Ground Water Aquifers

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Published by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy - Water Protection and Sustainability
Licensed under Open Government Licence - British Columbia

Polygon features represent developed ground water aquifers in BC (that have been mapped). Most aquifer boundaries are delineated based on geology, hydrology and topographic information. Some aquifer boundaries stop at the border of BC mapsheet boundaries due to resource or data constraints at the time of mapping.

Data and Resources

Dataset Extent

Latitude: 48.0° to 60.0°
Longitude: -139.5° to -113.5°

Additional Information


Spatial layer intended to identify developed aquifers, where ground water is vulnerable, the productivity of the aquifer and the demand in a specific aquifer, to assist in the management and protection of the ground water resource.

Lineage Statement

For the aquifer coverages, raw data such as well records, water quality data, reports, air photographs, and geologic maps are used to interpret the aquifers in a study area. The aquifer coverages are mostly interpretive.

Update to source (GWells database) and data model (updated fields) was completed January 15, 2020.

Contact Information

NameAndarge Baye (businessExpert)
OrganizationMinistry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Sub-OrganizationWater Protection and Sustainability

Access & Security

Who can view this dataset? Public
Who can download this dataset?Public

Metadata Information

Record Published 2011-03-09
Record Last Modified 2021-05-12
Resource Status onGoing

Object Description


Short Name: GW_AQUIFER
Comments: Polygon features representing developed ground water aquifers in BC (that have been mapped). Most aquifer boundaries are delineated based on geology, hydrology and topographic information. Some aquifer boundaries stop at the border of BC mapsheet boundaries due to resource or data constraints at the time of mapping.

Column Name Short Name Data Type Data Precision Comments
GW_A_SYSID GW_A_SYSID NUMBER 10 GW_A_SYSID is a system generated unique identification number
AQUIFER_ID AQUIFER_ID NUMBER 10 System generated sequential number assigned to the aquifer. It is widely used by ground water administration staff as it is the only consistent unique identifier for a mapped aquifer. It is also commonly referred to as Aquifer Number, e.g. 1100.
NAME NAME VARCHAR2 150 Name assigned for a specific aquifer. Typically derived from geographic names or names in common use, but may also be lithologic or litho-stratigraphic units, e.g. Abbotsford-Sumas, McDougall Creek Deltaic.
MAPPING_YEAR MAPPING_YR NUMBER 4 The year the aquifer was initially mapped or last updated.
LOCATION LOCATION VARCHAR2 200 Brief description of the geographic location of the aquifer. The description is usually referenced to a nearby major natural geographic area or community, e.g., Grand Forks.
MATERIAL MATERIAL VARCHAR2 100 Describes the broad grouping of geological material found in the aquifer, i.e., Sand and Gravel, Sand, Gravel, Bedrock
SUBTYPE SUBTYPE VARCHAR2 200 Description that defines how the aquifer was formed geologically (depositional description), e.g., Unconfined sand and gravel - large river system, Confined sand and gravel - glacial, Flat-lying to gently-dipping volcanic bedrock.
AQUIFER_DETAILS_URL AQUIFR_URL VARCHAR2 255 Link to aquifer summary report within the Groundwater Wells and Aquifer (GWELLS) application. The aquifer summary provides the overall desription and history of the aquifer.
LITHO_STRATOGRAPHIC_UNIT STRAT_UNIT VARCHAR2 200 Permeable geologic unit (where available) that comprises the aquifer. It is typically either: the era of deposition, the name of a specific formation, and/or the broad material types, e.g., Paleozoic to Mesozoic Era, Cache Creek Complex, Intrusive Rock.
VULNERABILITY VULNRABLTY VARCHAR2 100 The aquifer's relative intrinsic vulnerability to impacts from human activities on the land surface. Vulnerability is based on: the type, thickness, and extent of geologic materials above the aquifer, depth to water table (or to top of confined aquifer), and type of aquifer materials, i.e., Low, Moderate, High.
PRODUCTIVITY PRODUCTVTY VARCHAR2 100 The aquifer's productivity which represents an aquifer's ability to transmit and yield groundwater, i.e., Low, Moderate, High.
DEMAND DEMAND VARCHAR2 100 The level of groundwater use at the time the aquifer was mapped, i.e., High, Moderate, Low.
WATER_USE WATER_USE VARCHAR2 100 The type of known water use of an aquifer at the time the aquifer was mapped. It indicates the variability or diversity of uses of the aquifer water as a supply source, e.g., Domestic, Multiple, Potential Domestic.
QUALITY_CONCERN QLTY_CNCRN VARCHAR2 100 Standard terms used to represent the extent of documented concerns of contaminants in the aquifer at the time the aquifer was mapped. i.e. isolated, local, regional, none.
NOTES NOTES VARCHAR2 4000 Details about the mapped aquifer that the province deems important to maintain such as local knowledge about the aquifer or decisions for changes related to attributes of the mapped aquifer.
FEATURE_AREA_SQM AREA_SQM NUMBER 19 FEATURE_AREA_SQM is the system calculated area of a two-dimensional polygon in square meters.
FEATURE_LENGTH_M FEAT_LEN NUMBER 19 FEATURE_LENGTH_M is the system calculated length or perimeter of a geometry in meters.
GEOMETRY GEOMETRY SDO_GEOMETRY 64 GEOMETRY is the column used to reference the spatial coordinates defining the feature.
OBJECTID OBJECTID NUMBER 38 OBJECTID is a column required by spatial layers that interact with ESRI ArcSDE. It is populated with unique values automatically by SDE.
SE_ANNO_CAD_DATA BLOB 4000 SE_ANNO_CAD_DATA is a binary column used by spatial tools to store annotation, curve features and CAD data when using the SDO_GEOMETRY storage data type.