An aquifer is a geological formation or underground layer of rock, gravel, sand or silt that contains groundwater that can be brought to the surface through a water well. Aquifers are mapped, identified and categorized using data from the provincial water well database.
Groundwater provides drinking water to one quarter of B.C. residents and accounts for 9% of the total water consumption in the province. It is essential to understand the existence and characteristics of aquifers to help with planning, managing and protecting the groundwater resource.
Aquifer Classification System
The map based Aquifer Classification System was developed in 1994, and over 1100 aquifers have been classified as of January 2016. Work continues to inventory the remaining aquifers.
Learn to use the Aquifer Classification Maps to protect and manage groundwater.
- Guide to Using the B.C. Aquifer Classification Maps (PDF)
- Status of aquifer mapping (PDF)
- Aquifer Subtype Code Description
Search the Aquifer Classification Database for information including location and size of aquifers, productivity, and concerns about quality or quantity.
Provincial Groundwater Observation Well Network
The Provincial Groundwater Observation Well Network program collects information about groundwater quantity and chemistry from selected aquifers throughout the province.