Groundwater & Well Information

The District of Highlands is one of 13 municipalities located within the Capital Regional District (CRD), encompassing approximately 37 square kilometers and located northwest of Victoria, B.C. The majority of the residential population of approximately 2,100 obtains potable water from private, individual water wells. A small number of individual residences obtain potable water from local streams and lakes under surface water licenses.

Highlands Bylaw No. 154 outlines the standards for regulating the subdivision or development of land within the Highlands, including standards for sanitary sewage systems and standards for water service. Under Bylaw No. 154, each lot is required to have an individual well that has been evaluated by a qualified professional and meets the bylaw requirements, including a yield of at least 4,000 litres per day and compliance with minimum water quality guidelines.

Caring for your well pamphlet

Groundwater Brochure

Water Budget Study

This study: 

  • Builds on the groundwater mapping work done in 2020 that delineated the District of Highlands into 18 community aquifers or groundwater regions. 
  • Models groundwater recharge and usage in order to develop a monthly water balance and assessment of groundwater stress in the 18 groundwater regions. 
  • Recommends actions for improving groundwater and surface water monitoring (quantity and quality) and water usage measurement. 

Link to Study and staff report:

Groundwater Mapping

One of the first work items to come out of the Groundwater Protection Implementation and Work Plan is groundwater mapping.


 *  Main Body and Appendix 1

 *  Appendices 2, 3, 4, 5:  Fracture Table, Yields, Contaminated Sites, Discharges and Authorizations
    (technical information used to create groundwater model)

 * Appendix 4 was a draft version of groundwater model to be used on the Leapfrog Viewer. The links
   below are final versions that can be used on the Leapfrog View.

*Larger Map*
Community Aquifers_Fig 8 From June 2020 GWS Report_Just Map
 Community Aquifers, Fig 8 from GW Solutions June 2020 Report

Groundwater Model

To view a 3-dimensional model of the aquifer underlying the Highlands, download the model viewer first and then the model as shown below:

1. Download the Leap Frog Groundwater Model Viewer (this step is necessary to view the model:

 a) Go to link:

 b) Sign up for an account by clicking on "Create a Seequent ID"

 c) Go back to the model viewer download page (if needed), by re-entering the following link in the address bar:

d) Download the viewer by clicking on the download button near the top of the page.

Leapfrog Viewer

e) Once the viewer file has downloaded, open it to start installing.

f)  Once that install is finished, open the groundwater model file in Step 2.

g) Here is some brief info on using the view:  Leapfrog Viewer Tutorial

h) For more information on using the viewer:

2. Download/use one of the District of Highlands 3-Dimensional Groundwater Models:

 *  Lower resolution file (faster to respond)

 *  Higher resolution file (slower to respond)

Groundwater Protection Implementation and Work Plan

At its meeting of November 18, 2019, Council endorsed the Groundwater Protection Implementation and Work Plan.

The Plan provides a clear understanding of the groundwork necessary for the long term sustainability of Highlands’ aquifer, a critical community asset.  It points out the critical relationship between science, policy, and community stewardship initiatives and the importance of understanding the sequencing of work to be done to ensure that the program is as effective as possible.

Golder Associates Groundwater Study

In 2007 the District of Highlands contracted with Golder Associates to conduct research around local groundwater use which resulted in a three-phase groundwater protection report. You can find more information regarding that report here.

Annual Groundwater Monitoring Reports

A major outcome of the Golder Associates Groundwater Study has been the annual monitoring program.  Initial data from 2009-2001 can be found in the study itself (link here) and below are additional years:

2022 Annual Groundwater Report

2021 Annual Groundwater Report

2020 Annual Groundwater Report

2019 Annual Groundwater Report

2018 Annual Groundwater Report

2017 Annual Groundwater Report

2016 Annual Groundwater Report

2015 Annual Groundwater Report

2015 Mid-Year Groundwater Report

2014 Annual Groundwater Report

2013 Annual Groundwater Report

Provincial Information

The Province of BC on February 29, 2016 announced several initial regulations that have now come into force under the Water Sustainability Act.

Water Sustainability Regulation

  • mandates the licensing of groundwater for non-domestic use – this includes community water supply, agricultural irrigation, industry etc.
  • groundwater users (non-domestic) will have a one-year grace period to apply for a license and have the application fee waived.
  • groundwater users have three years (from Feb. 29, 2016) to apply for a license if they want to maintain their priority date of first use.
  • all applications received after March 1, 2019 will be treated as new users, with no historic priority date of use.

Groundwater Protection Regulation

  • outlines operating and maintenance requirements and standards for groundwater wells.
  • mandates the submission of well records for newly drilled wells.

Other new regulations include: Dam Safety Regulation, Violation Ticket and Fines Regulation, Fees and Rentals Regulation.

Further essential regulations will be developed under the Water Sustainability Act such as:

  • Water Objectives
  • Water Sustainability Plans
  • Measuring and reporting
  • License reviews
  • Designated areas
  • Dedicated agricultural water; and
  • Alternative governance approaches

For more information see the Provincial website.