable to attend the May 2013 meeting, the full presentation has been recorded and can be viewed at Aquifer Mapping Final Presentation. The video is approximately two hours in length and consists of 75 minutes of the presentation followed by 50 minutes of questions from members of Council and the public.

Read the full report and appendices now or visit the Gibsons Library to view the paper copy.

Also involved in the study were Gordon Groundwater Consultancy and Jessica Doyle, UBC MSc student.

The Town of Gibsons wishes to express appreciation to Waterline, Gordon Groundwater Consultancy and Jessica Doyle for working so passionately and tirelessly on this project. Thanks also goes out to the residents of the Sunshine Coast who contributed to this project by permitting access to their wells for data collection.