Water Region 6 – Nanaimo River

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Water Region 6 – Nanaimo River

The Nanaimo River water region (WR6-NR) extends from the coast at the Nanaimo River Estuary and Cedar, west to the top of the Nanaimo River catchment.

For this study, the actual water region boundary in the southernmost part of WR6-NR was extended beyond the RDN boundary to coincide with the drainage basin.

Although the RDN has no jurisdiction over this area, the water budget assessment must be undertaken at the basin scale, and water resource management must be jointly conducted with the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

  • Largest water region – area is approximately 939 km2.
  • Densely populated – encompasses the communities of Cedar, South Wellington, Extension, and Cassidy.
  • A total of 10 watersheds and subwatersheds, the largest of which is associated with the Nanaimo River.
  • Five hydrometric stations, four climate stations, and approximately 359 surface water diversion licenses exist within the region.
  • 2688 wells*
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Issues identified in WR6 as part of Watershed Snapshot 2010

The two largest water users in this area include the City of Nanaimo and Harmac Forest Products. It should be noted that the City of Nanaimo also pumps water outside of the Nanaimo River watershed for use in WR5-SW-N (South Wellington to Nanoose).

Total Water Region Area:
939 km2 – includes areas which drain directly to the ocean and do not lie within a major watershed. The Nanaimo River drainage area includes all tributaries.

Drainage Area of Major Watersheds:
Drainage Areas are based on 1:50,000 BC Watershed Atlas.

  • Nanaimo River (including all tributaries): 829.5 km2
  • Haslam Creek (tributary to Nanaimo River): 128.7 km2
  • Hokken Creek (tributary to Haslam Creek): 14.6 km2
  • South Nanaimo River (tributary to Nanaimo River): 213.3 km2
  • Jump Creek (tributary to South Nanaimo River): 61.7 km2
  • Sadie Creek (tributary to Nanaimo River): 29.3 km2
  • Beck Creek: 13.9 km2
  • Berkley Creek (tributary to Nanaimo River): 9.2 km2
  • Boulder Creek (tributary to Nanaimo River: 12.1 km2
  • Stark Creek (Tributary to Nanaimo River): 13.7 km2

Wells and Surface Water Diversion Points:

  • Number of Water Wells listed in MOE database: 2686*
  • Number of Surface water diversion licenses: 359

* More about groundwater extraction in the Nanaimo River water region:
According to the MOE Wells Database (BCGOV ENV Water Protection and Sustainability Branch, 2012) WR6-NR has the highest number of water wells (2686 wells) of the six water regions in the RDN.

The MOE database likely only represents a fraction of the actual wells currently in use. Many well records may not have been entered into the database and some wells may simply not be in use or have been abandoned. As there is no mandatory requirement for submitting well logs or well abandonment records, it is not possible to determine the groundwater demand from private wells with any degree of certainty, nor is it possible to assess the vulnerability that may exist with improperly abandoned or standing water wells.

Download Water Budget for WR6 – Nanaimo River

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