Lantzville to South Wellington Watershed Map

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RDN Watershed Map > Lantzville to South Wellington

DWWP Quick Facts

This subsection of Water Region 5 covers the area between Lantzville and South Wellington, including the City of Nanaimo. The primary watersheds in this region are the Millstone River watershed and the Chase River watershed. The highest point in this water region is Mt Benson. There are many smaller watersheds, that are in urban/ sub-urban areas, such as Knarston Creek, Departure Creek, Cat Stream and Northfield Creek. This water region includes Electoral Area C, the District of Lantzville and the City of Nanaimo.

Base LayerLand UseWater SupplyAquifersStreams & WaterbodiesFirst Nations SignificanceCommunity Programs

Base Layer

Land Use

This water region is predominantly urban, comprising the land base of two municipalities: the City of Nanaimo and the District of Lantzville. Each has an Official Community Plan (OCP) that governs land use decision-making:

There is rural residential, farm land and park in the middle water region and the upper water region is predominantly forestry land.

The private managed forestry lands are overseen by the Managed Forest Council. The two largest private forest companies are TimberWest and Island Timberlands.

There is significant spread of farm-related land uses in the middle of this water region. The RDN has an Agriculture Area Plan that contains a regional strategy for sustainable farming and related land uses.

Electoral Area "C" is the land base in the upper watershed, comprising rural communities like Benson Meadows, East Wellington, Pleasant Valley and Extension. A small portion of Electoral Area "A" overlaps the southern part of this water region in South Wellington. The Official Community Plans for these Electoral Areas governs land use and community development:

Water Supply

Most people in this Water Region live in the City of Nanaimo , and they get their drinking water supply from the upper Nanaimo River watershed - from the South Fork dam and Jump Lake dam. District of Lantzville residents in lower Lantzville are supplied groundwater from the district's community wells.

Outside of City limits, electoral area residents supply their own water from private wells (indicated by the pink dots on the map). Upper Lantzville residents are also on private wells. The RDN wellSMART program provides information on private wells.

Island Health Authority is responsible for the oversight of drinking water quality in community water systems.

Education and networking opportunities exist for smaller water system operators, such as mobile home parks, restaurants, campsites, gas stations etc. The Water Purveyor Working Group meets annually, click here for details.

Team WaterSmart has information on what you can do to conserve and protect our water supply.


In this water region, there are bedrock aquifers and sand and gravel aquifers that are the main source of drinking water in the areas outside the municipality of Nanaimo. Aquifers are underground areas that store water, either in bedrock fractures or in the pore space between sand and gravel. This includes provincially mapped aquifers 211, 213 (bedrock) and aquifers 167, 215 (sand and gravel).

Groundwater monitoring is ongoing in this region, with Provincial Observation Wells:

  • (#232) in Lantzville on Harby Road that monitors water levels in surficial sand and gravel aquifer 215.
  • (#388) in Benson Meadows just outside Nanaimo that monitors water levels in bedrock aquifer 211.

The Provincial Water Protection and Sustainability Branch is responsible for groundwater legislation.

For more on groundwater and aquifers, see Aquifers 101.

Streams & Waterbodies

This water region includes the Millstone River and Chase River, as well as some rural creeks: Benson Creek, Beck Creek, McGarrigle Creek.

Brannen Lake is the headwaters of the Millstone River, and Westwood Lake also drains into the Millstone. Mount Benson is the highest elevation in this water region. There are several other smaller lakes in this water region, including Green Lake, Long Lake and Diver Lake. The most notable wetland is Buttertubs Marsh .

There are also several urban streams in this water region, as it comprises the City of Nanaimo: Departure Creek, Cottle Creek , Northfield Creek, Cat Stream, Knarston Creek (in Lantzville). All of these waterways drain into the Salish Sea at the Strait of Georgia. In a City, when rain falls, it hits the pavement and is quickly rushed into the nearest storm drain. Along the way, it picks up harmful chemicals such as oil from cars, rubber from tires, and even garbage.In the City, it is particularly important that we take care to limit paved surfaces on our properties where possible, and remember that anything we put down a storm drain ends up in a river.

Key stewardship groups that are active in this region include: the Island Waters Fly Fishers, the Departure Creek Streamkeepers, and Vancouver Island University Students and Environmental Groups.

Streamflow is monitored a Water Survey of Canada hydrometric gauge in the lower Millstone River at Nanaimo.

The Province of BC is responsible for freshwater regulations, see the Water Sustainability Act for more information.

The RDN Phase 1 Water Budget Study (2013) looked at supply and demand on surface water resources in Water Region 5, based on available data.

First Nations Significance

This water region is within the traditional territories of the Snaw-naw-as or Nanoose First Nation and the Snuneymuxw First Nation . This area is rich with cultural significance and the waters and lands are closely connected with First Nations peoples and their ancestors.

There were six Salish languages (Hul'qami'num, Snuneymuxqun, Sqo'mish, she shashishalhem, Tla'amin, Comox, and Pentlatch) spoken traditionally in the RDN. In addition, Nuu chah Nulth, Kwakwala, and Sencothen languages would also bump up against the boundaries of the district. And Chinook was also used as a trading language.

Each piece of land is known by different families, communities, First Nations, dialects and languages by similar and dissimilar names. The land belongs to the name. The name does not belong to the land. In this way, there is more than one "Qualicum", for example: one near Port Renfrew and one also near Bellingham.

We have recorded here (in partnership with School District 69) as many names as we have been able to find. We recognize that more names are out there, and we are always happy to include them if you are open to sharing with us. Email: creid [at]

Traditional ecological knowledge is vital to understanding our watersheds and their health.

Community Programs

RDN Rebates Rebate programs are available for residents across the region to conserve and protect water. Currently being offered are: The RDN's Team WaterSmart offers education and outreach programs across the region. They provide activities and resources on water conservation indoors and outdoors, water quality protection, and ecological values.
  • Workshops
  • Irrigation Initiatives
  • Brochures
  • Events Calendar
School education opportunities are also offered across the region including:
  • Classroom Visits
  • Field Trips
  • Teacher Professional Development
Volunteer opportunities are sometimes available for private well owners, stream stewards and more.
  • I want to volunteer my well for monitoring
  • I want to volunteer with stream monitoring Email: watersmart [at]