Look at Groundwater Differently: Vancouver Island Demonstration Project Establishes Water Balance Precedent




Groundwater and Surface Water: Same Water

Released in April 2012, the Primer on Integrated Rainwater and Groundwater Management for Lands on Vancouver Island and Beyond synthesizes the pioneer work of Dr. Gilles Wendling, and presents it in his own words. Because he looked at groundwater differently in the Englishman River Watershed on Vancouver Island, Gilles Wendling has advanced the science and he has developed a practical application of water balance thinking. His contributions to science-based understanding extend beyond the technical and into the communication and education realm. His work provides a bridge between rainfall and stream health.

Dr. Wendling emphasizes that time is a critically important dimension in maintaining the water balance. Also, that water is always moving. “These are fundamental concepts, yet are not always well understood,” he says.

“Characterizing aquifers is a complex and costly exercise because you need wells in order to reach aquifers and to monitor the depth and fluctuation of the level of the water table. The approach that we took with the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society in the Englishman River Watershed was to involve the community.”


Involve the Community

Dr. Wendling explains that the benefits of community involvement were two-fold: “First, we saved the large cost of having to install new wells. We used existing wells that owners volunteered for monitoring. Secondly, we believe that the long-term health of watersheds depends upon the stewardship of the people who live in the watersheds.  By getting them involved in its study, the community connects to its watershed, its complexity and how it works.”

“Community members will then be able to more willingly modify their behaviour and management of the land, after they appreciate the direct connection between what happens at surface and what happens in the subsurface, on their property, the property of their neighbours and their local environment,” concludes Dr. Wendling.



To download a copy, click on Primer on Integrated Raiinwater & Groundwater Management for Lands on Vancouver Island and Beyond


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