Western Water prides itself on a practical approach to hydrogeology using experienced professionals located across the province. From groundwater feasibility studies to drilling programs to source water protection plans and ongoing well field maintenance, we provide solutions for groundwater supply projects at all stages. We offer services to help navigate the Water Sustainability Act to meet your water needs while working with the drilling or pump contractors best suited for your specific program. If a higher-level understanding of your resource is needed, our team of GIS technicians and resource specialists are proficient in aquifer mapping, hydraulic connectivity assessments and water balance studies.
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Water Sustainability Regulations Overview
Enacted on 29 Feb 2016, the new regulations provide a three-year licensing period for existing wells, and all new sources not in use as of 29 Feb 2016 require a new groundwater licence application. WWAL can assist clients in assembling a complete application package to ensure water rights are recorded properly and allocated to the appropriate aquifer and well sources.
Technical Support for Groundwater License Applications
Our support can range from preparing the actual applications, or consultation in preparation of making application. We assemble/compile information such as well logs, pumping information, maps, aquifer information, and provide advice on flow rates and annual water usage, and strategies to optimize licenses in terms of water availability and dates of precedence.
Tracking Well Production and Water Levels
Anticipated regulations will require that operators of licenced wells report annually on well production rates (peak and average flow), production volumes (e.g. monthly and yearly) as well as water levels in wells. WWAL has years of experience helping clients efficiently implement monitoring programs to comply with regulations and information needs. Reporting will form the basis of annual water rentals.
Groundwater Protection Regulation
The new regulations now require submission of well logs and well drillers reports for all water supply wells and most other classes of permanent wells. WWAL can review the status of each of our client’s well sources and determine steps needed to ensure compliance with the new regulations.
Western Water’s hydrogeologists have experience in licensing groundwater in several Canadian provinces and U.S. states to help you meet new regulations efficiently, minimizing the potential for delays in application processing.
The team at Western Water has extensive experience with groundwater development and it is one of the core services we provide. From individual domestic wells to large diameter production wells, Western Water can effectively evaluate site specific geological conditions and guide a development program from evaluation to production. Our clients range from land developers seeking guidance on residential groundwater development to municipalities, water utilities, First Nations, resort developments and irrigation districts who provide water to thousands of connections. Strong connections to the well drilling industry through involvement in the B.C. Groundwater Association means we know the right contractor with the experience and equipment to get the water you need. Our team members are also highly experienced in water allocation, and have been involved in the Water Sustainability Act regulations and through this experience, we are well-positioned to assist clients in meeting the new regulations in 2016 and beyond.
All groundwater supplies, in particular high-capacity wells, will provide longer-lasting and more reliable service if performance is monitored and effective rehabilitation techniques are applied when needed to maintain productivity and water quality. Declining well yields are a common occurrence in older wells, and routine maintenance can ensure that water demands are met during peak demand seasons and can save thousands of dollars in distribution costs. Our team has extensive experience in municipal water supply and can effectively diagnose issues contributing to declining yields and implement the appropriate works to restore well performance. Ongoing monitoring (usually done by the operator) is critical to well field management, and we can design and implement a program to allow early detection of the need for well maintenance so that rehab works can be scheduled around peak-use times of year.
Providers of public drinking water supplies who utilize groundwater need to work in partnership with health authorities, provincial ministries and members of the local community to protect their groundwater supplies. Effective protection requires an understanding of the local geology and hydrogeology and identifying the potential threats to groundwater quality. Western Water has an extensive background in all aspects of groundwater source assessment and groundwater protection planning. This includes technical tasks such as delineating aquifer recharge and/or well capture zones, contaminant source inventories, and facilitation of technical advisory committees overseeing the development and implementation of protection plans.
Recent source protection projects for which Western Water has played a lead role include the Silver Star Resort water system, the new groundwater-based system at Fintry B.C. operated by the Regional District of Central Okanagan, and the high capacity groundwater well systems operated by the Okanagan Falls Irrigation District, Big Eddy Waterworks District and the Town of Oliver.
WWAL has the experience and expertise for the development of numerical groundwater models for a wide range of project scales and complexity. While not traditionally viewed as part of conceptual model development, numerical modelling is becoming regarded as a useful and cost-effective tool at early or pre-project stages, leading to a well-founded preliminary site understanding that is important for guiding and improving the value of further investigation. Applied at a more complex level, fully calibrated numerical models provide a basis for a detailed understanding of site hydrogeology, groundwater – surface water interactions, scientifically-based predictions, and scenario testing.
WWAL hydrogeological expertise includes the use of FEFLOW (a finite element numerical groundwater flow model, DHI-WASY Inc.) as well as other commercial numerical and analytical software (e.g., Modflow, Aqtesolv) for groundwater flow and aquifer test analysis, with applications to both fractured rock an unconsolidated geological conditions.
Geothermal heating/cooling systems have become increasingly popular for high density residential and commercial applications. The design of injection and extraction wells for these systems, the assessment of the sustainability of geothermal development in relation to aquifer capacity and the assessment of potential impacts on both groundwater and surface water are emerging issues that need to be addressed. Western Water staff have been involved with the design of open loop systems for cold storage, academic and commercial heating/cooling applications, as well as third party review of open loop, closed loop and enhanced geothermal systems.
This includes well field optimization, baseline water quality and temperature studies, plus numeric groundwater flow and heat transport modeling. and heat flow. We have presented papers at both the provincial and national level on the design and sustainability of open loop systems.