Little Qualicum Watershed Map

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RDN Watershed Map > Little Qualicum

DWWP Quick Facts

The Little Qualicum Water Region flows north east from the highest point in the watershed at Labour Day Lake on Mt. Arrowsmith towards Cameron Lake and down the Little Qualicum River into the Strait of Georgia just NW of the Town of Qualicum Beach.

The total drainage area is approximately 251 sq. km.

It includes parts of RDN Electoral Areas F, G and H.

Base LayerLand UseWater SupplyAquifersStreams & WaterbodiesFirst Nations SignificanceCommunity Programs

Base Layer

Land Use

Forestry and rural residential land uses primarily make up this water region.

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

There are three Electoral Areas that overlap this water region, each of which have Official Community Plans (OCPs) for their land base:

The RDN has an Agriculture Area Plan that contains a regional strategy for sustainable farming and related land uses.

Water Supply

The drinking water supply in this water region is predominantly groundwater coming from the area's aquifers. Most residents supply their own water from private wells (indicated by the pink dots on the map). See the BC Water Resources Atlas and toggle "Water Wells" to view all the wells withing the BC Wells Database.

The RDN wellSMART program provides information on private wells.

There are four small community water systems in this water region:

The Little Qualicum River Watershed also designated as a 'community watershed' by the Province, because a community water supplier (LQ Waterworks) has a license on it to supply drinking water.

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, the aquifers are productive sand and gravel aquifers that include provincially mapped aquifers 661, 662, 663, 664, 217 and park of bedrock aquifer 220.

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

  • (#391) in Little Qualicum Village on Meadowood Way that monitors water levels in surfical aquifer 662
  • (#389) in Qualicum Beach that monitors water levels in surficial aquifer 664.

Further study on the aquifers in this region was accomplished through a partnership with Natural Resource Canada / Geological Survey of Canada who completed the Nanaimo Lowlands Aquifer Characterization project between 2010 - 2015. Three-dimensional modelling of the aquifers was done for the area between Deep Bay and Nanoose.

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 Little Qualicum River as well as the neighbouring smaller watersheds including Whiskey Creek and Kinkade Creek which all drain into the Salish Sea at the Strait of Georgia, at the boundary between Town of Qualicum Beach and Electoral Area G. The largest lake in this region is Cameron Lake.

The Little Qualicum River has been designated by the Ministry of Environment as a 'Sensitive Stream' that requires special management attention, under the Fisheries Protection Act, because of risk to fish populations due to inadequate water flows and other habitat concerns. This watershed is extremely important for many different species of fish, including a sizable run of steelhead and a sea-run cutthroat trout fishery. Rainbow and some brown trout are present, with chinook salmon runs in the fall .

Key stewardship groups that are active in this region include: the Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers.

Streamflow is monitored in Little Qualicum River by the Water Survey of Canada.

A Department of Fisheries and Oceans hatchery operates on the Little Qualicum River.

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 2, based on available data.

First Nations Significance

This water region is within the traditional territories of the Qualicum 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]