Groundwater Resource Allocation in British Columbia: Challenges and Ways Forward


  • Diana Allen Simon Fraser University
  • Tom Gleeson University of Victoria



Groundwater allocation in British Columbia is facing several important challenges. 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 misconceptions surrounding annual recharge estimates, and the under-appreciated importance of aquifer drainage, while tackling cumulative impacts in watersheds using adaptive management with clear sustainability goals. This article summarizes these challenges and suggests ways forward so that we can more robustly, holistically, and sustainably allocate groundwater resources. This includes some evidenced-based suggestions that are alreadymbeing implemented partially or in some regions. Not implementing these suggestions risks permanent over-allocation of groundwater resources that would impact stream ecology, endanger rural livelihoods, and challenge reconciliation with First Nations.

Keywords: groundwater allocation, groundwater resources, water management, water policy, climate change




How to Cite

Allen, D., & Gleeson, T. (2023). Groundwater Resource Allocation in British Columbia: Challenges and Ways Forward. Confluence: Journal of Watershed Science and Management, 6(1), 15 pp.