Academic Partnerships

Academic Partnerships

Partnerships with Vancouver Island University

Vancouver Island University

Arrow2016-2020: Wetland Mapping and Monitoring

This is a multi-year research partnership on the region's wetlands. Overall there is the need for more information on wetlands in our region: where they are, how they are classified and evaluated and what connection they have to groundwater recharge. This is important data that is linked to land use planning in our region. If we have a good inventory of where the wetlands are, and if we can quantify their role in conveying and cleaning water for our communities that are primarily reliant on groundwater, and for our streams that benefit from groundwater contributions to base-flow, then subsequently regional land planning can be directed in such a way as to protect these key features.
The RDN is engaging Vancouver Island University’s academic expertise in the fields of GIS, Geography, Hydrology, Biology, and Community Planning to contribute to this project. It is also going to actively involve the Mt. Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute out of VIU.

For more information, see the project webpage at


Arrow2014: Comparison of DRASTIC and DRASTIC-Fm methodologies for evaluation of intrinsic susceptibility of coastal bedrock aquifers

This project compares the results of two different aquifer vulnerability assessment methods: 1) DRASTIC1 and 2) DRASTIC-Fm2. Vulnerability assessment methods have been used to map the intrinsic susceptibility of aquifers to contaminants introduced at the land surface. Both the DRASTIC and DRASTIC-Fm methodologies have been employed in an overlapping area within the Gulf Islands region of the Regional District of Nanaimo which enables a comparison of the two methodologies within this geographical setting. Project partners include the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO), Vancouver Island University (VIU), Simon Fraser University and the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN). [The paper is now complete and available here]

1Aller, L., Bennett, T., Lehr, J., Petty, R. and Hackett, G., 1987. DRASTIC: A Standardized System for Evaluating Ground Water Pollution Potential Using Hydrogeologic Settings. EPA-600/2-87-035, National Water Well Association, Dublin, Ohio / EPA Ada. Oklahoma. 641 pp.

2Denny, S.C., Allen, D.M., and Journeay, J.M. 2007. DRASTIC-Fm: a modified vulnerability mapping method for structurally controlled aquifers in southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada.


Arrow2008-2010: RDN Area-A Groundwater Study

This project developed a water budget for Area-A of the Regional District of Nanaimo to assess the concept of sustainability with regard to water resources. A major outcome was the development of a groundwater management strategy and BMPs to guide land-use decisions. Project partners include Dr. Alan Gilchrist from Vancouver Island University, Dr. Gilles Wendling from GW Solutions Inc., and the Regional District of Nanaimo.

Area A Report (3MB)


Arrow2006-2010: Vancouver Island Water Resources Vulnerability Mapping Project

This initiative has developed a series of maps to characterize intrinsic groundwater vulnerability on Vancouver Island. This is related to groundwater vulnerability to surface contamination.The project was completed in 2010. The maps are now being used as a tool to assist water-centric planning by Regional Districts on Vancouver Island. Project Partners include Dr. Alan Gilchrist from Vancouver Island University, the Geological Society of Canada and the Regional District of Nanaimo.

Partnerships with Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University Arrow

2014- 2016: Gabriola Groundwater Model Project

The project focuses on the development of a numerical coupled groundwater-surface water model for Gabriola Island. The overall goal of the project is to improve estimates of groundwater recharge which will enable better estimates of the water balance, which are needed for supply and demand studies. Previous hydrogeological investigation (RDN Phase One Gabriola Water Budget Project) provided a strong conceptual hydrogeological model of the island as well as detailed datasets that will be used to develop the model, which will produce scenarios. Project partners include Dr. Diana Allen of Simon Fraser University, Islands Trust and the Regional District of Nanaimo. The report is now complete and available here.