About the Project

The RDN Water Budget Project will help us better understand how much water is available within the 7 water regions and mapped aquifers of the Regional District of Nanaimo.


Monitoring the Englishman River

Phase 1 project tasks included:

  • Developing a better understanding of the hydrological cycle and the interactions between rivers, creeks, lakes, and groundwater aquifers.
  • Estimating current water demands, the stresses placed on rivers, creeks and aquifers by human activities, as well as long-term effects of changing climate conditions.
  • Identifying uncertainties and data gaps in the analysis.

The results obtained in Phase 1 offer preliminary insight into the sustainability of current water use practices in each water region, and will be used to identify areas of concern for further study.


Organization of reports:
The two main Water Budget project reports – Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands (Gabriola, DeCourcy, Mudge) – provide an overview of the hydrogeology for each RDN water region (WR), water budget methods and results.

The reports are divided into 5 sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Hydrogeological Conceptual Model
  3. Water Budget, by water region
  4. Data Gaps
  5. Recommendations & Conclusions

How to navigate this site:
Start your exploration with Water 101.  Use the menus above, and in the sidebar, to navigate to specific sections of Water Budget reports.

  • Table of Contents – Select a report to display a Table of Contents.
  • Browse & Explore – Browse through the 5 main sections of each report.
  • Downloads – Detailed technical graphs and maps are included in Appendices and links – see PDF downloads marked .

Tips for non-technical readers:

  • Move your mouse over coloured words for definitions and links to more info
  • Find more definitions in the Glossary
  • Explore the illustrations & animation in Water 101


What is Watershed Stress?

Much like a bank account, if more water is leaving than is coming in, the supply will be depleted. A level of reserve is included in the balance. The water use is sustainable when supply and demand are in balance. When demand outstrips supply, a watershed or aquifer can experience stress.

Vancouver Island Report for RDN Water Regions 1-6

  • WR1 – Big Qualicum
  • WR2 – Little Qualicum
  • WR3 – French Creek
  • WR4 – Englishman River
  • WR5 – South Wellington to Nanoose
  • WR6 – Nanaimo River

Gulf Islands Report for RDN Water Region 7

  • WR7 – Gabriola, DeCourcy & Mudge Islands

Agriculture Report for RDN Water Regions 1-7

1. Introduction

2. Methodology

3. Water Budgets

4. Data Gaps

Data gaps, opportunities for data refinement and areas for further study are detailed in Sections 4 of the Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands reports.  Identification of data gaps and opportunities for data collection helps us better understand and assess reliability and scalability of current information.

It is important to know not only whether the information is reliable, but also, whether it can be used to predict what happens in a particular watershed, water use region,  sub-watershed area, or on a single property.  Is the information applicable, considering the scale of investigation?

5. Recommendations & Conclusions